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Monday, July 29, 2013


Be careful where you spend the night.

Travelers beware! If you're not careful, an innocent stay in a hotel/motel room, in any big city or any small town....could turn into a horror-filled, fright night straight out of a hair-raising Dracula tale. Vampire parasites. Blood sucking monsters. Malevolent creatures lusting for human blood. Ghastly red welts all over your body. And that's just while you're curled up in bed....under those pasty white motel sheets.

The fearsome culprits? Vampire Bedbugs! From the dank caves of our ancient ancestors to posh modern hotel rooms...this common parasitic insect has returned from a long hibernation to prey upon mankind with a blood-thirsty vengeance. What you don't see, can hurt you.

No doubt you've heard about the bedbug bedlam infesting hotels (upscale and otherwise), motels, apartment buildings, movie theaters, college dorms, airplanes, buses, office buildings, public libraries and hospitals. They've even been found at.....the Mall. (Cue high pitched screams) your favorite clothing stores. Noooooo!

Resurgence of the vicious vermin is partly due to an increase of international travel and the ban of DDT ....a chemical that virtually wiped out most bed bugs by the 1950s. An effective, highly toxic insecticide, DDT nearly  eradicated U.S. bedbugs back in the 1940s. But because of it's controversial components, DDT is banned for use in the United States. As a result, the insidious little bedbugs are scrambling back to their blood sucking glory days faster than a pack of crazed fans rushing the stage at a Justin Beiber concert.

For travelers, the bugs creep into luggage and backpacks and hitch-hike home with unsuspecting victims. Once bed bugs infest your home, they are notoriously difficult to remove. There has been such a rampant surge of bed bug infestations across the United States and around the world in recent years, that dogs are now being used to detect them. Bed-bug-busting canines are specially trained to sniff out infestations. Apparently the dogs can be highly effective.

Worst bed bug cities? In July 2013, Terminex issued its annual list of cities experiencing the largest increase in bed bug calls. Sacramento, CA, Milwaukee, Las Vegas and Columbus, Ohio were the unfortunate front runners. From New York to Los Angeles, Detroit to Denver and in thousands of places in between, bed bugs are stalking us. In 2012, Orkin pest control company said it did more business in Chicago than any other major city. According to Orkin, Chicago had the inglorious distinction of having the most treatments for bed bug infestations. I'm going to a reunion near Chicago very soon and staying at a hotel. I wonder if I should bring a bed-bug-buster dog with me.

My husband and I travel often and frequently stay at hotels and motels. I try not to get panicky about the blood-thirsty little monsters. But as a cautionary measure, once we're inside our room, before we even unpack, we ALWAYS pull up the mattress and inspect for brown, tell-tale, bed bug spots on the box spring, the top mattress, the sheets and pillowcases.  We never put our luggage on the floor. We try to keep our suitcases closed after we use them. So far, in all our limited inspections, we have not seen any bedbugs or their eggs. Yuck, I'm getting grossed out even as I write this. For the safety of those who travel: heed fair warning in your hotel room. The vampire bugs are waiting for you. Beware. Sleep tight and don't let the.....well, you know....

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JPTravis said...

Good news: cockroaches and centipedes are natural predators of bedbugs. Also some ants and venomous spiders. So when you go to Chicago, try to find a hotel full of cockroaches and centipedes. (Because of the goodness of my heart I am not charging you for this advice.)

Lori D said...

Yuck! I felt suddenly itchy all over while reading that post! HAHAHA!!

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