A Most Creepy Halloween Surprise

Published at 18:17 on 3 November 2014

At 2:30AM last Friday I awoke to use the bathroom. I had fallen asleep on the couch in the living room, as I often do. As I turned on the light, I noticed something crawling up the backrest of the couch. “It looks a lot like the pictures of bedbugs that I’ve seen”, I thought.

A quick check of Wikipedia confirmed the worst. Interestingly, the next morning I found the story of someone else who had a very similar experience.

I’m not pussyfooting around with home remedies, however. This discovery is one I’ve dreaded for a long time, because bed bugs have a reputation (doubtless very well-deserved) of being extremely difficult to get rid of. It’s one situation that the services of a professional exterminator are required.

I’m not that impressed that the exterminator chosen by my landlord has chosen to spray instead of use heat, which based on my research has a better record. A friend who battled the same problem (different source, she got hers from an infested neighbor’s apartment last spring) had good luck with this type of exterminator, however.

I may opt to pay to have a heat treatment done anyhow, just to be safe and help ensure a sure kill. I’m almost certainly going to pay to have all my belongings loaded onto a big moving truck and taken to Seattle to be fumigated. Again, just to be safe.

Like most port cities, Seattle has a firm that specializes is fumigating possibly infested goods by the truck-or-container-load. They gas the whole container at once, so there’s no worries about an infested container re-infesting your recently-sanitized possessions. People moving out of a bedbug-infested residence are but a small subset of those who need such a service; I spoke to one of their agents and it’s a completely routine job for them. They process dozens of loads an evening. No advance appointment needed. Time will tell if they’re as good as the rave review in this article.

What I dread most of all is this (a) taking months and months (with bed bugs, it sometimes does), and (b) taking “hitchhikers” with me and becoming into the new member of the HOA who brought the first-ever load of bed bugs into the building.

Realistically, though, the real horror stories typically start out with the victims either living in denial despite increasing signs of infestation, often trying various mostly ineffectual (or even outright counterproductive) home remedies. The professionals are only called after a several months, at which point they struggle for months to get a severe infestation wiped out.

Then again, it certainly didn’t help in my case that I’m one of the approximately 30% of people who do not have adverse reactions to bed bug bites. I never had an itchy welt at all despite being fed on regularly for at least a month. If I had, I would have probably suspected something was very wrong in my apartment a whole lot sooner.

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