Everyone has them - what do we do?(7 posts)
I feel like it's raining bed bugs. I just spoke with my daughter who is in another state. She ended up in the homeless system there [something deleted at user's request] when she couldn't keep her housing, the system there put her up in a motel. Well, guess what else was living in that motel? She was told to wash and dry all their clothing and moved to another motel, and told to spray her other things, the non-washables, with lysol. Anyone think Lysol will do? If only it were that easy. (I had been thinking that the only blessing about the infestation in my apartment is that it happened after my daughter moved out and that they aren't having to deal with it.
Now she's talking about wanting to come home and my mind is boggling around how to deal with getting my home treated, knowing she might be coming home with all her posessions also needing to be treated. Guess a packtite needs to be added to the list. Plus big time money problems.
[something deleted at user's request] I'm wishing for money to help my daughter who has all the same needs but with less control over her environment. Whether she stays where she is, which is better for her in many other ways, but then needs to deal with the bed bugs there, or comes home and we have to sort out our overlapping bug problems, it's going to be more expensive.
And just to put a bit of icing on the cake, I'd been thinking that one place I could make a little money would be to offer cut-rate computer support or training to people living in a building here that specifically houses blind people. That's what I do, and had taught classes in a program in that building, but hadn't tried much for individual clients as most can't really afford to pay the rates I feel I need to charge. But right now, any extra money would hellp. So I thought. And then came to this site today to read about that building having an on-going bed bug problem.
The thing is, I had no idea what was involved in the bed bug situation until, well, less than a week ago. In fact, what happened was that I was trying to figure out what I was being bitten by and nothing was fitting. And at the same time I was looking for used furniture on Craigs list. Yes, I now cringe in horror over the idea, but if I'm infested, it happened before anything I brought into the house last week. While I was purusing the free stuff people were getting rid of, I saw an ad that mentioned that the bed came with a bed bug cover and I thought, well, that sounds like an interesting thing and looked up bed bug covers to see if it's something I should have, just thinking to be safe. And that started me reading about bed bugs and suddenly it occurred to me that it fit exactly what I'm dealing with.
So, half the time I'm totally freaked out about my own problem, and know I don't have it to do anything else right now, but when I'm calm and have a few functioning brain cells, I'm thinking we gotta do something much much bigger in this city and elsewhere I guess, to address this problem now. It's so culturally built into NYC to do all the things that foster the spread of these creatures. We take pride in salvaging other peoples cast-aways. We revel in the second hand furniture economy. And we make contactct with each other, live in the city at large, not just our homes and cards and work places as many people do in many other parts of this country. I'd hate to see us lose that - the city as living room, that is, not the furniture sharing. I guess those days are over, except they're not and should be. I heard about an electronics recycling day today and didn't bring my things down because I assume they might be affected. When we do things like that, we're going to need to do them with an eye to what we may be contributing to the lives of the people who are running the program. There's so much to think about and it would be so much better if it were addressed seriously on a city-wide basis. What do we do?
Be 100% educated, and 200% paranoid. That's my philosophy.
I'm thinking we gotta do something much much bigger in this city and elsewhere I guess, to address this problem now. It's so culturally built into NYC to do all the things that foster the spread of these creatures. We take pride in salvaging other peoples cast-aways. We revel in the second hand furniture economy. And we make contactct with each other, live in the city at large, not just our homes and cards and work places as many people do in many other parts of this country. I'd hate to see us lose that - the city as living room
Your words should be matted and framed. I've been haning out here for 2 years exactly because this is on my mind.
Stories like you and your daughter are tough, How do you balance compassion vs. making sure that your home is safe and that you don't "lose everything"?
BTW, I would not have worried about bringing to electronics recycling. This stuff is typically going for scrap, not re-use.
Your story is unfortunately very apropros. Everyone is getting these things, which makes avoiding them or eradicating them nearly impossible. Like when I needed a friend's house to sleep in just for sanity and realized both good friends likely had them. One was storing someone else's infested stuff in not air tight plastic tubs and itching and the other was visiting there a lot and getting bitten.
