Brent Herbert’s plans for bed bug world domination!

by nobugsonme on December 14, 2006 · 18 comments

in misinformation

I started to respond in a comment to Bugzinthehood’s article below, about Brent Herbert’s ideas about Bedbugs evolving into trash-eaters, and as it became longer than the original post, I decided I’d better move it here. I have to say, Brent Herbert is off on these other issues, and I am getting a bit tired of the misinformation he’s spreading. Or perhaps misinformation is the wrong word–they’re opinions. But when people act on them, it’s bad news.

Bed bugs eat blood. That’s all they eat. They’ve been eating blood since the Herbert family was living in a cave. Maybe longer. They’re not going to evolve into cockroaches, as you say, not within millions of years. Anyone who is hoping this will happen needs to go back and do some reading about evolution.

I don’t think Brent is an Aussie at all. He’s posted on Indymedia sites in Portland and NYC as well as Melbourne. And these are not his websites, they’re Indymedia affiliates, where citizen journalists can publish their articles. One reader suggested that Indymedia doesn’t have much credibility, but that’s irrelevant. When people google “bed bugs” looking for treatment protocols, it isn’t hard to find his articles. I have nothing against Brent Herbert personally, and I think that like many of us, he’s trying to be creative in dealing with a difficult situation that can seem nearly impossible to eradicate. Like many of us, he’s also worried about the environmental effects of pesticides as well as their effects on individuals.

Most of his posts argue something along the following lines: conventional pesticides require several applications, they’re worthless, and also dangerous, and therefore we should forego them entirely. Instead we should isolate our beds, which will starve the bed bugs who will then go to the next home and bite our neighbors instead.

There’s so much inaccuracy there, it’s hard to know where to begin. I’ve responded on Indymedia to the NYC and Portland posts, and here on our blog, explaining that if you do not use currently available pesticides, your bed bugs will not walk away from your home. They will not get hungry and leave. They will bite you in the daytime at your desk or chair, and they will even run up your leg while you stand. They will live, hungrily, for a year, maybe more, in your home, trying to bite you. Each time they succeed, they’ll either grow, or multiply.

Bed Bug World Domination

Meanwhile, they will spread to others around you, who will use the same pesticides, in large quantities, to try and get rid of them. As your neighbors get them, they may come back to you. Meanwhile, your goal of avoiding damaging the environment or your health with dangerous pesticides was not met, since now multiple neighbors are having to spray the same. Since you refuse to responsibly eliminate your bed bugs, wrongly thinking they’ll go away in time, you’ll cause a lot of suffering. If pesticides are bad for people and the environment, you’ll cause much more of them to be used.

Yes, the current pesticides to fight bedbugs are not perfect. They leave a lot to be desired. They have to be used repeatedly. Experts say there are some pesticide-resistant bed bugs. But I have not heard yet of a case where a bed bug infestation could not be eliminated, if persistently treated. The exception to this is where you have a multi-unit building, where the bugs can keep coming back from other units. Especially if some of your neighbors refuse to use pesticides on their bed bugs… That’s probably a much bigger problem than pesticide-resistance. People in this situation can’t eliminate their bed bugs. With a Brent Herbert next door, you’ll be spraying pesticides indefinitely, to no avail.

The alternative to using currently available pesticides is to let the problem grow. Period. Don’t kid yourself.

Update (12/16):

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1 jessinchicago December 14, 2006 at 3:45 pm

I really do not feel calm enough, after reading yet another of this guy’s covert posts, to respond graciously.

All I can say is HE FEELS A RESPONSIBILITY TO BED BUGS? What about his responsibility to his fellow HUMAN BEINGS, whom he chooses to potentially infest every day by consciously refusing to even *attempt* to eliminate his own infestation?

GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.

Jess

2 hopeless December 14, 2006 at 7:59 pm

The thing is, this guy is living with an infestation. We all know what that means.

