Monday, August 27, 2012

Don't let the bed bugs bite

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.
H: ...what?
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. 
H: Okay.

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?
TBF: Um...
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.


Nadine A. said...

Oh goodness. Well you had an interesting day to say the least. =P My first year of college I stayed in a house with 5 other girls. Two of the rooms with doubles and two were singles. First two weeks of school I was covered in bites and I had no idea why. Finally found bed bugs. How they managed to only be in my bed I have no idea but I was able to get rid of them and none of the other girls were affected. Go figure. =P

Isabelle Thornton said...

Omgosh. This is crazy!!!! Never had bed bugs. They better stay way from me.

Ceres said...

So glad you posted this story. Now if I find little bugs I will know who to call. I'll try not to lock myself out on my balcony first, though.

Anonymous said...

Oh no! That is not cool.
I know bed bugs have been in the news quite often lately. I've never had them in my living space, but I'm deathly afraid of bugs in my house, so I would definitely be going nuts if I found one...anywhere lol.

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Jake Alexander said...

Thank you for sharing your experience. I contracted bed bugs from a hotel I was staying in a few years ago. My body was so itchy and I could not get rid of them. Then a friend recommended I use Phantom Aerosol spray and it worked like a charm.

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