Editor’s note: Geof Day wrote this excellent post on the Bedbugger Yahoo group, and I asked his permission to post it here. Geof makes some wonderful points about spreading information about bed bugs and the damage they can do– something we all need to think about if we want this problem to get wider attention, which is a prerequisite for things getting better. His post below, which references the theory of “tipping points,” gave Bugzinthehood the idea of adding a category called “Tipping Point” to our blog.
Here are some things you can do about bedbugs that don’t cost anything
and that will definitely improve things “big picture” and maybe make
you feel a bit better – just like bedbugs are contagious, information is
contagious, especially if you spread it around.
The internet is without doubt the most powerful tool invented for
spreading information, where small actions can make a BIG difference.
When you learn of a confirmed infestation, please put the word out as
wide and as far as you can.
There are plenty of ways to do this that will protect you AND endanger
* tell people about the infestation and the maps (online and offline)
* ask someone who is “well connected” what they think should happen
about this problem
* look for and reach out to “sneezers” who can spread the word.
(learn more about sneezers in Malcom Gladwell’s Tipping Point where he
uses the term to describe people; see links at the bottom of the post)
*do virtually everything else you can that you read about here, with
special attention to long term solutions beyond just quick-fix spray
jobs that may make matters worse in the long run (and yes, if that
means changing your masters thesis – DO IT NOW!)
By putting your infestation on a “map” and directing others to view
that map, you can confidentially discuss the problem with others by
stating something on the lines of this: someone in my building
appears to have bedbugs – I found it on a ‘net map that my building or
neighborhood appears to be infested with contagious bedbugs. Do you
know anyone who has dealt with bedbugs who I might speak with?
While this is not entirely telling the truth, this may be enough to
get the ball rolling. (Some may choose to do this by identifying that
they have BB’s, others might choose the more abstract route)
Will this make a difference today? No. Will you feel better — I sure
hope so. Will it make a difference in the long run? If enough people
do it, yes it will.
Others who read this may have more and better ways to tell
the story without sharing too much information. Instead of telling a
LOT to a few people (or none at all) it may be better to say a little
to a LOT of people!
One key way to do this is to use the anonymous power of the web. At
the very least, if you wish, create yourself an anonymous email
account (gmail.com) which you can use to write letters to editors of
newspapers, radio or newspaper reporters, politicians etc. Don’t
speak as a member of a group, association etc, rather speak as an
individual. The power of a map is incredible – a complaint can be
viewed in context of other complaints – this tells a different story
than just one lone voice.
(Editor’s note: While an anonymous email is always good to use on the web, do use your real name in such correspondence if at all possible–politicians in particular will ignore anonymous messages. Editors should respect your wish to be kept anonymous in the actual publication, but will often want to verify you are real, usually via phone or mail.)
Clearly, you also want to get professional help – this includes Pest
Control professionals, but also may entail the use of an attorney,
mediator, councilor, doctor, coach or therapist to help you through
this situation. They are schooled in dealing in confidences and can
only help put the word out through their own channels. If enough of
them start to hear of what’s going on, they will begin to complete
their own picture of the extent of the bedbug epidemic and get public
health officials involved.
Part of the problem with bedbugs is that they are contagious and that
people are generally ashamed to tell others that their home is
infected so the information spread is “exterminated”.
By depersonalizing this somewhat, (pointing to map of infestations for
instance, or anonymously posting here or bed bug blogs all over the place)
dialogue can begin and information can start to move with the speed and
reach of a positive epidemic.
A few more things in closing — after a while, please come back and
give us a report.
If you find something that clearly works or doesn’t work – tell others
about it here.
Humor is welcome as are good stories and hard information.
We have nothing to silence but silence itself.
— for more about the positive aspects of “Sneezing” make sure you
read up on Malcom Gladwell’s Tipping Point concept, and read Godin and
Gladwell on the concept of Unleashing the Ideavirus. Good links to
get started are:
Karl Palachuk on Unleshing the Ideavirus by Malcolm Gladwell and Seth Godin
Editor’s note: Geoff works for Dirtworks (http://dirtworks.net), which sells Diatomaceous Earth (DE), sometimes used in treating bed bugs. He is not a pest control professional (PCO), but he knows about many natural substances used in pest control; you might ask him questions about DE if you have them, as well as responding to the issues in this post, in the comments below. This is not an endorsement of DE as a substance or Dirtworks as a supplier of DE. Thanks again, Geoff, for guest blogging!