Our favorite Canadian journalist is back on the bed bug trail. In this article, he shares the story of Marg, a single mother battling bed bugs and the ensuing mountains of laundry. She’s killed three vacuums since January.
She said, “It started in January of ’08. I’d fall asleep on the couch and wake up and notice welts on my arms, my butt, my back, my feet. I had an allergic reaction. I thought maybe it was from detergent, from fabric softener, from eggs or whole-wheat. My doctor thought it was autoimmune. The dermatologist thought it was hives, or an allergy to cats, or ragweed.
“A couple of days later, after I saw the doctor, I saw a tiny brown thing on the arm of the couch. I didn’t really know they existed.” She caught the bug and put it in a baggie and kept it in her freezer as proof.
“I asked the super in the building if bugs had been reported. The super said, `Well, that’s private information …'”
The hell it is.
“I found out that my neighbour had been dealing with bedbugs since 2007. I think she was embarrassed. She tried to deal with the problem on her own.”
When people say they’re self-treating for bed bugs in an apartment building, this scenario is always at the back of my mind. It’s just one of the reasons self-treating is not a good idea.
Of course, Fiorito’s articles on bed bugs are always excellent, and we are glad he’s on the case. But is it just me, or is the quality of The Star’s commenters way above par?
So far, I see a marked absence of the nonsense you typically get with comments on bed bug articles in the US, UK, and Canada (the ones ignorantly telling people to wash their sheets more often, racist diatribes about immigration, and so on). And the comments aren’t just not-stupid, they’re knowledgeable. For example, magnolia_2000’s comment:
People need to be informed
People have a right to know if there is a problem with bedbugs in their building. But landlords won’t post signs, because it won’t look good for prospective tenants. So it is up to the government to legislate public notification. Only then will landlords get serious about solving the problem. Landlords can set up a “hot room” where apartment contents can be heated to kill the bugs, which will eliminate the cleaning bills.
Posted by magnolia_2000 at 8:18 AM Monday, September 15 2008
magnolia_2000 may be nodding to the current plan of the Vancouver RainCity development which is installing a sauna room specifically for this purpose.
I firmly believe Joe Fiorito’s coverage of bed bugs has had a tangible impact on the bed bug public policy in that city, which has a Bed Bug Action Committee in place and is working on the issue.
I especially appreciate that since politicians in my own town are, you might say, fiddling while New York itches.
(Make that: itches, sprays, launders, spends…)