I mean, what do we do? We can't even escape them at work, which we need to do to make money to fight them.
I think I will have them licked here, and seriously am wondering about declaring my place a bed bug free zone, as I will have the packtite and interceptors and caulked, etc. and offer my place as refuge or at least the packtite to lend. I know the local laundromat to use also that cooks the suckers. Bed bugs are so unlike anything one has experienced before, the learning curve is HUGE; living out of bags and so sterile and meager is just not something I don't think is ever documented in history besides perhaps with leprosy or the bubonic plague. I can't think of any other insect where this kind of living is necessary so long term. It's like a quarantine.
Bed bug free zones. What do we think of this? Kind of like safe houses for teens. We could put up stickers in our windows of a bug with an x through it.
I feel your pain and hope soon both you and your daughter are sleeping well.
I couldn't agree more with what Cilecto said about your quote above. I hate the idea of us becoming a super suspicious, even more disposable society.
I am hoping that simple precautions like the pack tite or steamers will allow us to function much as normal, once we're better educated. That is, maybe with the right education, we can keep the culture of sharing stuff, but keep BBs from spreading. I have no idea how fail-safe that is now. Both my husband and our housemate do ebay and fleamarkets and both of their business are on temporary hold until we can figure out how to deal with the BB situation safely.
By the way, it looks like Pack Tites run in the $250-300 range (and from what I can tell from construction, they aren't really worth that -- someone needs to develop a well-made competitor). We live in long island (a $4.25 train ride from NYC off peak). If you can't afford one, you are welcome to come use ours for your daughter's stuff. We even have large collection of clear contractor bags now, that we can send your stuff home in. (Send me a private message if you need this.) Probably if you are getting free and used stuff regularly, investing in a pack tite might be worth it, anyway, but they are much more expensive then it seems like they should be.
I believe that in the long run, people will adapt, but it may be a confusing few years as this evolves. As "epidemic" as BB are in NY, I believe that most people don't have them right now (or don't realize that they do). So it's still a minority of the population that's dealing with it. Once BB become more widespread, there will be more and better pros, more and better products.
Many of the solutions to this problem are "out there'. It's just a matter of someone making the effort, investing the money and taking the risk to bring them to market. Two years ago, we knew that heating items to 120F would kill BB, yet it took someone to assemble the necessary parts and bring PackTite to market. There will be more PackTites. The city of Vancouver installed a "hot room" in an assisted housing project. They published the plans online so anyone can build their own. Eventually, buildings or businesses will build more of these.
Part of the "terror" of BB (IMHO) is that the sufferer is in the minority and is "obligated", not just to get their own infestation under control, but to protect the "majority" (ie, visitors and the places s/he visits). If BB become a "chronic" pest that "everyone" has (I believe that) people will see this differently. Most people will be spraying and vacuuming and using whatever tools are out there. People at one end of the bell curve will be taking extreme steps, people at the other will be "doing nothing" and will have major infestations. Think of how society deals with sexually transmitted disease. Total abstainers at one end, people who never act responsibly at the other and people who take precaustions some or most of the time in the middle.
I'm totally puzzled about what to do about my daughter. She isn't saying she wants to come home now, which means she will probably catch me off-guard when I'm not prepared, so trying to plan ahead. She's in PA and best thing I can think of for her to do, or perhaps for me to do for her, as she doesn't have internet access, is to find someone in that area who is treating their house or moving van and pay them something to put her things in also. Except that would have to be done after she leaves the motel and before she goes to the next place and she has almost zero cash at hand, the logistics are boggling my mind. I guess having her bring her things back in double garbage bags, hoping they don't break in whatever means she manages to transport them, then shlepping them all out to long island (thanks for that offer) ... ugh! When I have a clear head, I think I will create a new post ofr this one, see if anyone can help.
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