Kodi Arfer / Wisterwood

My Adventures with Bed Bugs that Turned out Not to be Real

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#001 | willis5225 | Sat 5 Oct 2013 @ 1:52:47 PM (UTC)
The story begins weeks ago, when my roommate was like "let's go to Taco Bell. We can finally get Doritos Locos Tacos like we keep trying to work up the nerve for." Sure enough we did not order those, because they're just intrinsically gross. I'm sure they're delicious, but how? How can you bring yourself to that? Anihoo, as I was ordering I noticed a beetle had leaped onto my calf.

Now I'm pretty pro-animal so I was prepared to let it hitch a ride, all the way back to my apartment, as it turns out. Of course upon arriving, I was surprised to see such a flight-capable little beasty still hanging out, at which point I looked closer and noticed that it was gorged on mammal blood. "Crap," I said to myself, running over to the kitchen sink, flicking it down the drain, and dousing my leg in rubbing alcohol a couple of times. "Crappity crap crap."

This has led to a great deal of anxiety about the appearance of that bed bug's ruinous offspring which went (for a while at least) mercifully unfulfilled. Then, about a week ago, I woke up with two pretty serious bug bites on my wrist. "Crap."

Now, a characteristic feature of bed bug attacks is that they'll bite several times in a straight line--referred to in the literature (by which I mean bedbugs.about.com) as "breakfast, lunch, and dinner"--but of course, this was only two. "Any two points define a line," I said to myself, so of course these two were in a straight line. This did not comfort me.

That night I awoke with an itch on my jaw, and of course I could sense phantom itches all over my body after that--apparently seeing the word *itch* in print is enough to make you itch, which I knew, and indeed in that instance the knowledge had a calmative effect. This was only one bite (not even enough to define a line) but of course I'd awoken in the night: What if I had merely interrupted the bedbug? I needed certainty.

I remembered reading about a method that Lifehacker recommended. They proposed constructing a detection-contraption powered by yeast fermenting white sugar, releasing carbon dioxide and mimicking a sleeping mammal. There's more to it--the contraption also contains a surface that the bugs are able to enter onto but not escape--but the description in the actual article (swiped from an equally nonsensical National Geographic piece) is rather deflating: They recommend getting a teacup and then dropping a liter and a half of sugar-water into it. Now I've seen liter-and-a-half brandy snifters, but never a teacup. That's just illiterate.

Eventually, I came across this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9YSUxwyL3c

Now the amazing feature of that video is that they only had one take, and the guy keeps talking himself into hilarious corners. He'll say something, realize that he probably shouldn't have, realize that he either doesn't want to or can't edit the video anyway, and finally just run with it. A lot of this happens when he starts talking about how this video is for poor people, then wonders whether he ought to be using a euphemism, but I encourage you to stick with the video, because there's a really great one later on that I don't want to spoil, but you can just hear him sigh and say "well, I've gone this far."

So my roommates come home to find me hard at work on the contraption (which is a bit of an arts and crafts project). One of them I know can handle the news because he's just not a fearful sort, while the other I know will be panicked by anxiety and want to burn the place down. (I should add that at this point I was blaming mosquitoes, but one does mess about with bed bugs, so I continued building the detector.) Luckily, the troublesome one possesses boundless contempt for me, and assumed the tumbler of yeast and sugar was "some stupid s**** [I was] doing."
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Willis, it seems like every other time you post, I need to look up a word that's in the OED or Urban Dictionary but not both.
-Mimir
#002 | willis5225 | Sat 5 Oct 2013 @ 2:10:30 PM (UTC)
(4080/4080)

Ahem.

The other came in, gave me an odd look, and demanded an explanation, which I was only too happy to furnish. I bring this up mostly because a few mornings on, he found me running iced coffee through a funnel and filter and fixed me with the same look, to which I could only say, "Come now, this is the least bizarre thing you've seen me doing with a funnel this week." He was forced to concede the point.

The first night, the detector did not detect anything (which would have been indicated by an asphyxiated bed bug or more), which was good, but of course it's a homebrewed/ing device based on terrible instructions and I was not yet prepared to rule out a false negative. I went and did laundry, washing my sheets (and my whites, 'cause "white" not?) in piping hot water, which I don't usually do and man let me tell you does that ever make a difference. Mostly it was just to murder eggs (bed bugs are apparently quite thermosensitive, and pesticides are actually less effective than the directed application of heat), but man that is good for cleaning sheets.

Anihoo, as I went to put them back on the bed, my heart sank as my eye caught a small brown thing moving erratically across my bare mattress. "Crap," I said once more before taking a closer look. You may perhaps imagine my relief upon discerning that it was not a bug at all, but a small brown leaping spider. "Hooray," I said, "it is but a spider in my bed. Wait."

Now again, I'm pretty pro-spider both as a general quasi-Buddhist principle and because spiders are our concerted allies against so many of the more annoying smallish creatures. (And I say this from my privileged position in a deciduous clime with strong winters, sparing us from the clock-spiders and those horrible coconut crabs that the Oceanians deal with.) But come on. "Hooray there's a spider in my bed"? It is the fulfillment of the old curse of living in interesting times, indeed.

Well, it's been three nights (the days don't count for much, as the bedbugs are nocturnal jerks), and nothing has turned up yet. I'm cautiously optimistic that I've seen the last (or rather the nothingth) of them. The detector should remain running for some few weeks, so I'm not going to remove it yet, but between my eight-legged allies and eukaryotic slave-race, I'm finally sleeping sound. Though that thing that I hope is a mosquito is still on the lam, but it will be dead soon.
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Willis, it seems like every other time you post, I need to look up a word that's in the OED or Urban Dictionary but not both.
-Mimir
#003 | Kodiologist | Sat 5 Oct 2013 @ 6:14:09 PM (UTC)
10/10, would get attacked by a blood-sucking arthropod at Taco Bell again.

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Real programmers can write Perl in any language.
#004 | ShadowSpy | Sun 6 Oct 2013 @ 3:40:48 AM (UTC)
10/10 This was a gripping tale.
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"I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific."
#005 | HeyDude | Mon 7 Oct 2013 @ 1:06:15 AM (UTC)
You know how in horror movies you see a guy make a bad decision and you can hardly be scared for him because you're too concerned with how you wouldn't have done that and this movie is so "Hollywood"? Man I could not get past the idea that instead of letting that bug ride you home, and instead of killing it, you could have just brushed it off of you.
#006 | LinkPrime1 | Mon 7 Oct 2013 @ 1:36:49 AM (UTC)
15/10 Would give Leonardo DiCaprio an Oscar for playing the part of "Wil"

Shockingly related, a friend of mine is chronicling the tales of ants being in his bed at a Holiday Inn on Facebook.
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Those must be the pants of the gods!-Digitalpython
#007 | Jacehan | Mon 7 Oct 2013 @ 2:25:26 AM (UTC)
I really appreciated your application of geometry in the story.
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