Thursday, August 23, 2007

Bedbugs Don't Just Bite the Homeless

Bedbugs are democratic little creatures. An NPR story today makes clear that they could happen to you, not just to people who stay at homeless shelters.

You may have read Lance Cheslock's editorial and a vendor's accompanying testimonial in our current issue about being bitten by bedbugs at Franklin School Shelter. And you may have read in our July 15 issue how the residents at the Phyllis Wheatley YWCA complained of bedbugs in their rooms and managed to get city inspectors out to the property.

But in all fairness, bedbugs can be anywhere. According to this NPR story, they're making a comeback, hitching rides on suitcases or used furniture or nestling down into your mattress.

Exterminator Richard Kramer tells NPR he found one of the first new infestations in a Washington, D.C. hotel in 1998. "And ever since then, it's been exponentially increasing — that's the only way to describe it," Karmer said.

There is some good news: "Bedbugs aren't venomous, they don't spread dangerous disease, and they aren't linked to filth or moral decay," the story says. But Kramer agrees they're "creepy." "'They live in your bed,' he says. 'I mean, having your wife in your bed, your husband in your bed — but having your bedbug in your bed?'"

NPR's Jamie Rosen talked to Dini Miller, a pest management specialist at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., to get recommendations on how to keep bedbugs out. Random fact: apparently you can kill the bugs by freezing them for a week. Read her advice here.

(This post has been edited and originally quoted more extensively from the NPR story.)

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