Wednesday, June 17, 2009

creepie crawlies

back in december, i spent a week in a motel room paid for by a trucking company while attending their orientation and training. while in the room, i'd seen a creepie crawlie and casually flicked it away off the bed. i'm a big boy -- most buildings, especially older ones -- have a certain amount of critterage in them.

when i got home i broke out in an incredible number of bites, on the order of hundreds, all over my body. some googling for bug bites and pictures of what was affecting me produced a horrifying possibility: bed bugs.

as i read about them, i read that they're very hard to get rid of. they're tenacious, hide anywhere, and are not phased by the usual assortment of traps, fogs, and sprays. i myself am living proof that they can cause pretty bad allergic reactions; i have a body chemistry that has always attracted insect bites, and i get large welts from them.

but exactly what are they? some people i talked to thought that they're not real, that "don't let the bed bugs bite" is something to say to children. i learned that they're very real parasites that feed on sleeping humans. they dislike light, and are attracted to body heat and carbon dioxide (respiration). you can read more about them as you wish.

in any event, when i came back and realized what had happened, i turned my bed upside down and washed all my clothing that had gone to the motel; washed all the bed clothes that had been in my room; and then did it all again, and then i hoped for the best.

i stayed home for two and a half weeks and then packed off to live on the truck for a while. literally a few minutes before i left ... i found a bed bug in my bed. i showed it to my step-mom and she rewashed everything. all well and good, and she hoped for the best. despite my concern that it wouldn't get rid of them, she was content.

when i came back in late january, i started getting bites in very strange places. i do not normally mosquito get bites on, for example, my knuckles. as time has worn on, however, i've started getting them there, on the tops and soles of my feet, and so on. i get long streams of them -- 8 and 10 at a time -- down my sides, sometimes while sitting in a plush chair in front of my desk.

in the past couple of weeks, i've started to see blood smears on my sheets. these come from the wound when i'm bitten, of course, but if you don't realize what you're looking at, it could be anything from the blood of a popped zit to a scratch you didn't know you had.

earlier this week i thought i sighed a couple bugs, but i was unable to actually catch them. it turns out they can move pretty fast, and since they don't like the light, they make a beeline for dark spaces pretty quickly.

today, however, i managed to catch one. it was sitting on my pillow as i crawled into bed ... i was able to get back out of bed without disturbing it, and i managed to catch it in a zip lock bag. (because this first bag had a hole in it, i put it into another one, so the bug wouldn't escape through the hole.)

now the joy is telling my step-mom. she has an irrational reaction to vermin; she believes that if only things were clean enough, they wouldn't be a problem. which is fine for most kinds of critters, but bed bugs don't respond to cleaning, because they don't feed on cracker crumbs, cheese bits, and pieces of dropped hamburger. they feed on sleeping people. getting rid of the bed bugs requires getting rid of the sleeping people, which, in a bedroom, isn't particularly feasable.

so i've been holding off telling her my suspicions until i could actually verify them with direct evidence, like a bug in a bag. now i have one.

and oh how i'm not looking forward to her reaction.

i'm actually looking forward to her reaction less than i'm looking forward to turning my room upside down to treat them.

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