The following dialogue takes place over the course of the two hours following the discovery of these little boogers in my bed during my cleaning binge last week.
On the phone the first time with hubbie at work:
TBF: I think we have bed bugs.
TBF: I think-
H: I heard you, but, oh my god. Okay. Um. How many did you find? In the bed? What do they look like?
TBF: Hold on! I found three. One on top of the sheets and two on the mattress pad. They're small, round, dark brown and flat. But oddly enough, they're all dead.
H: Did you look around the edges of the mattress? Did you take the bed apart?
TBF: Yes and yes. Didn't find anything.
H: Okay, here's what you need to do. Get everything off the floor. Put all of our books in plastic bags-
TBF: Wait, why am I putting them in plastic bags?
H: I've had bed bugs before! They can get anywhere! Just do it!
TBF: ...Ooookay..... Well, I'll call the apartment company-
H: NO! Don't call the apartment company!
TBF: Woah. Why?
H: Because if they find them in other apartments then they'll blame us and we'll have to pay!
TBF: I don't think that's exactly how it wor-
H: Trust me on this!
TBF: I'm calling Rachel.
H: Okay. Oh my gosh. Fine. Sorry. I'm just freaking out here.
TBF: It'll be fine. Relax. I'll let you know when I find out more.
Intermission: Called my friends Rachel and Joliene who are both working on their PhD's in entomology. Left messages explaining the situation. Also called the Madison pest inspector office to see what our liability would be in terms of bed bugs. We're fine. Got started cleaning the bedroom (sans bagging up the books. I was not going to do that with 150 books.). Got to vacuuming and stopped.
30 minutes later on the phone for the second time with hubbie at work:
TBF: Sorry to tell you this but I found more.
H: How many more?
TBF: Ten. All in the carpet. All dead. I'm thinking two things: one, that they might be escapees if another apartment got treated for them near us, and two, that we need to call the apartment company.
H: Oh my god. Okay. Oh my god. <freaking out continues> (For the record, I don't blame him for doing this. He got bed bugs several years ago after lots of hotel traveling. He ended up taking apart his bed, opening the windows to his room in the middle of winter and closing the door. He slept on the couch for a week while freezing the bedbugs to death. This is not an option in August.)
Intermission: Called the apartment company and spent the next half hour talking with landlords and trying to email a photo of the bugs in.
30 minutes later on the phone with Rachel:
Rachel: Okay, Lauren, what do the bugs look like?
TBF: Tiny, brown, round, flat.
Rachel: How flat exactly? And how small? Like how many millimeters across?
Rachel: That's it. I'm coming over. I'll be there in about ten minutes.
10 minutes later:
Rachel: And these are all the ones you collected? And you didn't find any live ones?
TBF: Nope. That's it. ...Rachel, is that a pipette with alcohol?
Rachel: (Whips out her magnifying glass necklace and a tweezers.) How else am I going to get these back to the lab? I'm going to run some tests. I'll get back to you in a bit. (Dashes out the door. I'm speechless and pretty impressed at the moment.)
Intermission: Spent the next half hour telling my landlords that I had someone on it and that it was not yet necessary to have a pest control guy come out to put C02 traps in my apartment.
20 minutes later on the phone with Rachel:
Rachel: Lauren, are you part plant?
TBF: Not that I'm aware of.
Rachel: Do you have plants in your bedroom or possibly sleep with them?
TBF: No on the first one, and what-are-you-getting-at on the second one.
Rachel: You've got common cydnidae.
TBF: Ah, yes. Oh course! What are those?
Rachel: They're plant bugs that eat leaves. That would explain why you have no bites and why they're dead. What have you guys been doing in bed?
TBF: Damn! You've discovered our secret herb and ivy fetish. I knew we couldn't hide it forever. I guess it's time to finally take our stashes of collars, whips and hydrangeas out of the closet.
Rachel: Hah! Well, however they got in there it's no problem now.
5 minutes later on the phone with hubbie for probably the tenth time that day:
TBF: I am a moron.
I'm actually not too much of a moron. Cynidae and bed bugs are in closely related families of bugs. Should any of you also enjoy bedding down with plants (Seriously, we never did figure this out. I have one succulent in the office and that's it. Must have been something we picked up on our clothes somewhere.), here's what the two look like:
In my defense, I'd never seen a bed bug before and I did find them in my bed and bedroom. And telling the difference between them when they're all dead is tougher. Still. I felt kinda dumb.
Kudos to all you entomologists out there. And to all of those who carry pipettes and magnifying glass necklaces with you. You impress the rest of us with science.