Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Homemaking Tip—Bed Bugs

I don’t know if you’ll thank me for this tip or not, sometimes ignorance really is bliss, but I do think you'll be glad I didn't post a picture.

Remember the nursery rhyme, “Good night, sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite”? And if you knew the extended version: “And if they do then take your shoe and beat ‘em ‘til they’re black and blue.” Were you really afraid of bed bugs? I wasn’t . . . until I talked to my sister-in-law who is a head housekeeper.

She said bedbugs are every hotel’s nightmare. They

1. eat blood
2. come out at night, usually just before dawn while their hosts are in their deepest sleep
3. are averse to sunlight
4. eat every five to ten days but can live a year without food
5. are drawn to carbon dioxide emissions and warm body heat
6. have been infesting American hotels since the US outlawed the pesticide DPT and international travel increased

However, she also taught us how to spot them. She said to look for a smattering of small black dots, like a fine sharpie marker would give, on the headboards of your bed, or a splattering on the wall that looks like someone opened an exploding can of Coke. (This gave me the willies, because I have seen that in motels and wondered why they didn’t clean up the spill.) My sister-in-law told us that if we do see the signs of bedbugs to tell the hotel clerk and we would promptly get a new room—evidently cooties are bad publicity. She also said to keep our suitcases off the bed, couch or floor so bedbugs wouldn’t hitch a ride home with us.

Have you got any more info or experience to add? I do hope Lelly weighs in on this subject.


lelly said...

oh, jane. i would gladly face alligators in the pool over bed bugs anyday!!

i can speak volumes on this subject, but fortunately, NOT FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE!! (i am knocking wood as we speak.)

bedbugs are a nightmare in and of themselves. i think you have shared some good info here as far as looking for telltale signs.

they are, indeed, horrible publicity. even though bedbugs do not in any way imply that your hotel is "not clean," that is the automatic assumption. the fact is, bedbugs are teriffic hitchhikers, and can easily relocate to an unsuspecting hotel via one unsuspecting traveler.

every time a major news program runs a story about these pests, the number of reported sightings skyrockets. all major hotel chains have standard operating procedures for how to deal with a suspected incidence of bedbugs. and, yes, that should include moving you and your belongings immediately.

my request to travelers is: do a check when you first get to your room (no reason to wait until right before bedtime!) if you suspect there is an issue, contact the front desk and/or manager immediately.

next time, i hope to weigh in on something more pleasant. like a friendly debate between dunkin' donuts and krispy kreme on the breakfast buffet...

Neighbor Jane Payne said...

Oh Lelly, thank you very much.

My vote is a plain Krispy Kreme, though I am no donut connoisseur.

Kathy said...

So what your saying is....that if my husband wants to buy a fifth wheel travel camper for our retirement, I should let him!

Seriously....ARG!!!! Thanks for the tip. I WILL be checking.

My grandmother had to move her little family a few times and she would take out all the base boards and trim if she had the slightest doubt about there being any kind of bugs.

Speaking of traveling bugs, one time one of my husband's tax clients came with a brief case of files and out filed cock roaches! Several varieties. They scattered so fast! I called Bishops pest controll so fast. I didn't care what it cost! ARG!

Tiffany Fackrell said...

I stayed in a motel with bed bugs once. I woke up with my eyes swollen shut and the bottom of my feet were there dessert. It was seriously awful. I must of gotten the ones that hadn't eaten for a year because they went to town on me! It was in Nebraska...I was also left at a gas station in that state, to this day it is probably my least favorite state!

Jill said...

I have never heard the rest of the bed bugs nursery rhyme before, ew!

This is a nastily informative post that is making me glad I don't have plans for a hotel stay anytime soon. I don't understand how anything can live without eating for a year!

Marie said...

Ew, ew, ew.

I'm getting the willies.

Alisa said...

I have to confess that as much as I like to get away and go places, sleeping anywhere other than my own bed kind of icks me out.

And the donuts:
krispy kreme glazed
or dunkin' donuts cake

Heather @ Multiple Hats said...

Ewwwwwww. That's all I've got - just ewwwwwwwwww.

melanie said...

I like Lelly's purposed debate. But what really has me laughing about this disturbing post is this line.... 'evidently cooties are bad publicity'. Too funny Jane. Love that I'm laughing and shivering in disgust all from the same post.

Julie said...

I always thought people were just paranoid but then my friend stayed at a cabin in Norway and woke up with bugs all over her and her bed and yucky bites all over her! Gross. I'm a believer now. Thanks for the tip on how to spot them!

michelle said...

Well, I'm thoroughly creeped out now!

Barb said...

This is creepy information, but I may thank you for it one day, I suppose!

Anonymous said...

My mom taught us that the rest of the rhyme goes:

And if you see them on the wall, get a spoon and eat them all---YUM!

Bed bugs just plain creep me out so please refrain from bringing up such unpleasantness in the future.