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Monday, November 7, 2011

Battling bedbugs buck naked

By Tammy Keith (Arkansasonline)

— It’s an innocent little rhyme, and I’m sure I said it to my kids a few times when they were growing up.
“Goodnight; sleep tight; don’t let the bedbugs bite.”
Until last week, I never knew anyone whom a bedbug had actually bitten.
The parents of a friend of mine went on a trip to Virginia, and they stayed at a Tennessee hotel on the way back. That morning, my friend’s mother saw a bug meandering across her pillow, and she investigated. (This is a woman who takes her flashlight to hotels and inspects behind the headboard of the bed.) She looked under the mattress and found … bedbugs. She put some in a cup, and her husband took them downstairs to the front desk.
The clerk tried to tell him they were ticks. (As if that’s way better than bedbugs.)
My friend’s father, who has been a country boy all his life, told him in no uncertain terms that he knew what a tick looked like, and “that ain’t a tick.”
His wife had discovered a couple of bites on her by this time. She put some of the bugs in a plastic bag, stuck them in the cooler and brought them to Arkansas.
She informed the hotel manager she’d be calling back to see what kind of bugs his exterminator identified them as.
The couple came back to Faulkner County, feeling infested.
She knew they couldn’t take anything into their house. That meant the clothes they were wearing.
This woman called her daughter, my friend, laughing so hard she could barely talk. She and her husband were sitting in their driveway, waiting for it to get dark, so they could get nekkid and go into the house.
The plan was, when the sun went down, for dad to strip and go inside, put on clean clothes, and bring out a towel so Momma could strip.
Now, attractive as they are, neither of these people is a spring chicken. They are not accustomed, to my knowledge, to showing off their bodies in public. (I don’t know what they do in their own home.)
The report was that dad stripped down to his hearing aids and glasses, and streaked on into the house. He brought momma a towel, and she did the same.
“We live in a subdivision,” she told me. “I just hope they (the neighbors) weren’t home.”
They both took hot showers, and momma even dried herself with a blow dryer to kill the little suckers with heat.
A local exterminator told her they had to clean everything - luggage, clothes, the car.
I read online that bedbugs were mostly eradicated in the 1940s, but they had a resurgence in the 1990s. (An up close photo of the “skin-piercing mouth parts” is pretty gross.)
The article I read said bedbugs can cause skin rashes allergic symptoms and “psychological effects.”
I’d say that last one is a biggie.
“It was a nightmare,” the woman said.
I know one thing - I’ll be checking out the bed a little better the next time I go to a hotel, and that couple definitely will.
And their neighbors either missed - or got - a really good show out of the deal.

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