How to kill bedbugs with your bare hands*

I know a family recently transplanted from Brooklyn. They gave me a tour of their new house down the street. “And this,” they said, “is the shed where we keep all of our stuff from New York.” Their many boxes of books and clothes and sheets had been relegated to a utility shed in the backyard where they held forth with a lawn mower and a broke-down stove. My friends’ personal belongings would have to remain there for a year because that’s how long bedbug eggs can live. I slowly backed away from the shed. These critters crawl out of your mattress at night, anesthetize you, then suck your blood. They destroy relationships, couches, and peace of mind. I did not want them anywhere near me. This guy, on the other hand, is crazy about them:

He took a glass jar swarming with thousands of hungry specimens of Cimex lectularius, better known as bedbugs. The small, roachy-looking bloodsuckers have been spreading through the nation’s homes and hotels at such a hyperventilated pace that by next year they are expected to displace cockroaches and termites as America’s leading domestic pest insect.

. . . . Mr. Sorkin pushed up his shirt sleeve and pressed the mesh end of the jar against the inside of his right arm. Roused to a frenzy by the twin cues of heat and carbon dioxide that “in evolution equal host,” said Mr. Sorkin, the insects scrambled toward the lid, thrust out their stylets and began to feed. For a good 10 minutes, Mr. Sorkin sat there with the proud placidity of a donor at a blood bank. He did not budge. He held the jar. He let the bedbugs bite.

“I can hardly feel it,” he said matter-of-factly, “and they do need to eat.”

You know what else needs to eat? Flesh-eating bacteria. But you don’t see me offering my leg below the knee. Zombies also get hungry. And tigers with rabies. Do you see what I’m getting at here? Have I made my point? Cannibals die if they don’t have a steady supply of brains.

My mom has already dealt with one of her children having a bedbug infestation and I feel like if it happens again she will be like one of those mothers during the Black Death, quarantining her sick children in the house and walking away forever. Those things are so hard to get rid of, at a certain point you just have to cut your losses. This goes for children as well as bedbugs, but at least children don’t suck your blood. Although my kids will because I’m going to have an affair with a vampire bat.

*This blog title was written purely with web traffic in mind. Sorry if I misled you. Good luck with your bedbugs.

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