November 28, 2005

Bedbugs and the city


The NYT reports that "Bedbugs are back and spreading through New York City like a swarm of locusts on a lush field of wheat".  Supposedly bedbugs "were all but eradicated by DDT after World War II".

"It's becoming an epidemic," said Jeffrey Eisenberg, the owner of Pest Away Exterminating, an Upper West Side business that receives about 125 bedbug calls a week, compared with just a handful five years ago. "People are being tortured, and so am I. I spend half my day talking to hysterical people about bedbugs."

How did this all come about? 

  1. Well, as you know, America's problems are almost always caused by those sneaky immigrants coming to and fro as they will.  On a side note, haven't they ever heard of deodorant and a shower?
  2. Curbside shopping.  Come on.  Did you really think bringing that skanky thing into your home was a good idea?  Who does this?  Who brings nasty furniture inside from some unknown, too-lazy-and-cheap-to-dispose-of-it whacko who left who-knows-what kind of bodily fluids on it?
  3. Well-meaning mattress delivers unaware that cooties can jump.  Seriously, aren't new mattresses usually wrapped in plastic anyway?
  4. "Anyone who stays in a hotel, rich or poor, can bring them home in a suitcase," said Richard Kourbage. "Some of the best hotels in New York have them." Though I have no evidence of this, I reckon those hourly hotels would have a fair share more regular bedbug residents.

Unlike mice and roaches, which are abetted by filthy surroundings, bedbugs do just fine in a well-scrubbed home, although bedroom clutter gives them more places to hide and breed. When engorged with blood, they grow slightly plumper than the O on this page, although the nymphs, which appear almost translucent before their first meal, are not much bigger than the period at the end of this sentence.

Yum, yum.  I hope you were eating while you read those sentences.

"The modern bedbug is immune to hardware-store-variety insecticides, and setting off a cockroach bomb in the bedroom will only scatter them farther afield. And because they are active only at night, many people don't discover them until their population has grown into the hundreds, or even thousands."

Ooh, another comforting thought.  I hope Felix and 99 sleep very comfortably tonight.

Apparently, having bedbugs is less socially acceptable in New York than having rats and sexually transmitted diseases.  This is what makes me think reason #5 for why New York is being overcome by bedbugs has to do with its sexually promiscuous population.  Would anyone like to deny that?  Come on, the rest of America and the world has seen how New Yorkers have sex.

Posted by Michelle at 04:10 AM GMT

OK, that's it. I'm giving up my promiscuous lifestyle. Fear of disease couldn't stop me, nor the word of the Lord. But bedbugs - fuck me (or rather, don't), they'll do the trick

Posted by: murray on November 28, 2005 05:39 AM

I love how female bedbugs are called "nymphs".

Appropriate too, if nymphomaniacs are, as you suggest, their prime vehicle of spreading from bed to bed.

On a technical note, do bedbugs bite you and hold on to you, dropping off only when you hit the next bed? Are they that particular about it having to be a bed - not a sofa, say, or a rug?

It's rather sweet, really. I think we should all cultivate small colonies of the little critters, see how big we can get them to breed.

Posted by: Claude de Bigny on November 28, 2005 09:02 AM

Michelle - Once a trend hits the Times, you know it's over. Bed bugs will have been the trucker hat of the '05s.

Posted by: Gherimiah on November 28, 2005 09:52 PM

last winter i developped an unexplicable rash. it started as little bumps that looked like small mosquito bites, which i scratched at thinking they would go away. over the course of two weeks they spread all over my torso, back, arms and lower legs. they started off small then grew to be about the size of a nickel and got flaky and inflamed. i bombed my apartment, cleaned everything, and went to the dermatologist thinking they might be bed bug bites. after a biospy, it turned out i had eczema. i almost wished that it was bed bugs because that would have been easier to get rid of than the eczema.

Posted by: itchy and scratchy on November 28, 2005 10:58 PM

Or even better, an STD!

Posted by: michelle on November 28, 2005 11:10 PM

Here is the DEFINITIVE article on bedbugs [microlice] endemic to NYC, by Bryan Adrian

It is a thriller!

.... "Upon inspecting yet another major hospital, I met a couple of guys who were very busy scratching their entire body. Their scalps too! They had a skin parasite which was not visible to the naked eye. The physicians there insisted their malady was not scabies nor bedbugs [as reported in THE NEW YORKER in late April 2005] and told them it could only be an "imaginary illness." "There are no micro lice," they were told, with such hideous smirks stapled onto the faces it was as if what was also declared was "No nanobots too, Trekkies!"" [heard under spasms and hoots of derision] echoing the sentiment nowadays that nearly everything seems to bee connected to nanotechnology or the world wide electronic spiderweb. The physicians suggested sarcastically to the men (both chronically unemployed college honor roll grads, languages and humanities majors, who are both very willing to work, but cannot find even minimum wage jobs) because there are so many tens of millions of new immigrants in the US now stealing their jobs from them. If you aren't a recent immigrant, chances are slim for you, born here in America, to obtain a job, even if you are literally starving to death and would almost kill to have that job as a construction worker, plumber, cashier, farmhand, custodian, or car or drug dealer.