He comes across as a fool but still may be possessed of a curious and enterprising mind. When his bedbugs come after him while he’s sorting his mail looking for his patent application or at his computer–chronicling his astounding genius in waging a revolutionary bedbug war no less–he’ll figure it out.

I wouldn’t say he is this close, but my bet is that the stage is set. Should be interesting reading in the months ahead.

3 buggedinbrooklyn December 14, 2006 at 8:39 pm

hopeless,

my problem with this guy is that, as of now, hundreds of people are googleing “bedbugs” for the first time and they are getting a lot of misinformation.
most of the latest misinformation in from Brent.

his thoughts and ideas might seem revolutionary at first, but in the mean time, he’s alowing the spread of the infestation in both his apartment, and eventualy the building…so in the end, he’s doing more harm then good.

I have nothing against a controled testing environment for unorthodox ways of eradication.
yet he’s not trying to eradicate them, he’s trying to control them.
that is the wrong way to think from the start, as it only leads to spreading of the problem….like to his friends and neighbors.

the fact that he even knows and understands that his neighbors will get infested if he doesn’t use proven methods shows that he doesn’t care for his fellow human beings at all…and they will get bedbugs eventualy.
I wonder how people would feel if they had a neighbor like Brent living right next door? hmmmm, I’ll bet they would want to kick him out somehow.

Brent has more problems then just bed bugs my fair friend hopeless.
sadly, people new to this problem, who might not know how to deal with it will take his advise and get in hotter water then they are right now.

look, I don’t think I know everything there is to this huge problem, but I know that it’s not going away anytime soon with people like Brent.

hopeless, I hope that I don’t sound argumentitive against you.
it’s not my point to be this way.
I just don’t want people to think he’s doing the right thing when all is said and done.
the lack of usable information, and the gross, misleading, falsehoods that this guy is trying to spread is almost as bad as the bed bug problem he’s trying to give to his neighbors.

sorry for what sounds like a rant, I just spent $360.00 on new pillows and beddings today at bed, bath, and beyond.
as a guy, I would have rather spent that on electronics…lol

buggedinbrooklyn

4 jessinchicago December 14, 2006 at 9:05 pm

Yes, my main concern is for prevention of the spread, and that means at least attempting to eradicate one’s own infestation. Otherwise, like I said in a comment I left on one of Brent’s various postings, those bugs he is allowing to roam free throughout his apartment are no doubt climbing into his clothes and his shoes and his bags. He is more than likely taking the bedbugs with him when he leaves the house, every time he leaves the house. With no pesticide treatment at all, the guy is literally allowing the bugs to survive and thrive and multiply. I say this especially because I’ve yet to hear him mention any type of preventative measures at all- laundering, bagging, using plastic bags to transport things out of the house- NONE of it. I hate that we’re working so hard to provide good information and prevent the spread, and there’s someone out there like this, freely passing bed bugs- and bad information- around. It sickens me.

Hopeless, I do see your point, and if these bugs weren’t so easily spread, I might even be a fan of Brent’s. But he’s not just experimenting with bugs; he’s experimenting with other peoples’ lives.

Jess

5 hopeless December 14, 2006 at 9:53 pm

No worries buggedinbrooklyn. We’re on the same side. I’m just saying that there is a trip wire of flawed premises he’s not seeing while he putters about drawing prototypes and convincing himself that he’s right and it’s going to be something to see him fall. He won’t resist writing about it in his self-serving way, but it will be intelligible to us. Already there is a tone of trying too hard.

I know he’s deluded and quite a bit of a jerk, but I have more faith in the decency and rationality of that new sufferer desperately googling for information. I doubt that anything he writes is seriously enticing… it is just too undermined by a kind of fatuous narcissism. Anyone can pick up on it. Of course, it’s good and satisfying that this site exists to capably put him in his place. Also, since you mention his poor neighbors, isn’t there a good possibility that they will soon find this stuff he’s writing online and, won’t that be interesting?

