Bed Bugs and Mass Murder

by Homeless T

2017-04-25.  Homeless T caters to readers in search of offbeat news: covert ops, secret pictures, startling facts, sexy gossip, and other prurient horseshit. The present 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 sapiens domesticus v Cimex lectularius Linnaeus, a/k/a Mankind v Bed-Bugs. It is an endless conflict that we're losing.

Cimex lectularius Linnaeus
magnified 5X
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. 

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

Early bites, easily
mistaken for a rash.
Cimex lectularius Linnaeus far surpasses that snails' pace in a single day, although they do not compose sonnets, but sneak up and produce bites upon unwitting hosts. One scientist has proposed a solution to bed bugs' overwhelming population growth: mass produce enough minuscule 
typewriters to keep the tiny blood-suckers distracted with literature. As of yet that solution has not been implemented due to the bugs' preference for composing music. Consequently, the Environmental Protection Agency is actively seeking a buyer for some 15 million tiny typewriters.

Interestingly, people age 65 and older never develop symptoms or signs due to the pest's bite. Nutritionists theorize this may be due to oldsters' tired blood, and recommend a vitamin supplement to restore youthful appeal to seniors wanting to feel young again. But enough hard science! 

Let's review the history of a motel suite that drove management and clients squeamish with a technology-defiant series of bed bug outbreaks that drew a live maid into mano-a-mano battle the with bugs. Homeless T, a vegetarian (and gladiator for humankind in this case), formerly opposed mass-murder of any type. In the case of Cimex lectularius Linnaeus he reluctantly made an exception. By way of apologia, he reminds himself and readers, "bed-bugs are unattractive. The sneaky little blood-suckers will drain you dry of your necessary hemoglobin if given the chance. It may be a sin to kill them, and we may have to defend our actions come the Judgment Day. I pray the judge isn't some kind of bed-bug."
Order in the Court!

The creatures feed exclusively on blood--your blood if they can get it, or that of any warm-blooded creature, such as the Federal Prisoners recruited by the Environmental Protection Agency for their experiments. 

What follows is the brief chronicle of how those highly intelligent insects tripped up a better-educated and experienced cockroach eradication consultant--me, Homeless T, legally known as Homer Lester Teabury.

Billy Joe June was one of a handful of longer-term guests whom I had grown to consider 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. 

At the Ruby Roof Motel in Idaho, 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 some of the bites were bloody. O hell, I knew what they were. flea bites.

Ankle Bone (enlarged)
There was no way they could be anything else, for the Bridal Suite had been heat-treated seven months earlier, and we baked the premises infested with bed bugs with sufficient heat to melt the plastic blinds, in addition to saturating the suite with pesticide designed specifically for bed bugs, and guaranteed to remain potent for ten years. I had declared with my usual expertise that the suite was therefore good for at least ten years of bug-free honeymooning. 

No, Billy June's bites could not be from bedbugs. I had "killed [the] bugs dead," as the Nobel-laureate poet who wrote the immortal Raid slogan so redundantly phrased it.

As I examined Billy June's pathetic ankles, a thought struck me. Hadn't Billy been caring for his neighbor's dog in that very suite several weeks earlier? The pedigreed dog Diogee, spelled "d-o-g," had been romping on Billy June's heart-shaped 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.

I reasoned that Diogee must have left behind fleas in the bridal suite when she was returned to her mistress. With their usual host missing, 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 authoritative note, we smoked a dooby.

As we smoked, I could mentally 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 massaging Diogee with his bare feet. Fleas like beer too, and the little carnivores were probably having a beer-fest just from Billy's blood-alcohol content. I put that worry to rest for a second time.

Billy Joe June is the kind of man 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.

After a couple of weeks he had a singularly bad night, and while sleepwalking, he claimed, tore the sheets off of his bed and pitched them into the motel laundry, because the fleas wouldn't let him sleep despite his extreme inebriation. They were biting his arms now. He rolled up his sleeves. These were like no flea bites I'd ever seen. The truth hit me like an overstuffed sack of garbage: theses bite were either the work of bed bugs, or we had an outbreak of the Bubonic Plague on our hands. I was both bewildered and outraged.

It had taken, what?--only nine measly months, not ten years, for the few surviving bugs of our last extermination to regain their numbers and come back in full force for revenge. A dozen new generations at minimum of the blood-suckers had come home to their old alma mater. Contributing to their unimpeded repatriation was that Billy June got sufficiently intoxicated each evening to pass out, invariably providing a comatose, all-you-can-eat blood buffet for them. 

I felt guilty as a hound-dog caught raiding a cat house, because my boss had instructed me to watch very carefully for any evidence of infestation. He had placed bed-bug warning traps under Billy's bed. I pulled one out and it looked like a night club. Standing-room only for bugs awaiting their turn to feed.
This is not a soft-shell taco. Look closely at the meat.
Fleas, hell! It was the worst infestation of bed-bugs I had ever seen. Even a skilled professional like myself will sometimes err.

Bed bugs meet the Elite
When bed-bugs come to your million-dollar home--and they will, you may rest assured--their first invasion will be more of an advance bedbug party, sneaking in and scouting for first positions within your home. When one of them is finally seen and identified, how they got into your home will become a hotly debated topic. They didn't just waltz in here by themselves will be heard, followed by more hysterical conjecture. More often than not, a houseguest with questionable habits of hygiene gets the blame.
Don't Blame Your Bedbugs on Me!
This is wrong. Even the wealthiest of households is not immune to the infestation strategies of these tiny predators. Although not widely known, the White House fights a never-ending battle to keep the bed bug population down. 

Sociologists point out that many an innocent derelict's reputation has been ruined by dreadful accusations. The versatile bed-bug has been observed traveling in human circles of all socioeconomic types. They may hitch a ride on a bum's trouser cuff, sure, but just as often the will check in to palatial homes on luggage returning from from the finest of hotels--clinging to $2,000 sets of Gucci owned by travelers of distinction. Or snug in the seams of a $5,000 Armani suit. I once saw a bed bug of high distinction disembarking a Rolls Royce, clinging comfortably on Madame's tiara, no doubt sated on blue blood.

Consequently, the bugs' presence in your home has little or nothing to do with social class, the cleanliness of the dwelling, or the seediness of 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, mink stoles, dirty laundry, or heaps of whatever--piled on a bed, slid beneath it, or heaped on a closet floor--all constitute helpful clutter.

Even if only temporarily so located, piled up fabrics offer shelter and assure eventual 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 snuggled in the unmentionables of the very best people.