more from Pennsylvania

by nobugsonme on October 19, 2006

in bed bug treatment, bed bug treatment in hotels, bed bugs, bed bugs in the media, pennsylvania, photos of bed bugs, usa

Pittsburgh is buggin’ today. Watching bedbug news segments and reading articles from around the country can sometimes feel a bit repetitive–same entomologists, same stock photos of bedbugs, stained mattresses, and so on.

Offering a welcome respite from the same old bug photos, this video from KDKA news has Allegheny County Health Dept. entomologist Bill Todaro holding a bedbug impaled on a sharp pin. They also have three different varieties of bite photos–showing huge welts on one woman, small bites on another (like mine!) and in-between size on a third victim.

Not so great was the insistence of entomologist Todaro that you’ll see the bugs, since some of us look for months and don’t catch them in sight:

“You’ll see the bugs. They’re visisble. They are big enough to be seen with the naked eye.”

Yes, and no. They’re big enough to be seen, sure, but it’s important for people to know that they may hide in locations other than your mattress (where they’re easier to spot), and they also have five life stages. The smallest is 1mm (one journalist compared the size of the smallest ones to the size of a period in the New York Times). I’m a bit sensitive on this point; my own doctor has been taking this kind of “you’ll see them” advice to heart, and refused to believe I even had them because I did not see them biting. Most people with infestations do see some bedbugs at some point.

Todaro also mentioned the “musty smell” they can produce. In my opinion this is a waste of news time, since I have not come across anyone with infestations who could smell them. Perhaps it has to be quite severe.

I did, however, appreciate the warning that people who’ve been to hotels should unpack (upon their return home) over the washing machine, or maybe put their suitcase in a freezer for a week. Their other suggestion (leaving your bag outside in a plastic bag for a week) would be virtually useless unless it were below freezing all week. In October, it’s poor advice.

All in all, they did really well on some fronts but quite poorly in others. Grade: C+.

(It would be a solid C but their range of original footage was impressive.)

No bedbug news segment is bad, however. I am glad these monsters are all over the news.

There was a second tv news story from WPXI Pittsburgh, but I was almost glad the video link did not work, since the photo looked like something out of a horror movie. Bedbugs the size of a child’s face, leave wounded youngsters in their wake (news at 11):

The horror!  The horror!

Yes, bedbugs are bad, but I take some comfort in their size, relative to mine.

It’s a bit sad that Bedbugger is now actually reviewing bedbug news segments. But what else do you expect, since reading and viewing the bedbug news is now my main pastime?


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