I’m sorry about your forced shopping trip! And everything I know you must be going through. Please take care of yourself and be brave.

6 hopeless December 14, 2006 at 10:03 pm

Missed jess’s post. I’m sorry, I think my first comment was needlessly opaque. I should clarify that what I meant by “he’ll figure it out” is that he will certainly fail and will have to experience this failure and write about it. He’s in for a world of hurt because his basic premise is that as long as he is safe in his bed he can starve them. We know this is hopelessly flawed. I was not championing his experiments. Far from it. I don’t think they have a chance in hell! We’ve all tried to isolate our beds, we know that even if successful, it is no cure.

Normally I’m too depressed to participate, so this must mean I’m feeling better. Yay for me and cheers for you all.

All the best…

7 buggedinbrooklyn December 14, 2006 at 10:39 pm

hopeless,

thx for the kind words, and I’m glad that you must be feeling better.

as for starving them, let me tell you a little story…

as we both know, bed bugs can go upto 16 months without food.
so, after mostly living with my girlfriend for about 6 months, I was forced to stay at my dad’s apt due to me getting the Flu a day after thanksgiving.

while I slept in my bed, I had no bites at all.
but on the 3rd night, I crashed on the leather L shaped couch that is in the living room.
I woke up 3 hours later coughing my a$$ off, and cratching my arm from fingers to my shoulder.
OMG, I must have like 30-40 bites on my right arm…the scars/scabs are still there and I could post a pic if needed.
let’s also say that the scars run a little deeper then just my arm…no joke.
I wish I knew and understood that I had a problem sooner, yet at least I’m dealing with it now.

it seems that after not feeding on me for months, yet still in the couch, they had a feeding frenzy on my arm.
Brent is in for something like that one day if he is able to not let them feed for a great deal of time…I pitty such a time like that for him.
it will not be funny to me to have to read such a thing.
after all, I would not wish such a thing as a bed bug infestation on my worst enemy, never mind Brent.
and I agree with you that he is in for a world of hurt if he doesn’t wake up soon and deal with his bugs fast.

anyway, at least there are such wonderful people like you hopeless that help many others learn and understand more about this problem.
yet I don’t agree with you that others know and understand that Brent is a flake and should not be taken seriously.
in fact, I think that when someone gets bed bugs for the first time, they mostly freak out, and think everything they read is true on the interweb. lol
sad, but true.

just look at todays page on all the misunderstandings that are posted on the net…it’s amazing at just what people think is true about such a problem as bed bugs.

anyway, again, I’m glad your feeling better.
cheers to you too.

buggedinbrooklyn

8 buggedinbrooklyn December 14, 2006 at 10:42 pm

oh, sorry for not being so clear as to why I didn’t stay with my girlfriend while I have the Flu….

see, she has canser, and the chemo makes her white blood cells go way down, and she can’t fight off colds.
nuff said.

buggedinbrooklyn

9 hopeless December 14, 2006 at 11:04 pm

Oh no, that is terrible! I hope that your father and your girlfriend are well. It must be so hard for all of you. *%?)s!#! bedbugs!

Ah, you know, that Brent… maybe life teaches you compassion in case you never learn on your own. Let’s hope for at least that for him.

Oh, still very much in the “being helped” camp here. But when I can change my handle to hopelessnomo’ then we’ll talk. 🙂

10 nobugsonme December 15, 2006 at 12:12 am

Hopeless, Buggedinbrooklyn, and Jess,
Sounds like we’re all more or less on the same page.

bugged– my heart goes out to you and your girlfriend for having to deal with cancer, and to have to fight bed bugs at the same time has got to be hard. It sure puts things in perspective for many of us, only having the little monsters to deal with.

I hope things are looking up for you, girlfriend and dad soon.

