Bed Bugs and Mass Murder



by The Man-Maid
Science!

2016-04-25 DoubleThink Publications caters to readers in search of off-beat news: covert ops, secret pictures, startling facts, sexy gossip, and other prurient horseshit. This piece is disgusting, but does not fit in any of those categories. Rather, it is a personal chronicle of one individual's obscure experience in humanity's longest-running war, Homo domesticus v Cimex lectularius Linnaeus, a/k/a Mankind v Bed-Bugs. It is an endless conflict that we're losing.
Bedbug (photo enlarged X10)
One US Environmental Protection Agency report has established that if forty bed-bugs are placed in a room with a mild temperature and unlimited supply of warm-blooded food, within six months their population will exceed 5,900 (cited at one reputable source). 

The bed-bugs' dizzying rate of reproduction leaves far behind another well-known mathematical conundrum. That is the theoretical projection often cited by English teachers, stating that it requires 1,000 monkeys on 1,000 typewriters typing non-stop for 1,000 years--just to reproduce a single Shakespeare sonnet. 

Cimex lectularius Linnaeus far surpasses that snails' pace in a single day, although they do not produce sonnets, but bites upon unwitting hosts. One scientist has proposed a solution to their aggressive population growth: to mass-produce typewriters minuscule enough to keep the tiny blood-suckers busy with literature. As of yet such the inspired solution has not been implemented.

Man Maid Warns:
Insecticide is mass-murder
.
Interestingly, people age 65 and over never develop symptoms or signs due to the pest's bite. But enough hard science! 

Let's view the history of a motel suite that drove clients squeamish with a continuing technology-defiant series of outbreaks that drew a live maid into battle the with bugs. The Man-Maid--the gladiator for humankind in this case, formerly opposed to mass-murder of any type--reminds himself and readers, "bed-bugs are unattractive. The sneaky little blood-suckers will drain you dry if given the chance. It may be a sin to kill them, and one must prepare to defend one's actions come the judgment day. Pray the judge isn't some kind of bed-bug."

If hard information and fewer funny tales is your thing, click here for the straight poop.

The creatures feed exclusively on blood--your blood if they can get it, or any warm-blooded feeding apparatus like those created by the Environmental Protection Agency for their experiments. 

What follows is a brief chronicle of how those rascals tripped up one the better-educated and experienced eradication consultant, me, The Man-Maid.


Billy Joe June was one of a handful of longer-term guests whom I had grown to consider as close personal friends--the best kind of people. They all worked for the same company, and treated me with a kindness unusual for a hotel maid. They were--and still are, wherever their company has sent them--top drawer people in my book. I hope they don't sue me if I post their pictures here.




Billy June had booked the bridal suite for an indefinite stay at the hotel, and never objected if I hung out at his place during my off-time. Great man. But one day, he drew my attention to rings of bites around his ankles. They looked liked he'd been scratching them fiercely, because the bites were bloody. O hell, I knew what it was. Fleas.

There was no way they could be anything else. His room had been treated seven months earlier, and we baked those bugs with heat enough to melt the plastic blinds, in addition to saturating it with pesticide designed for bed bugs and guaranteed to remain potent for ten years. I had declared with my usual unqualified expertise that the suite was good for at least ten years of bug-free living. No, those bites could not be from bedbugs. I had "killed bugs dead," as phrased by the Nobel-laureate poet who wrote the immortal Raid slogan.

D.O.G.
As I examined Billy June's pathetic ankles, a thought struck me. Hadn't Billy been caring for his neighbor's dog in his suite several weeks earlier? The dog, named Diogee, spelled "d-o-g" had been romping on his bed, shaking off fleas in all directions. Kind-hearted Billy June had probably given his bed to the dog and slept on the futon. Hmmm.


Man Maid reasoned that D.O.G. must have left behind a passel of fleas in the bridal suite when she was returned to her mistress. The abandoned fleas had jumped Billy for a bite to eat. But they must have been some bodacious fleas, because Billy's ankles were beginning to look like hamburger meat. Still, it had to be the fleas. Was I right? Or was I right? On that note, we smoked a dooby.

As we smoked one, I could actually envision care-free nature-boy Billy out there romping barefoot on the lawn, getting bitten by all kinds of tiny little critters, and probably happy to give them a meal too. Then coming in the house and rubbing Diogee on his feet. Fleas like beer too, and the little carnivores were probably having a beer-fest just from Billy's blood-alcohol content. They enjoy a drink too, so I put that worry to rest for a second time.

Billy Joe June is the kind of guy who never troubled anyone with his problems unless it was a matter of life and death. He didn't want to burden me with any little old flea problem. When I asked about it a few days later, he said his ankles was comin' along just fine, so I didn't let myself get overly concerned.

Anyway, after another couple of weeks he had a bad night, and while sleepwalking, he claimed, tore the sheets off of his bed and pitched them in the motel laundry, because those fleas wouldn't let him sleep. They were biting his arms now. Those were like no flea bites I'd ever seen. The truth hit me like an overfilled sack of garbage: these bite were either the work of bed bugs or we had an outbreak of the Bubonic Plague on our hands. 


It had taken what?--nine measly months for the few survivors of my last attack to regain their numbers and come back in full force for revenge. Now a dozen whole new generations of the blood-suckers had come home to their old alma mater. Part of the problem was that Billy got sufficiently inebriated each evening to provide a sort of comatose all-you-can-eat cafe for them.

I was guilty as a hound-dog caught raiding a chicken coop, because the boss had instructed me to watch very carefully for any evidence of infestation, and even placed bed-bug warning traps under Billy's bed. I pulled one out and it looked like a night club. Standing-room only for the bed bugs waiting for their turn to feed.

Fleas, hell. It was the worst infestation of bed-bugs I had ever seen. Even the skilled professional like myself will sometimes err.

SNEAK ATTACKS

When bed-bugs come to your house (and they will, in time) their first invasion will be more of an advance bedbug party, sneaking in and taking first positions within your home. How they get into the house will become a hotly debated topic. More often than not, a sleepover friend with questionable habits of hygiene gets the blame. This is wrong.

Authors point out that many an innocent slob's reputation has been ruined by such dreadful accusations, because the versatile bed-bug parasites have been observed traveling in human circles of all socioeconomic types. They may ride on a bum's trouser cuff, sure, but just as often arrive into palatial homes on luggage returning from from fine hotels--$2,000 sets of Gucci owned by travelers of distinction. Or clinging to the seam of a $5,000 Armani suit. I once saw one in a Roll Royce, riding comfortably on the driver's cap, no doubt full of blue blood.
Bed Bugs Are Found on Cruise Ships and in Five-Star Hotels
Consequently, the bugs' presence in your home has little or nothing to do with social class, the cleanliness of the dwelling, or your seedier friends and family members. So get off my back.

The one domestic habit that does assist them is the human propensity for creating mounds of clutter. Blankets, towels, dirty laundry, coats, or heaps of whatever--piled on a bed, slid beneath it, or heaped in a closet--all constitute clutter.

Even if only temporarily so located, they offer shelter and transportation for the bugs to advance deeper into your life. Bedbugs are expert travelers, and they don't limit themselves to cheap modes of transportation. You'll find them on luxury cruise ships, five-star hotels, and clinging to the luggage of the very best people.



To return to the multipost homepage, click here