According to kutv.com, the firefighters blame the infestation on a homeless shelter they are called out to regularly.
“What are we going to do? Strip everyone down and make them take a shower before we let them in the shelter?” asks Diane Keay of the Salt Lake County Health Department. “I don’t think we’re going to go there. So I don’t know how to prevent re-infestation.”
What might help? Well, look at the video: they’re using wooden bunk beds, and the video shows uncovered mattresses. Metal beds encased in strong bedbug-proof casings would be a start. But let’s be honest, there’s no way to keep bed bugs out of shelters without sealing up the posessions of overnight guests, requiring showers, and washing and drying their clothes on hot. Those requirements are likely to drive lots of homeless people away.
Note to people who don’t get the “media hype”:
- the firefighters closed down their station for months
- they had what was described as “dozens” of bed bugs in the station, and
- one firefighter woke up with “over forty bites” and was “freaking out about it”; his captain sent him for medical treatment.
Hmm, if men and women who are among our bravest (and often strongest) civilians can be terrorized by these little insects, perhaps they are distressing.
Note to people who ignore the poor who live in substandard housing or homeless shelters: you can’t allow some members of our society to live with bed bugs, unless you want to live with bed bugs. We really are living in a matrix; we are all connected. This is our problem, whether it’s entered our baseboards and mattresses, or not.
This article, from the Salt Lake City Tribune, ups the ante, blaming not only the homeless shelter but also immigrants (in general) for the rise of bed bugs. Yes, we’ve heard that before. But immigrants were flocking to our shores from countries with bed bugs during the three decades when bed bugs were all but completely eradicated in North America. Why did immigrants suddenly begin bringing in bed bugs around 1999? There’s more to the story than that– changes in pesticide use are also a factor, I am sure. But it is still mysterious, and I am still perplexed.