11 totaly bugged December 15, 2006 at 6:09 am

I’ve been fighting a battle with bed bugs for three months now, and have had my place sprayed five times. at about two week ent. and have to fight
to get the bldg. manager to do that. It seems that after about three days
after being sprayed they are and back for blood!!! I live in Portland Or. and had not herd of bed bugs sence about 1960. The management Just wants to ignore the problem but the again they don’t have to live with the problem. any idea how i can light a fire under them?

totaly bugged

12 hopeless December 15, 2006 at 11:22 am

Hey totaly, so sorry about your situation.

Is it possible that there is something amiss with the PCO’s methods of application or the chemicals they’re using? Or possibly with the way you are preparing? If you are getting treated every two weeks and see no improvement at all, there may be something wrong. (I know it doesn’t feel that way to you, but I personally envy you your building management for paying for 5 treatments already, however reluctantly.)

If the building has hired an inexperienced PCO, you can make a good argument that keeping that contract is going to cost them tremendously in the long run and it is in everyone’s interest to get other bids from more knowledgeable PCOs.

If you post more details, there are veteran people here who can help you figure out what may be wrong. Good luck.

13 buggedinbrooklyn December 15, 2006 at 6:20 pm

totaly,
sorry to hear about your problem.

while, like hopeless said, we do need more info, let me see if I can give a few hints or tips that might help.

I’m just getting over the Flu, and am still tired.
yet I have all my shirts/socks/undies/and so on, washed and baged up.
my dresser draws are still empty a week after my first spraying, and will remain so till I fill it’s safe to put everything back.

over the next week or so, the last items from the closets will be washed and baged up.

of corse, tons of items were boxed up or baged up and tossed out with the trash.
I’ll be doing the same with old bills/papers soon to help lessen the clutter.
as you can see, that with all I’ve done while being sick, I still have more work to do, and that extra work will help lessen the problem a lot.

sadly, with all the spraying you’ve hade done, eggs can still hatch just the next day.
the pestisides should kill most, if not all of the new “hatchlings”, but I fear that they don’t do a great job.
(or they are hatching in places that you might not have had sprayed, like your computer desk draws, or they could be hatching inside your keybord to bite your fingers soon.)

you could have also have a neighbor like Brent, and they are not doing enough to help solve thier problem, and your getting bugs from them too.
it’s why I belive that while spraying from good PCOs alone might be fine in a free standing home/house…in an apartment that has plenty of other tenants, extra treatments might be needed to solve your problem.

just yesterday, after buying new beddings (sheets, pillows, and other stuff), I sprayed the inside of my couch with a can of D-Force.
I resprayed my beds with it too, and then put on dustmite covers on the beds.
I lifted up the corners of the carpits near my beds, and dusted with Drion dust. dusted the bed frames too.
I also sprayed areas around the beds that include two tables.

you might have to also do your own pest control to help solve your problem if it seems bad or you might be getting them from any neighbors.
but please be carfull and follow all warnings on all the products so you don’t harm yourself in the use of such items.
oh, don’t forget to use safe items like Bedlam to spray items you can’t wash like your shoes…bed bugs like shoes, so bedlam should help.

again, we realy need more information to help you, but I also hope that the few things I’ve said might give you ideas on added ways to help.

a side note to others:
even with all the work I’ve done in my father’s apartment, I have still gotten 2 new bites (since the PCO came on monday), and seen one live bug around my dad’s bed.
of corse I’ve also seen a lot of dead bugs too with all the added work I did yesterday.
I can already see that this is going to be a long fight, and I’m not giving up so fast.
$900.00 later, I can now see that I’ll need a new vacume for my carpets.

