bed bugs in Los Angeles

by nobugsonme on August 13, 2007 · 5 comments

in bed bugs, california, entomologists, usa

Leslie Earnest of the Los Angeles Times reports on bed bugs today.

Can I just be blunt here? I like it when reporters, like Earnest, talk to Dr. Michael Potter of the University of Kentucky. They often seem to know what is what.

Bedbugs hitchhike on humans or in luggage and burrow into bedding, books, sofas and just about any cozy place, even picture frames. Once they establish squatter’s rights, evicting them isn’t easy. Or cheap. Casting them out of the average house in Southern California can cost thousands of dollars and require multiple visits.

“The last customer we dealt with compared it to having her home destroyed by fire or flood,” said Sean Murray, manager of exterminator Orkin’s branch in Pasadena.

Thank you for skipping the BS about bed bugs not being a real health concern. Would you like your home destroyed by fire or flood?

Okay, reader, that may sound extreme. But consider this: floods and fires, like bed bug infestations, come in all sizes. None is a cake walk.

[Consider the example of one] West Hollywood teacher. She had just outfitted her apartment with a new bed, sofa and window treatments when a mysterious rash blanketed her body, sparing only her face, hands and feet. Her students took note. “It was like, ‘Miss, you’re scratching again,’ ” she said. “It was just such a nightmare.”

Doctors were stumped by her condition, which continued to worsen. When she noticed fluid settling in her ankles and at the back of her neck, she went to a hospital emergency room, where she got relief for her symptoms in the form of a cream that she slathered all over her body, including under her fingernails.

It took “divine intervention” — actually, the Internet — to pinpoint the cause. She clicked on “bedbugs” and raced to inspect her bed, first finding black marks on the mattress, then the bugs themselves. She tossed out her down pillow, sheets and every blanket.

Fluid settling in her ankles, wow, that sounds almost like a health condition, prompted by a bed bug allergy!

Another woman, in Pasadena, fought bed bugs for a while and then eventually moved because of them:

There wasn’t much to pack. She had thrown out beds, dressers, clothes, shoes, an alarm clock, a television set and five boxes of books. Stuff that was too precious to dump went into storage to give bugs time to die.

“The losses are astronomical,” the woman said. Worse yet was the psychological toll. “I didn’t sleep for five weeks. I don’t believe I’ll ever be the same.”

Now she’s a bedbug expert, having given herself a crash course on insects she considers “biblical.” It particularly creeps her out that they like to stay close to their hosts.

“Host is the word,” she said, drawing it out. “They are parasites.”

Information, typical stories, and not one single word trying to diminish the economic, emotional, psychological — or even “health”– impact of bed bugs. This article, I like.

1 Bugalina August 13, 2007 at 2:05 pm

YES…Finally a legitimate newspaper with a REAL “slant” on the devastation of bed bugs.
We hear have frequently referred to our infestations as “our Katrina” …..To the uneducated ( I refer to bed bug education )…This reference in comparison to storms seems outlandish….fantastical…ridiculous. Why just yesterday, my sister in law who witnessed my “bed bug nervous breakdown” last year, said that a Tempurpedic Bed would prevent bed bugs from being able to set up shop in anyones home. I could not reply…I just sat there and internalized it…because I know she thinks I “overreacted”…..A woman who had bbq’s at her home all summer long, whose grandchildren do sleepovers every weekend . If bed bugs “hit” her home ( with her tempurpedic) She would have to be rescued. I would be there to throw out the life preserver. So what I am trying to say is that this article VALIDATES me….It speaks to the serious nature of bed bug infestation….Until this epidemic is recognized as serious there are too many people like my sister in law out there… in ignorance. Ignorance can be dangerous….journalists please step up and speak out..let others know how serious this is…..

2 nobugsonme August 13, 2007 at 11:50 pm

I think this is not the first good article, but it’s the first in a while. (I am partial to the San Francisco Chronicle article, of course, having had the site featured in it in a positive way. And those in the NY Times have been very good.)

But yes, this article is a beacon, to be sure. I’m telling you, it’s the Michael Potter factor.

Does he even know he has groupies?!?

3 ANDY July 26, 2008 at 7:28 pm

hello to all.ihave had bed bugs for the past year, ihave had several exterminators
on the 5th visit he used cy kick cs.well it worked for me,but not for my poor neighbor across the hall. now she had bed bugs. she had her appt which they filterd back into my appt. i had 6th treatment done.what should i do if my neighbor has another treatment and they filter back into my apartment can anyone please helpme out?thank you… bugged out

4 ANDY July 27, 2008 at 9:14 pm


5 nobugsonme July 29, 2008 at 9:38 pm

Hi Andy,

It sounds like your professional treatments may be failing because everyone in your building who has bed bugs is not getting coordinated treatment. I would suspect you and this ONE neighbor may nto be the only ones needing treatment. If you have had six treatments and still have bed bugs, your landlord needs to talk to the pest control operator about inspecting all the other units which touch yours or the neighbor’s (above, below, and on all sides). They must be carefully inspected, and treated if necessary.

And the landlord and pest control company also need to consider the timing of treatments. If they are going back and forth between you and the neighbor, the bottom line is they are not managing this well.

And I know so far this is not going well for you, but I would not try and self treat. Spraying something –even if it does work on bed bugs, and I am not sure it does — will not solve your problem when it is as big as this and scattered in different apartments. You and all the infested neighbors need a good coordinated treatment. Hopefully the landlord will understand that if this is not dealt with properly, it will only get worse and cost him/her more.

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