Salt Lake City Tribune on bed bugs: they don’t quite get it yet

by nobugsonme on August 16, 2007 · 9 comments

in bed bugs, bed bugs in low-income housing, usa

This more or less “standard regional bed bug article” (in this case on the spread of bed bugs to Salt Lake City) implies that many locals still believe that avoiding overseas missionary travel, or hosting “punks, drunks, and missionaries” in your home, will keep bed bugs at bay. Not so.

While it’s true that overseas missionary travel and certain kinds of urban lifestyles may be good ways to pick up bed bugs, most Salt Lake City folks are probably getting them in more mundane ways: visits to hotels and motels in the good ol’ U.S.A., purchases of new furniture and mattresses (delivered in same truck used to cart old ones are carried away), and how most Bedbuggers in apartments probably get their bed bugs: from a neighbor.

The article primarily focuses on several tenants in a multi-unit building, and seeks to put the blame on the tenants’s actions. Let’s consider, instead, that this is a problem for all of us. No one in Utah is immune, regardless of who their visiting friends and relatives are.

In the pre-World War II era, “everyone” had bed bugs. Not everyone all the time, but everyone encountered them at some time, somewhere. And everyone took great lengths to avoid them. And thought of the possibility of them while riding in trains or buses, or staying in hotels.

Those times are nigh upon us again, I am afraid.

1 anon August 16, 2007 at 1:21 pm

Hi, do you have any internet links to anecdotes of how people coped with bedbugs pre-WW2 ? I googled, but didn’t turn up much. Thanks!

2 nobugsonme August 16, 2007 at 1:23 pm

Since treatment methods are much safer today, why not look at our FAQs instead?

3 anon August 16, 2007 at 1:27 pm

Also, FYI – saw this craigslit roommate ad blogged on for a loftshare in Brooklyn –

The craigslist ad has expired, but here’s an excerpt:

“Very Important note: you must tolerate bugs! We have bugs now and then since we live in an old old converted warehouse with tons of places for them to come from. Although they are not common, they do come in and bite us =( […]”

In the comments, the advertiser admits they’re bedbugs.

Some people just tolerate them and choose to live with them indefinitely. That’s tragic & disturbing.

4 anon August 16, 2007 at 1:50 pm

I battled bedbugs over two years ago. I am not fighting them now. So I’m not seeking to employ 19th century treatments at all.

(I’m not superstitious, in general. But I’m wary of saying I’ve beaten them, even though I haven’t seen one since 2005, because of the admittedly irrational idea that I will jinx myself by pronouncing victory.)

I’m still vigilant and a tad preoccupied with this global recurrence of bedbugs. I asked for the “history” links for anecdotal reasons – sincerely. Just on a human-story-level, I don’t know how my ancestors coped with this menace before vacuums and pesticides.

I understand though about being reluctant to disseminate outdated, incorrect, dangerous treatments. Kudos to you for being so responsible – in addition to informative, reasonable, and generous – with this site.

5 Bugalina August 16, 2007 at 3:03 pm

Wasn’t there a Firehouse that was totally infested in Salt Lake City a while back ??? They had better connect the dots….because if they do they will see that there are lots of infestations in all different kinds of environments. Bed bugs = blood = whereever there are humans.

6 nyjammin August 17, 2007 at 1:01 pm

Anon, 2 years is a long time. Since it took a long time, was your infestation bad? Also, would you mind telling us how you finally beat them?

7 persona-non-bugga August 17, 2007 at 1:43 pm

I’m the anon. I registered in the forums last night.

Fortunately, I did not fight them for the duration of two years . I fought them about two years AGO for a few weeks in a manic-defcon-all-out war in spring 2005. I haven’t been troubled physically by them since then. But I remain extremely wary and, occasionally, fret about them entering my life again – especially when I read incidents of reinfestation from internet bedbug “heroes” like Caitlin Heller and the “picture of me” blogger.

I know this site discourages this, but I self-treated. I purchased the regimen from a pest management company in Astoria, NY. It consisted of a straw-nozzle flusher to detect their presence; a pesticide spray; and a dessicant dust called NIC. I followed their prep & vacuum & cleaning & laundry instructions scrupulously. I pretty much inspected, vacuumed or laundered, and/or treated every crevice of my apartment and all items within it..

Now that I’ve implied “success,” I hope & pray fate does not bite me in the ass, and a bedbug doesn’t hitch its way into my building some how. I thought I was over this mess. But the emotional and mental scars remain. And the fact that my building management was so negligent in treating the past infestation just adds to the anxiety that they may take hold again.

8 nobugsonme August 17, 2007 at 5:25 pm

If it’s been two years, it’s unlikely they’ll come back. Except that you can get them however you got them the first place (a neighbor, workplace, volunteer work, etc.)
But the anxiety you describe and even the fear to say they’re “gone” appears to be standard around here.

9 persona-non-bugga August 17, 2007 at 9:23 pm

Thanks for the reassuring words, nobugs. They help. You’re very kind.

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