oh, and nobugsonme, thanks for the kind words.
while it might seem that life has given me a few bad apples (as well as bed bugs), let me just say that my lady and I try each day to find the good life has given us so that we don’t forget that we are truly blessed.
cancer, bedbugs, and any other problem is just life’s little bumps in the road.
don’t forget with any problem, to get out and enjoy life as much as you can now, as you never know what life may bring tomorrow to prevent you from enjoying it. 🙂

buggedinbrooklyn

14 deb December 15, 2006 at 8:39 pm

Totally bugged…Please research our blog and see how you can be proactive along with using an exterminator…I saw some advice that said “look up, down, left, right, front and back..and if you can see it then you need to inspect it and treat it…in other words..ceiling fixtures, moldings, radios, tv clickers…anything within a range of your bed…clear out as much clutter as possible and buy a good caulk gun..and caulk as many crevices as you can…vacuum as much as you can…and call your local health dept. and report your bldg. and make certain you remain vocal with your landlord…it is not a good time to be a landlord…many big properties are being sold in NY I think because of Bed bugs…but you must make them continue to exterminate…and you must continue to do whatever you can on your own…..fight them…as much as you can…god bless..Deb

15 nobugsonme December 16, 2006 at 2:21 am

Update (12/16): Brent’s latest article

(see Melbourne http://melbourne.indymedia.org/news/2006/12/133989.php
and Portland http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2006/12/350712.shtml)

… has taken the information we’ve provided that in previous comments and responses to his articles, where we insisted that his bedbugs would not walk away from his apartment hungry, because his bed was secured, but would instead start trying to bite him in chairs during the daytime, and would even run up his legs when he’s standing around. Now he’s responding to this idea, saying that they are crawling up his legs and he swats them dead each time, because, as he claims:

“Bed bugs have a very noticeable and distinctive crawl, since they have not adapted that crawl to be undetectable, being creatures of the deep night that they are, and so when a desperate bed bug crawls on you during the daytime hours you know it instantly and that turns out to be a very poor survival strategy for bed bugs that wind up getting swatted dead right on the spot.”

Do others find the bedbug’s “crawl” on your skin to be detectable, always, and instantly noticed, during the daytime?

This does not seem to be a common experience around here.

16 deb December 16, 2006 at 9:58 am

I never saw them when they bit me during the day…and they did…The only one I found crawling on me in the daytime was on my back…ready to go under my white tee shirt…by the Grace of God my husband was in the kitchen with me..we were packing up for our first move. My husband shouted “deb stand still, then he went for it on my back…we got it but my husband said it “took off like a bandit”..but fortunately my husbands reflexes were fast. He couldn’t believe how fast the bug was. If my husband had not gotten it, it would have crawled underneath my shirt and left the house with me. They are proficient hitchhikers…

17 jessinchicago December 16, 2006 at 2:38 pm

I have to tell you all that I am so pleased with the support and encouragement and empathy going on in this thread. I’m proud of you, bedbuggers!

Is it just me, or is it getting more difficult to distinguish people because the monikers are so similar? Well, I apologize in advance if I get confused.

That said, welcome, totaly bugged. I’m glad you found us although I’m sorry that you are experiencing this. Regarding your situation- I’m no expert and I hope our expert will weigh in here if I’m wrong, but is there any way you can find out exactly what the PCO is spraying/doing while at your apartment? Because it is my understanding that a combination of several products must be used, and I’m wondering if maybe your PCO is going in and spraying a contact kill like Streri-fab or something without putting down a residual pesticide, because he doesn’t know any better? This happened to me with the first company I hired and, of course, it did NOT work. Does your PCO leave a copy of the work order in your apartment? If so, you should be able to read what he used and where. Also, how long is he spending in your apartment each time he goes in? If you find these things out and get back to us, we’ll be able to give you more advice. Again, Sean, if I’m saying anything off, please interject.

Jess

18 jessinchicago December 16, 2006 at 2:42 pm

Nobugs-

Good grief. There is no way I could count how many times I was bit in broad daylight and didn’t realize till long after the bedbug was gone. And although I have THOUGHT I felt bugs crawling on me practically constantly, I have never actually felt one and caught it in the act.

It’s my opinion that, contrary to what Mr. Herbert claims, bedbugs have actually adapted to become practically UNDETECTABLE, which is why most people don’t know they even have bedbugs until months after the infestation has begun.

Jess

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