Cracked.com article on bed bugs

by nobugsonme on February 24, 2014 · 11 comments

in bed bugs

Cracked.com features a lively new story about dealing with bed bugs.

The article “Six Horrific Realities of Living with a Bed Bug Infestation” includes some advice this site wouldn’t necessarily recommend (like isolating beds — or human bodies — using Vaseline).

not a bed bug

What is that, a shield bug?

It also features an image of a woman being terrified by an enormous bug– which isn’t a bed bug.

While far from ideal, media outlets using images which aren’t bed bugs in their bed bug stories is not an unusual problem, and this has affected many respected news organizations such as the CBC, CBS, and ABC.

To be fair, the Cracked story also does not actually label this as a bed bug, though it’s implied.  Thankfully, correct bed bug images also appear in the story.

Despite all this, the article does convey useful information and gives readers a good sense of what it’s like to live with bed bugs: from landlords who don’t uphold local laws regarding their responsibilities, to the panic that occurs on finding a suspected bite mark right after baking all of one’s belongings in a moving truck, to the social and psychological issues one experiences during and after bed bugs.

Perhaps the larger value of this type of story is not the information contained in it, but its ability to raise awareness.  This is a comedy article that is going to reach a lot of people, which is never a bad thing. People who know something about bed bugs are more likely to avoid them and to detect and respond to them earlier.

The article also does a good job of referencing sources for a lot of its information, and of pointing people to good resources.

According to the article, the author was a Bedbugger member:

For support, I found myself reaching out to the only group who could truly sympathize: other people living with infestations. They are clustered on a little island of sanity in the middle of the Internet called BedBugger.com. As a source of news, information, commiseration, and (somehow) rationality, I can confidently say that they are totally responsible for what tattered shreds remain of my sanity (shortly after I joined, one long-term member actually let me call them in the middle of the night and panic). Just knowing other folks are going through the same thing makes you feel less alone. Not that I ever really felt “alone” with the 7 million other inhabitants in my apartment.

Thanks for that, and though I can’t personally take credit for this, I’m sure I speak for everyone here when I say: glad we could help!

You may want to comment on the Cracked.com site but I hope you will also comment below with your impressions of this article and any other bed bug information included there which you want to applaud or correct.

Finally, welcome to anyone who has surfed in via Cracked.com.

If you want to learn to avoid bed bugs when you travel, have a look at the travel FAQs. Our FAQs about bed bugs, in general, may also be useful.

If you have specific questions about bed bugs, need support, or think you might have bed bugs and want to ask someone to ID a photo, please come to our active user forums!

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1 Rantin Raven February 24, 2014 at 10:59 pm

Haha! I just read this Cracked article earlier today, and a link-word within the article describing “an island of sanity” linked me to this site, bedbugger.
Bedbugs are presently an issue I never had to deal with before, having moved into a crowded environment: apartments, and knowing there are tenants that keep getting them again… (no bugs right next door to me, or the next one after that, so that’s good, so far)
I been scared, well, anxious, so I noticed the article about Bed Bugss, and here I am.
I am a “Newbite”, and I really really really fervently hope that I will be able to prevent an infestation, being in a room that is as far from others as possible.
I am at the very end of the hall, with no neighbors except one wall, and half the floor below me (the other half is a stairs to a side door).(oh oh, I don’t know what the BB situation is right below me…)(I better ask)
And I’m a major loner. I have one close friend, and the rest are acquaintances I say hi and/or converse on the street. And my friend only has me going to his place. Kind of a closed circuit… huh, haven’t really thought of that until just now. wow. Being alone in a crowd, but not lonely. The unconscious decisions that are intuitive. Yay intuition!
I’ve always been ‘antisocial’ anyways. I’m nice, just not into being around people.
The world feels really really weird, and getting weirder ever faster. Best to duck.

alrighty, then. Thank you for this site, very informative, and extremely helpful.
And inspiring: been uninspired to draw anything since 2007, and I feel a stirring, and it will be about… Bed bugs! yay! (yay for doing art, boo for bed bugs)

2 NotSoSnug February 25, 2014 at 5:47 pm

Hi NoBugs! Actually I think it’s a good article with few shortcomings. It conveys the desperation and silly mistakes with enough humor to not frighten off the innocent.

I wholeheartedly agree with the “Cracked” writers about Bedbugger.com “that they are totally responsible for what tattered shreds remain of my sanity”. The solace of finding both experienced and desperate folks and knowledge of methods and tools with which to fight back were gifts that Bedbugger.com provided at a very precarious time.

I also agree about the vaseline. Well, not slathering oneself all over. But I used vaseline as a narrow moat around my bed after the suite was treated. The vaseline did trap some bugs that were seeking to enter from harborage. I’ve read such barriers are discouraged as it defeats the point of acting as bait following treatment. But I couldn’t bear letting them bite me again.

I “assisted” the PCO treatment by hunting bed bugs in the deep of night with a red light. I had read that some bugs will actually fall on you to overcome barriers, and sure enough while I was hunting, I discovered some bugs were taking position high above me on overhanging furnishings, rather than slinking down to the floor to gain access to my bed. I caught the ones I found before they dropped on me and there were no bugs stuck in the moat from the inside so none had fallen in that I could see. But if there’s no will at work in insects there is at least a wide range of responses dictated by genetics. And some of those responses will confound us humans. So if anyone uses a vaseline moat beware of paratrooper bed bugs!