The hospital medical staff insinuated to the two unemployed men in question, who are both fluent in several languages, that they "go upstairs to the psychiatric ward, or better yet to Bellevue".

Weeks later I met up with these same two distracted men to follow up on their non-Bellevue progress. They told me they had spread this imaginary illness to at least a few dozen people already. They wanted to infest the physicians with their "imaginary" microlice, and then tell them that THEY were the "deranged psychotics" who needed "psychiatric evaluation." All three of us laughed, but not for long. The itching and aggravating tickles of thousands of micro-filamentous and hairy-legged critters dominated their every bodily sensation, and they repeated their paroxysm dance, as they scratched, suffering not unlike that of an epileptic. Despite the egregious and erroneous and incomplete medical diagnosis they had received, the examining physicians along with the hospital billed the men $515 each (which the City of New York will eventually end up coughing up). Nobody gained from this transaction except the hospitals, the doctors, and the micro-lice (and certainly many of the HMO investment insiders who play the strings of the hospital's financial portfolio, avoiding ERISA laws like a lively gypsy fiddle player.

Later, in the non-gentrified hinterlands of the Chelsea District, I met a woman who had been beaten so many times by her ex-husband that her nose had been broken four times. She could luckily afford reconstructive surgery each time, because, even though she was a single-mom, she was also a highly paid CPA. Even though no longer married, her former NBA ex-husband could visit their little daughter without preventative restrictions, upsetting the balance of the mother-daughter household, and both female psyches (and on occasion the mother's already scarred and tilted nose). She knew of no agency in the City yet that had helped her nor that had recommended to her a productive course of legal or protective action. Previous City Hall metro agency recommendations had actually brought her embarrassment, shame, and potential loss of employment, in the end. It's not only the homeless who suffer as a result of our pre-Neanderthal social services, it is every last one of us. Anyone can suffer. You could be next. Yes. You reading this article.

In Western Europe and Japan and even in Eastern Europe the people would be shocked to witness the extent of our callous lack of humanity towards our fellow citizens, especially from our government leadership, and the slim percentage of our tax revenues used for social safety nets, despite the incessant crowing of our more and more meaningless media and press, touting our BOOM ECONOMY, and that we are the "richest nation on Earth" while we spend nearly all our tax money on military subcontractors worldwide, in particular in Afghanistan and Iraq. What kind of boast is this?

Many homeless people have a horrible diet because they eat whatever is cheapest, and most accessible. That means food that doesn't need cooking. Food with more chemicals in them to preserve their shelf life than exists in the combined warehouses of Proctor & Gamble, Union Carbide, Shell, Dupont, and Monsanto. Alcohol, not the lobbyists of the above, helps these poor souls to forget their despair and destitution. Twinkies, crackers, greasy potato chips, candy bars and cheap alcoholic beverages, such as Mad Dog 20-20, Irish Rose, or a 40 ounce bumper of Old English 800, without sufficient or supplementary nutrients, bring on a fierce systemic yeast infection called Candida Albicans, which can take over any part of the body having a soft mucous lining. Especially vulnerable: intestines, stomach, sinuses, eyes, vagina, anus, and lungs. It can cause exhaustion, diarrhea, flu, lack of mental clarity, depression, pneumonia, allergies, and death.

There is little acknowledgement of this illness by the American Medical Association, nor from the doctors it yearly manufactures in its factory-like training hospitals during the educational grind of earning an MD title. Even rich people, if prescribed too many inappropriate antibiotics by their physicians, get this same Candida Albicans. The broad spectrum antibiotics used indiscriminately for the last several decades, kill off vital, friendly, and symbiotic bacteria that live in our body, and replace them with a choking overpopulation of budding asexual yeasts, spores in a sense, such as Saccharomyces Ceres. It takes years to fully recover, rich or poor, and it is much work to re-harvest the indispensable intestinal colonies of the life-sustaining, mating bacteria. Most US doctors label this systemic yeast-spore illness "imaginary" also. Could it just be that arrogance and the profit motive have completely killed off reason in the medical profession, as surely as justice has been squeezed out by money in our American courts?

