Sunday, August 21, 2016

Bed Bugs

Fucking bed bugs. For the third time since I've moved in here I've been blighted by the bastards, just like at the last place I lived in, albeit more frequently. There are fortunately two good things to be said for this particular pest: they're unobtrusive blood suckers who so far haven't indicated any tendency to transmit blood-born diseases — unlike those nasty mosquitoes — and they're nice and democratic — a plague on the houses of both princes and hovels of paupers. They're still fucking bugs, though; I wouldn't put up with spiders crawling over my face when I slept outside (avoid ivy!), nor will I suffer fruit flies buzzing my ears, roaches nibbling on my bagel dust, and bed bugs feasting on my hemoglobin whilst indoors.

Alas they're distressingly prevalent; I wonder how many people remember this wasn't a problem fifteen years ago. Your buddy can drop off a hitch-hiker while on a visit, you can pick up any number of them from clothing or bedding articles plucked off the street, and I've even heard of them crawling out of public library books! They can also be pretty persistent: they can lay dormant for months in pretty cold weather, their eggs are hard to kill (high heat is usually prescribed for clothing and bedding), and even though they tend to be lazy when well provisioned they're perfectly capable of foraging for food (i.e. from one apartment to another). Pest control is the only reliable way to exterminate them; rubbing alcohol kills the bugs but not the eggs, Pine Sol® may or may not kill eggs, I've heard of but not personally seen the effectiveness of powders ... in terms of controlling them yourself these measures probably only keep a problem from becoming an infestation. I will probably start baking library books in the damn oven for an hour, since I can't toss them in the dryer — lol at least not when using my friend's card.

I'm reasonably confident this most recent incursion was inadvertently introduced into my apartment by me picking up something from outside, though I don't know precisely what its vehicle was; I just know that the only person who's been over is someone who's place gets regularly inspected and cleaned. As a precaution I've decided to no longer include bottles and cans from the building garbage room in my gleanings. I'm also not picking up any clothing unless at the time I have a plastic bag to store them in and am willing to pony up the three dollars to wash and dry them that same day. It really is like you're besieged on all sides when you live in subsidized housing: as if market forces, ignoble cretins, the politically whimsical and byzantine protocols of government and social services bureaucracies, and lead paint weren't already enough!

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