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Don’t Let the Bedbugs Bite – Part 20

 Okay, we’ve already established in Part 1 that bed bugs are creepy, blood-sucking little bastards that sneak into your house via luggage or the random piece of reclaimed street furniture.  We have also determined that for some reason, these same disgusting creatures are of particular interest to blog readers lately. 

The scary thing is that since the mid-1990s, bed bug cases have been increasing.

But how harmful are they?  Can you really get some sort of nasty plague from them?

While bites from bed bugs are extremely irritating, the little critters don’t seem to carry any sort of disease.  It is possible to get a rash from their bites, however.  An antibiotic cream should keep it from getting infected and reduce the urge to scratch.

So . . . if you find your home invaded by the micro-sized vampires, how do you get rid of them?

A turpentine/henna combination was used in the 18th century to repel bed bugs.  In the 19th century, methods evolved to include tobacco, cannabis (yeah –  a bunch of stoned bugs with the munchies . . .  I dunno if I’m good with that idea), and black pepper.

Cedar wood oil can be spread around a bed to keep the little suckers away—and is also a good treatment for bug bites.

You can also tackle them physically by returning the “suck” in the form of a steam cleaner.  But you have to be diligent about this, or they’ll rise from the grave like the little devils they are.

The problem with these repellents (aside from the legal issues surrounding cannabis here in the States) is that they only cover specific areas of infestation.  To be really effective, you have to resort to saturation bombing of the entire house.

And that requires calling in the professionals.  Which, as a FIYer, I am generally opposed to.  It’s pretty easy (though tedious and annoying) to bug bomb your house.  But, it is still possible that you’re not going to be thorough enough.

So this is one of those cases where you just gotta suck it up and take a hit in the wallet.  Or throw out your bed and your couches, remove all of your paintings and wall sockets, and hope you’ve bought enough cans of toxic bug fog to wipe out the mini-mites from every nook and cranny.

If you take this option, it may not hurt to have holy water and a cross as well.

by John Barker

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