I caught up again with the guys with the nano-lice. They explained that they had learned that what was really their ailment was not lice but microscopic mites, on the same dimensional scale as our current nano-technology and the micro world of asexual fungal spores and unisex nematode bloodworms, which can only be seen with an electron microscope, colonizing your intestines or getting under your skin, the same way a pimp slips into a full length mink coat.

The taller of the two, Ross M., had done lots of research. He discovered that mouse, rat and pigeon mini-mites were endemic in parts of New York City. When abandoned buildings, or hotels, housing projects, apartment condominiums, subway tunnels, or trash dumps, are exterminated for rats, the Bdellonyssus bacoti mite or the Liponyssoides sanguineus nano-mite jumps from the dying or dead rodent, bat, or pigeon (flying rats) onto a human host/victim. They can bring or cause rickettsial pox and typhus fever. Much time and money needs to be spent to obtain a correct diagnosis when one is afflicted with these micro-mites. The baby nymphs and adults BOTH attack man, the nymph being even more troublesome. Both are microscopic. The current campaign in New York City to exterminate the crushing rat problem [the worse ever in New York history, paralleling the illegal immigration explosion, the biggest multi-waved immigration volume ever in the history of our nation] ... is also increasing the mite problem, because there is not much effort to collect and burn the dead rats.

The pesticide used by the Bloomberg Administration is also killing many curious Park Avenue dogs who lick up the pesticides like new doggie goodies.

The two homeless men had been to numerous emergency rooms, clinics, and city agencies begging for relief. They never found it. Finally, they found the answer at an old pest control business off of Times Square, where the kindly and wise old proprietor, Dave who has been in his business for decades, had guided them to the Handbook of Pest Control, 6th edition, and Elimite skin cream. He told them that environmental control was perhaps even more essential than bodily control. Carpets, bedding, clothing, even shoes, can serve as resting, breeding, feeding, and staging areas for the invisible blood suckers. He recommended silica aerogel and Lysol for environmental control, and Elimite lotion for corporeal control. Doctors seldom prescribe Elimite anymore today, perhaps because it is not pitched by the armies of pharmaceutical salesmen that guide doctors through the labyrinth of commercial and global pharmaceutical megalithic drug "products." Doctors in the U.S. today are apparently no more than desperate street hookers cowering under the fist of their pharmaceutical mulitinational pimps.

Elimite is produced from the permethrin 5% extract of various plants. Some say that the chrysanthemum flower that is grown in the deserts of Egypt, South Africa, and elsewhere for this purpose, is the best source. Still, many others find that these two geographical areas do not supply as rich a botanical source of natural insecticides, harmless to man but lethal to insects, as several plants in more densely forested areas. Plant hormones are the age old nemesis of crawling parasites on humans. Yet today, toxic and poisonous synthetic and polymerized substitutes are often prescribed (and rapidly becoming ineffective) because the vermin have become more and more resistant to the man-made (meaning often more profitable too) laboratory preparations (Lindane, Kwell, Eurax, etc.)

If our medical services bug you, in New York City, or across the USA, or if dreadfully inadequate distribution of tax moneys offends you, or if you are suffering from the symptoms of Candida Albicans or the mouse, rat, bat, or pigeon mite, please raise your voice, badger and bug your politicians, or write to Street News or to me, of your experience, or better yet, take the issue to the streets yourself and do something now, before the handcuffs and shackles of the 3rd Bush Family Administration makes every last one of us all mere food tidbits for the belly of the beast."

by Bryan Adrian

Posted by: Betty Bedbug on November 30, 2005 10:02 PM


I only had time to read the last two lines of your thorough contribution, where it says that the 3rd Bush administration is planning to make all of us "mere food titbits for the belly of the beast."

So you think there's actually a sinister plot behind these bedbug lads? Michelle and I thought they were just the signs of more casual sex in the US, but I must admit your theory has more "bite" to it! Well done!

Posted by: Claude de Bigny on December 1, 2005 12:32 PM

Betty writes: "what was really their ailment was not lice but microscopic mites, on the same dimensional scale as our current nano-technology and the micro world of asexual fungal spores and unisex nematode bloodworms, which can only be seen with an electron microscope, colonizing your intestines or getting under your skin, the same way a pimp slips into a full length mink coat."

Dear Betty! How sweetly apt thy simile!

Posted by: Claude de Bigny on December 1, 2005 09:06 PM

Michelle - Just a side note, my girlfriend is seeing cases of bed bugs in the elementary school she works at. Children are coming in with sores on their bodies. Oddly enough, it hasn't been in the kids from the projects. The sad fact is they don't have much recourse since unlike lice, the city hasn't dealt with this problem in years the only thing they can do is isolate the children.


Posted by: Gherimiah on December 13, 2005 02:00 PM