Letter from a reader: Bedlam, clothing stores, and bagging clothes

by nobugsonme on November 14, 2006 · 13 comments

in bed bug treatment, bed bugs, information and help, pesticides, tools and weapons

We got a comment from Buggles on another post, and I wanted to address Buggles’s comments directly.

Hi Buggles,

First, we’re glad you commented. We encourage all our readers to click on the word “Comments” above any post and write back to us. It’s a small little link, but we have a free blog and we can’t fix that at this time.

Buggles commented:
Thank you for putting this resource together. Unfortunately, much of the literature on the Web is contradictory–

1 mgdecombe November 14, 2006 at 9:47 pm

I’ve been thinking about the clothing issue, and wonder whether buying from catalogs is a good way to fend off infestations?

I suppose, one would never know if the catalog-bought item is a return…

Are we to be doomed to cotton and other fabrics that can be washed and dried on *hot*?

By the way, if you have dried synthetics on how, particularly if they are sewn with synthetic thread, be sure your seams are still functional before you go traipsing down main street.

From one who learned the hard way…

2 nobugsonme November 15, 2006 at 3:34 am


You know, I have noticed my favorite catalogue retailers all ship items sealed in plastic within their boxes. I don’t remember this always being the case, but maybe I just never gave it a thought. In any case, this is probably WHY. Because I am sure pests in warehouses have always been a concern.

3 parakeets November 17, 2006 at 1:11 pm

Re your question…what exactly happens if bedbugs do find their way into your clothes and you put them on and go to work?

I can tell you what happened to me since I did this. I had a cotton turtle-neck shirt that I washed in hot water and dried for 2 hours in the hottest level of my dryer. I thought it was “safe” and put it in a drawer. When I took it out, inspected it, and wore it, I ended up being bitten several times on my back and shoulders during that day outside my home, though I never saw the bedbugs or felt any bites until after I was bitten and the itchiness set in.

I have learned that treated clothing can easily and invisibly be reinfected if you don’t store it in sealed bags. I also learned that even if you inspect clothing and don’t see bedbugs, you can get bitten.

4 buggles November 20, 2006 at 12:28 am

parakeets, thank you for your reply! nobugsonme, thank you also.

So much for all that information online about how bedbugs bite you and then quickly retreat to their hiding places.

Still, you didn’t feel it crawling around. I wonder if formication — another possibility — feels more real than the real thing.

Incidentally, I tried the time-lapse experiment just for kicks. It was too dark and grainy to see anything as small as a bedbug, but it sure was interesting to watch. The problem is the more light you use, the better the quality but the less likely a bedbug will surface — or is that another myth?

5 nobugsonme November 21, 2006 at 2:32 am

Hi Buggles,
If the lights are on, they will bite anyway.
Also I think they _do_ tend to retreat to their hiding places after biting. But their hiding places _can_ be in your clothes, jacket, shoes, or the purse or bag you carry to work. I think that’s the most likely way to transport them.
And luggage too–they’d never be the great world travellers they are if they didn’t set up shop fairly quickly in new residences, like your garment bag or suitcase.
Do you think the problem is formication (i.e. delusional parasitosis)?!? I think in my case its more likely to be some kind of hypersensitivity your skin builds up after real parasitosis. It could not be entirely delusional, since the bites appear before the itching in many cases. But in others, yes, there seems to be itching without visible evidence of bites. I’m interested in what could be causing this.

6 buggles November 21, 2006 at 3:25 am

For the record, formication is a symptom of delusional parasitosis (DP), but formication can also occur in the absence of DP. It can stem from drug use or physical disease, but can also have an unexplained etiology.

7 nobugsonme November 21, 2006 at 3:30 am

Thanks for clearing that up. It may be caused by some kind of skin changes the bites cause. Perhaps some kind of histamine reaction? I think the key here is whether you have bed bug bites or not. Those of us who are pretty certain (have seen, if not the bugs themselves, lots of Little Black Specks presumed to be droppings) get these kinds of itches. I’d love to know more about this!

8 buggles November 21, 2006 at 8:43 pm

Do the black spots stick/smudge or do they freely move around like poppy seeds?

9 nobugsonme November 22, 2006 at 7:13 am

I’ve had some that smudged a little (or were obviously not totally solid) and others that were little specks (varying size) that you could pick up, seemed solid like a little seed. They seem to stick to the spot they’re on a little better than a seed, but can be picked up.

10 James Buggles January 26, 2007 at 1:01 am

One correction. Apparently, Bedlam is a residual with a 90% kill rate for up to 7 weeks.

11 nobugsonme January 26, 2007 at 1:34 am

You’re right, James, that Bedlam has a residual property. According to this information, it is effective for up to 5 weeks residual. I’ll correct the information above.


12 S. January 29, 2007 at 3:05 pm

About these black dots, Nobugs, you said that they can be hard like a seed. If wetted with spit on your finger, or with a paper towel, would these too get red and bloody? Or would they stay hard and solid?

We’ve tried the spit test with a bunch of unidentified flecks in the bed, and they’ve always stayed hard and dry.

Thanks for anyone’s thoughts on this extra-gross matter. 🙂

13 Bugalina January 29, 2007 at 4:43 pm

I would try putting them into very hot water..even microwaving them in a small clear bowl..and then smear them onto a white paper towel…if they are very very hard it will take more than spit to melt them down…Bugalina

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