3 nobugsonme February 26, 2014 at 1:49 am

Rantin,
I have seen you on the forums and I hope you are able to get the support you need. You’ll get through this. Often a concern about potential bed bugs is all people have to deal with (and not an actual infestation) and I hope this is true in your case. Don’t let the fear overwhelm you, though. It’s possible to live in a building with bed bugs and not have bed bugs in your apartment, as many of us know.

As I said on the forums, if you do create any bed bug art, we would love to feature it! :-)

Speaking of which…

NotSoSnug,
Artist of our banner and icon! You are such a treasure and it’s always good to see you here.

I think in many ways your experience was very hardcore– both the level of infestation, and the fact that it occurred (if I remember rightly) just before we were starting to get good options for monitoring. Not that you needed monitors initially (sigh). What a mess. You went through a tough situation.

As such, your points are very well taken.

4 Tired March 12, 2014 at 6:50 am

A few weeks ago I moved into an apartment. Immediately, I noticed a few strange bites after waking. Then I began to see tiny, rust colored marks on my sheets, and I unmistakably found what appeared to be a dead bed bug in the bottom of my laundry basket.

I know I need to tell management. I’m just afraid. I hear cases where treatment is done without care and knowledge; it sounds like an absolute nightmare.

5 nobugsonme March 14, 2014 at 1:02 pm

Hi Tired,
Try to find out the local laws re: treating for bed bugs which apply to your housing situation. This gives you some idea what to expect. Note that landlords don’t always tell tenants the truth about their rights so it’s best to verify this yourself. A local tenants’ organization can often be a good source of this information, and we may be able to help if you post a question about this or anything else in our forums: http://bedbugger.com/forum

There are a lot of horror stories but remember that when things go just fine, people usually don’t post about it on the internet. Chances are you will be able to eliminate the problem in a reasonable amount of time. And the sooner you get help, the better.

6 nobugsonme March 14, 2014 at 1:03 pm

Tired, also remember you can post a photo for ID in the forums. Post a photo of your bug or if it is gone, find some fecal stains and post a photo of those. If you don’t see any, this may not even be a bed bug situation, or the problem may be very small.

7 so bad April 14, 2014 at 9:54 pm

Don’t know were these monsters came from but wish this nightmare would end.

8 so bad April 14, 2014 at 9:58 pm

So embarrassed my kids cant even have friends stay over im afraid they will get bit or take them home iv sprayed and cleaned they always seem to come back

9 nobugsonme April 14, 2014 at 11:06 pm

so bad,
Please come to our active user forums. You’ll get a lot of encouragement and suggestions (if you want them) there. You can get rid of bed bugs for good.

10 monkeyinthemiddle May 24, 2014 at 4:03 pm

I moved into an apt in March with my one year old. Last month I woke up to find something crawling on her arm, grabbed it, squashed it and was totally freaked out when blood came shooting out. Since I know the only thing that eats blood is bedbugs or ticks I ran to the bathroom with it in my hands and looked at it in the light and sure enough it was a bedbug that had just got done feasting on my daughter. I immidiatly called my landlord and they called pest control and we bagged and dryed all our clothes and linens but when I saw the neighbors outside and spoke with them I found out they have been infested the whole time they have lived here and they’re landlord won’t treat again. We live in a building with 6 units in it that is three floors but the units are privatly owned. My landlord treated the three that she owned but the other owner refuses. My issue is I know that even though I have been treated they will return. The guy upstairs from me says he has been fighting a losing battle with them. Taking his bed apart and vacuming it, mattress covers, staying on their 7 day cycle, tile floors ect. but the owner won’t treat and I have 11 months left on my lease here. The landlord had offered to let me out of my lease if I was able to find a place within a week of them treating here. Yeah right lol. Like that would happen, and that was the only way she would give us our deposit back and we put 500 dollars down and we would need that to move. I know that was why she offered the out because she knew with my 73 year old uncle and my one year old daughter there would be no way…anyway how canI get the owners of the other properties to treat his? The neighbors suggested calling the health department, but that would just close the building down right? Idk; I just want a safe, clean place for my famil to live. My fiancee is coming home from Japan in August and he will be finishing his degree, the last thing we need is for this shit to affect the thing our family has been working so hard to accomplish…help!?!? please…

11 nobugsonme May 26, 2014 at 6:23 pm

I don’t think the Health Dept. is likely to “shut your building down” unless there are other building violations which render it uninhabitable. Bed bugs are treatable and most treatments are done with people living in the building (leaving for a few hours is common). Some treatments (heat, Vikane gas) may require the whole building to be temporarily vacated.

I would definitely find out what department in your city/county responds to complaints about conditions in rental units, which may be a housing dept. or health dept. Call them and if they can’t send an inspector and enforce local laws, find out who will.

If you wish to discuss this further or get more input, please post in our active user forums. You’re likely to get a lot more readers there than in the comments on the blog on a post on another topic.

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