Damn, Damn, Double Damn

May 2, 2009 at 8:55 am | Posted in News | 1 Comment

female-bedbugIt was just a matter of time before this happened, and now it has. Bedbugs, which were almost totally eradicated from the US after World War II but have made a resurgence in New York City and Chicago — thereby making life hell there for scavengers — are now in San Francisco too.

“San Francisco is experiencing a bedbug boom,” we read in today’s San Francisco Chronicle. “Dr. Johnson Ojo of the Department of Public Health said bedbugs are popping up everywhere, from ‘low-income housing to high-priced hotels.'”

And, it stands to reason, on soft furniture sold at yard sales and thrift shops and left out on curbs.

“It’s an all-out war on the tiny, creepy, blood-sucking predators. And the bugs are winning. Ojo has put together a citywide policy that covers all the basic steps: Hotel managers who learn of an infestation must immediately set up a pest-control spraying, and residents are encouraged to follow specific instruction on washing clothing and showering with hot water. Yet many who deal with the problem regularly think that current methods are no more than stopgap measures. Faced with a growing epidemic, the city needs to start thinking beyond the idea of squirting insect spray and hoping for the best….

“Bedbugs are everywhere….

“If you thought bedbugs were eradicated long ago, you are not alone. Arthur Slater, an entomologist who directed UC Berkeley’s pest management program from 1973 to 2001, said he hardly gave bedbugs a thought…. Slater said there are two major factors in the bedbug upsurge over the past 10 to 15 years. The first is cheaper air fares, which allow regular travel from countries where bedbugs had never been controlled. The second factor is complacency…. He is an advocate of a treatment where large heaters are brought into a sealed room and the temperature is raised to more than 120 degrees for 24 hours. That not only kills the bedbugs but also their eggs, which are the real problem in the bugs’ rapid growth.”

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  1. Small upholstered furnishings and mattresses can be solarized by wrapping and sealing in clear plastic. Get them out in the morning on a hot sunny day and repeat the next day (when it cools down, get them inside and open the plastic to avoid condensation damage).

    We got rid of bedbugs in our mattress by methodically steaming every seam using a flat nozzle. This will leave the mattress lightly moist, and should be done in the morning so it will dry by bedtime.

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