Michigan stories: bed bug-related sleep deprivation, and mattress dumping

by nobugsonme on May 1, 2012 · 5 comments

in bed bugs, sleep

Two stories involving bed bugs in Michigan caught my eye today. They consider two different sides of the “dumped mattress” problem.

The first story from today’s Detroit Free Press suggests that a large number of people are losing sleep due to not sleeping on a bed. Not surprisingly, it mentions bed bugs as one of the reasons people end up bedless:

While many people take having a good, comfortable bed at home for granted, for an untold number of Michigan’s adults and children, that’s not their reality.

Experts say the economy, consolidation of households, and bedbugs are all contributing to a lack of beds in homes throughout southeast Michigan, which often leads to poor sleep.

No one tracks exactly how many people share beds or go without, but a first-of-its kind study in metro Detroit is to take place this fall.

The effects of not getting a good night’s sleep range from emotional and behavior problems in children to adults drowsing off or falling asleep, putting them at an increased risk for automobile accidents and affecting work performance, medical experts say.

[Emphasis added.]

Of course, as we’ve often noted, sleep deprivation also occurs when people have bed bugs and a bed, and is one of the primary health problems related to bed bugs.

Remember, experts tell us in most cases you do not need to throw out your bed in order to get rid of bed bugs. If the mattress is intact (no tears), bed bugs can be removed and killed.

Box springs are a problem since they hide bed bugs easily, and these can be sealed and tossed, or carefully encased in a cover designed to keep bed bugs in or out (see the FAQ on encasements for more on this).

You don’t need a box spring for a good night sleep in many cases. If necessary, mattresses can be placed on the floor (it’s better than sleeping directly on the floor). They can also be placed on a frame that does not require a box spring.

The second story, from the Dearborn Press and Guide is from the police blotter, which reports on a “Bed-bug infested mattresses dumped at apartment complex”:

Two single mattresses crawling with bed bugs were dumped Thursday at the apartment building at Freda Street and Blesser Avenue.

The complex’s maintenance man called police about 11 a.m. He said he tried to spray down the mattresses with insecticide to keep the bed bugs from spreading.

Police called the Department of Public Works to have the mattresses removed.

It’s not clear whether the mattresses may have come from inside the same building, but if the dumping was not witnessed, the management may wish to investigate whether current tenants have bed bugs they may have been reluctant to report.

We don’t often hear about the police getting called in about bed bug-related concerns.

But we see mattresses dumped every day. Remember that if you must get rid of infested items like this, they should first be carefully sealed in plastic to help avoid spreading bed bugs within your home and to others. Where I live in New York City, it’s the law.

If the mattress can be treated and kept (and most can), this is often the best course of action.

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1 CarpathianPeasant May 3, 2012 at 8:18 am

Is there any community anywhere that has a “bed bug task force”? For that matter, is there even any effort to set up such a thing?

I’m thinking “city” with that question (city using public money), but it could also be volunteers from a neighborhood or a state inspired thing.

It’s all well and good to show individual people pictures of the “real” thing and offer suggestions and products that have been shown to be effective, etc.; but, I have found that to be largely a futile exercise. Mention bed bugs randomly, and the person addressed knows ALL about them (they saw a picture once, they’re in hotels, etc., etc.).

I don’t have any bed bugs at present. I do have a bottle of diatomaceous earth at hand. I do have a landlady that’s going to jump on any such matter with a pest control company that has gotten rid of them in apartments in the building, and I mean they check above, below, each side, etc. And, I have talked to people who come to the building for various reasons and go to other apartment buildings and they know about the bugs until I rather insist they look at the pictures I’ve downloaded on my computer. Well, they didn’t know the bugs come in different sizes (newborn, young and adult) and things like that. Indeed, they don’t comprehend that’s it’s a living creature that eats, no doubt sleeps, has babies….

(Enough of a rant for the moment.)

Task force — to help victims if nothing else?

2 mlankenau May 5, 2012 at 11:06 pm

Do you know of further action that can be taken in Chicago? I am on day two of my seige. I discovered my issue early Thursday am. My apartment complex gave me a checklist. They said once i completed it and they contacted the rest of the tenants in my unit they would contact the exterminator. They informed me everyone had been contacted and left it at that. Didn’t tell me when they wouyld proceed with contacting the exterminator. i proceeded here over the weekend to reach out to some of my neighbors- none of them had been contacted. I also came to discover that my neighbors and some tenants below had been bombed recently and the landlord did not inform anyone. it seems like there should be some sort of law against this especially in a city like chicago. Can you provide advice

3 nobugsonme May 6, 2012 at 3:06 am

This recent Reader article (via the Metropolitan Tenants Organization) goes into some of the issues and scenarios in Chicago:
http://www.tenants-rights.org/bedbugs-not-dead-yet-chicago-reader-feature/

But I would actually call the MTO as they will likely be able to give you good
and up-to-date advice. They have a hotline for tenant questions:
http://www.tenants-rights.org/get-assistance/

Let me know if that was your real name and you want me to delete it — just click the About page in menu above for a contact form.

4 nobugsonme May 6, 2012 at 3:15 am

Carpathian– I did not miss your message. Yes, there have been task forces– NYC had one which recommended policy and completed its work. Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Cuyahoga County, Central Ohio, Columbus are all examples in Ohio. Nassau County, Long Island, Polk Co., Iowa, Jacksonville, Fl., Contra Costa, Ca., Berrien Co. (Mi.), Greater Boston, Louisiana– all come up in searches for “Bed bug task force.” Their missions and activities vary widely. I will try to do a round-up of these soon, though the information is always changing.

5 CarpathianPeasant May 6, 2012 at 11:54 am

Thanks for replying, nobugsonme.

I didn’t really mean a select collection of people to be studying about the matter and subsequently providing statistics. I meant an established and equipped set of people (like a SWAT team) to actually deal with the matter on an ongoing basis.

I’ve heard rumors in the distance about task force, but not really anything geared to help with clearing out an infested building in conjunction with a pest control company (doing the other stuff expected).

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