In the normal world, bed bugs pass as “fun”: Parakeets can’t post right now, but she emailed to tell me she saw this great suggestion on familyfun.com [note: website taken down after this post was published] posted by reader “carrie f” for a children’s “Bed Bug Party”, with gummi worms, bug juice (i.e. green kool aid), and english muffin pizzas. (Apparently so much buggy fun is prevailing here that the english muffin pizzas do not need to have any buggy or otherwise gross connection a la gummi worms).
The party is just about the opposite of what life is like with bed bugs:
Games & Activities
Everyone came dressed up as their favorite bed bug and remained in character during the party. Later everyone acted out their bed bug and guessed what each other was.
Rather than blood-sucking horror, there was music, dancing, and snacks; and then,
We had a scavenger hunt around the neighborhood collecting items bed bugs might need or like.
You know, carbon dioxide, live humans full of blood, a wooden bed to live in, some clothes to hang out in and lay eggs: the usual.
The kids then changed into their pajamas and slippers and lay down with sleeping bags, blankets, and pillows and watched a movie while waiting for their parents to pick them up. My 4-year-old daughter really wanted a sleepover party but her friends were too young for that, so we did this bed bug party as a compromise. The kids stayed until bedtime, dressed for bed, and tucked into sleeping bags — then went home and woke up in their own beds. but they all felt like they had had a sleepover.
See– this is actually like having bed bugs in that the kids got in bed but did not actually sleep. I do that every night!
The goodie bag was filled with different bug candies, a bug jar with a magnifying glass on top, a variety of plastic insects, and a fun book about insects.
This is actually cool. And will be very educational. When I was a kid, a teacher had us collect bugs and impale them with pins on cardboard. Little did I know I’d need my bug identification skills in adulthood.
Now, despite not getting enough sleep and spending too much time on this blog, I am not totally out of touch. I realize “their favorite bed bugs” is a reference to the children’s television show “My Bedbugs.”
However, although most bedbugs-for-children are funny and cute and not even remotely similar to cimex lectularius, the “My Bedbugs” bed bugs are making me suspicious that they may actually be close to the real thing.
Sure, they’re yellow and green and blue and have human-ish features along with antennae.
But their good friend J. Egdar Hoover is a vacuum. (Since I got bed bugs, my best friend is a vacuum too!) What children’s show has a vacuum for a character?!? This tells me the producers know something about bed bugs, since Bedbuggers spend all our time vacuuming.
(My screenshot from Wayback Machine Archive of J Egdar page from now defunct mybedbugs.com site.)
Their other friend, Snoozy, is a pillow, who is sleepy all day (just like me!) You know bed bugs love pillows.
You can even play a fun game called “Match a Bug” (which we real life Bedbuggers like to play, comparing the insects we find with those in pictures our friend entomologist Lou Sorkin provides!)
I don’t mean to sound bitter. I am glad the kids love the show and I think they’d love the party too. It amazes me that we’re just leaving behind an era where nobody remembered bed bugs or was worried about them. Maybe people who’d volunteered for the Peace Corps, or Doctors without Borders, or been youth hostelling, but it was a far-off, adventure-related problem, like malaria-tablet hallucinations, or Montezuma’s revenge, and not something that you’d have to deal with back home.
Wait till bed bugs start spreading from kid to kid at school, as they’re currently doing in some places, and the folks who make “My Bedbugs” are going to discontinue that series so fast, your head will spin. Who’s going to want to watch this with the real vacuum running, with crabby kids who don’t get enough sleep, and with actual bed bug carcasses and sealed bags of clothing on the floor?