“Good night. Sleep tight. Don’t let the bedbugs bite.”
Whoever uttered that rhyme must have been all too familiar with bedbug attack and infestation. These tiny, itchy, bitchy (most feeders/biters are female) parasitic anthropods of Family Cimicidae can turn a perfectly normal person into a manic zombie overnight.
We can’t murder the person who has brought these sleep-wrecking creatures, but we can probably kill the myths about bedbugs. Weed out the lies about bedbugs to enlighten the search for solutions – if there’s any.
Myth # 1: Bedbugs don’t sleep.
They do sleep during daytime. These creatures are nocturnal – alive, awake and alert at night while dead asleep in the morning till sunset. Should I get a graveyard shift call center job to avoid them? Or should I hire a guard to watch any crawling red brown pest while I’m fast asleep?
Myth #2: Bedbugs rest only in dirty places.
If my room has bedbugs, does it mean I’m messy? Wrong. When I lived in Payatas, a slum area, there was not a time I’d complained about being nibbled by bedbugs. Could it be geographical? I prefer not to answer where bedbugs come from until I get to live a bug’s life. I just know that they stick where they cannot be seen.
Myth #3: Bedbugs can be exterminated by insecticides.
Even corporations attempting to bedbug-proof buildings and apartments never fully succeed. These parasites tend to be insecticide-resilient. Bedbugs could live even without feeding on blood for a year. They easily fool pest controllers that they are completely gone after fumigation but they could be just taking a vacation. If pest controllers’ methods didn’t work, how much hope can you put on plain insecticide spray and bedbugs powder?
Myth #4: Bedbugs don’t attack when the room is freezing cold.
False. Bedbugs can survive in freezing temperature up to 45 degree celsius. I just told Ate Sha this morning that we should drive to the desert and put our beddings under the scorching sunlight. Or perhaps turn on a heater (if there’s one) to 46 degrees. Humans attract bedbugs with their CO2 exhalation, heat and certain chemicals -the room’s temperature cannot separate these devoted parasites from their favorite host.
Myth #5: Bedbugs transmit diseases.
In all fairness to bedbugs, they’re obliged to feed on blood. Feeding on blood (hematophagy) is just their way to survive. Begbug bite scratchers can take comfort that these bitchy insects don’t transmit any disease. For others, the bites could lead to serious skin infection. For me, its worst effects are emotional distress and sleeplessness.
Loads of cash and a Nobel prize await the first Nazi who can successfully exterminate these cryptic, vexing, nonpaying tenants from the face of the earth.