Bed bug etiquette, an encasement lawsuit, and the stock market

by nobugsonme on September 12, 2010 · 4 comments

in bed bug lawsuits

The latest bed bug news round-up, for your perusal:

The New York Times continues its bed bug frenzy today with the Social Q’s answering this bed bug etiquette question from a reader:

My husband and I have a friend who discovered bedbugs in his apartment. After repeated treatments, he still has live bugs — and keeps asking us over to help him clean the apartment. We want to be good friends, but even after explaining the risks of bringing bugs back to our place, he doesn’t seem to get it. We know we can catch bedbugs anywhere, and don’t want to make him feel like a leper, but we don’t want to risk infestation, either. What should we do? Anonymous

Etiquette writer Philip Galanes lets “Anonymous” off the hook: there is no social duty to aid the bed bug-infested as they debug their homes.

If you’re a good friend who does choose to help out, make sure you educate yourself about not bringing bed bugs home from the infested space. (The travel FAQs suggest ways to avoid bringing an infestation home, and may help.)

Next: the latest bed bug lawsuit.  JAB, maker of Protect-a-Bed encasements, is suing Martha Stewart Living for infringing on its patent for the BugLock zipper. (More on Protect-a-Bed encasements here; as our Disclosure Policy notes, we do advertise Protect-a-Bed encasements on this site.)

According to Business Week, the case is JAB Distributors LLC v. Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc., 10cv5716, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (Chicago), and concerns Martha Stewart Living’s Allergy Wise Mattress Protector.

Also interesting this weekend: The Street picks bed bug-related stocks (thanks to Cilecto for the tip!)  Oddly enough, Proctor and Gamble and Clorox are among the stocks The Street thinks will benefit most from the bed bug epidemic.   Laundry and garbage bags are the tip of the iceberg, however, and the article also covers more obvious pest control-related businesses such as Rollins, Monsanto, EcoLab, DuPont, and Bayer AG.

The Street also explores the trending of “bed bugs” in Twitter, blogs and online forums.

Note: The Street may offer wisdom to market enthusiasts, but don’t get your bed bug information from financial experts.  Case in point:

IBISWorld also noted that “the problem with bed bugs is that if you have them, you need to ‘bomb’ your house to kill the eggs and leftover bugs and also get yourself a new bed.”

Uh, no.

You most certainly do not want to “bomb” your home, and in most cases, experts tell us, you do not need a new bed.

Like the bed bug etiquette question, the bed bug-related stocks story is a sign of the increased exposure this problem has been getting lately.

1 CarpathianPeasant September 12, 2010 at 6:51 pm

Proctor & Gamble and Clorox?

Does anyone really believe not one of the millions of people susceptible to bed bugs will throw dirty clothes in the dryer?

Advice around already says, “Oh, you don’t have to wash the clothes if they are clean; just run them through the dryer to kill the bugs. Now, if they are full of bugs, dead or alive, how can they be called clean? They can’t, but that won’t stop people from bug killing expeditions to the laundromat that consist of throwing everything in a dryer.

Incidentally, what under the sun is a laundry mat (two words), which is a common reference to a self-service laundry business.

2 CiLecto September 12, 2010 at 10:53 pm

Some of these companies, at second glance, do not appear to have any connection to BB, like Monsanto. Comments on TheStreet have pointed out that they are not in the pesticides business. As for Sealy, I expect a lot of people to replace mattresses, but I wonder if people won’t start treating them as “disposables” and buy them for $100 instead of going for the “super-ultra-elite” models for $1,000.

3 Howard September 14, 2010 at 5:48 pm

Bomb the house? Not a good idea..I would recommend getting the home treated with heat. It is a very good service and less invasive. It also will not require repeated services. I had a friend who had them (bad) and they were taken care of in one day.

4 nobugsonme September 14, 2010 at 9:04 pm

Hi Carpathian,

For many if not most people, laundry and garbage bags/zipper bags do play a role in prep and treatment for bed bugs.

To answer your question about the dryer, yes, it would be gross if your clothing had dead bed bugs or eggs inside. On the other hand, if you have had to prep an entire home, you might decide to just dry items not otherwise needing cleaning because the most important thing is not to have live bed bugs and eggs.

I am assuming, of course, that most people also do not have clothing which is “full of bed bugs.” Most people probably won’t have a lot of bed bugs or eggs in clothing. They’re just trying to ensure there are no surviving bed bugs/eggs.

In reference to your other question, “laundry mat” is a misspelling of what we in the US (and Wikipedia tells me, also those in Australia and Canada) call a “laundromat,” also known as a laund(e)rette in the U.K. I’ve seen it a lot in articles lately, which is odd. There are 120K hits for “laundry mat” in Google, and 3.7 million for “laundromat,” suggesting it’s a common misspelling.

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