Fire Down Below

September 16, 2007 by
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic 

A reader of New York Shitty, Astral resident and all-around very nice woman, Rowan, gave me her take on the bedbuggery going down there. She writes:

Personally, I haven’t experienced the bedbug problem (knock on wood!), but I also haven’t been living there that long – only since March 2007. I do see furniture and mattresses that are left out front with warnings about bug infestations, usually in front of 74, but that’s something you probably see, too.

This evening as I was walking to Casa Mon Amour something in front of the 74 India Street entrance of the Astral caught my eye

Bedbuggered Chair

I honestly didn’t know bedbugs could (or would care to) infest such an item. What a pain in the ass (pun intended). Obviously I need to read Bedbuggers more thoroughly— and often.

Bedbuggered Panties

As should the person who saw fit to rummage through these bags of clothing placed precariously (and tellingly) close to the above-infested chair.

What’s that burning sensation you’re feeling down there? It’s Greenpoint!

Miss Heather

P.S.: I’d like to give the fine folks at Bedbugger a hearty helping of thanks on behalf of a good friend of mine who just discovered she has some unwanted roommates. She really enjoyed reading your site— she only wishes she didn’t have to. Nothing personal.


9 Comments on Fire Down Below

  1. al oof on Sun, 16th Sep 2007 10:25 am
  2. bedbugs will live whereever. and, they hibernate. and they can live in a kind of stasis after eating for like 8 months where they just sit in a crack somewhere. they even hang out in between floorboards.

    i wish there’d been all this bed bug support when i had bedbugs. i was so freaked out i seriously had anxiety attacks about it. which is ridiculous becuase basically they’re just like mosquitoes, except they can’t give you malaria or west nile virus. i thought they lived -in- the mattress, and creeped out to bite you and then went back in. i thought they were tiny. you know, i was imagining like an ant farm in the mattress. but they don’t live in the mattress apparently. and aren’t that small. it also didn’t help me that the only person i knew who worked for an exterminator said that half the time they wouldn’t spray insecticide, just water. awesome!

    and my super, in his infinite wisdom, wouldn’t do anything about them and said, ‘well maybe if you kept your apartment cleaner…’ as if bedbugs have interest in trash or something and not, you know, human blood.

  3. rowan on Mon, 17th Sep 2007 7:17 am
  4. aww, you made me blush!
    i saw that nasty pile of trash AND the chair and was just urrrgh…the astral is a cool building usually, just sometimes garbage days get a little nuts. i have seen tables and bookshelves with “bedbug signs” on them, too. i guess once they’re in, they’re in, as al oof says.

    i read, after discovering the presence of a few house centipedes, that these freaky-looking creatures LOVE to eat bedbugs. And roaches. And fleas. And flies. And lots of other pests that humans don’t want. i was spraying my centipedes but after i read this, i stopped. while i still have an exterminator come once a month, let me say that i have hardly seen any roaches or anything in my apartment. if the house centipedes are assisting, by all means i’m letting them! House centipedes do not cause any damage to clothing, books, papers, food, etc. They aren’t poisonous and they aren’t aggressive. They just look strange.

    hopefully we all stay bed-bug free

  5. nobugs on Mon, 17th Sep 2007 12:52 pm
  6. We love you, Miss Heather.

    And yes, House Centipedes love them some bed bugs.

    I hate to say this, I really do, but lots of people think they don’t have bed bugs, since they don’t see them, or get itchy red bite marks. But many, many people simply are not allergic–no itching, no marks. So even those who see and feel nothing should be very wary.

    I’d bet cash money that those bags of clothing came from an infested apartment. While you do not need to throw out clothing or most other things (and in fact, it’s a great way to spread bed bugs around your neighborhood and building!), many people do it when faced with all the washing and decluttering they need to do.

    Oh, and I love the Council of Trent happening right next door to me in G’point. You should get your clergy working on the bed bug issue. I know, I sound like a broken record. But we need tenants and landlords to learn about bed bugs, how to avoid picking them up, and how to get rid of them. Since the city doesn’t wish to warn people, social service agencies need to get on it.

    Please forgive my soapbox-rant.

  7. al oof on Mon, 17th Sep 2007 2:00 pm
  8. that is awesome about the centipedes, though i haven’t seen them in this apartment. we had them at my old place (where also we had bed bugs, but it was a really big apartment and it was directly above a furniture store that ‘refurbished’ mattresses. anyway, the first time i saw one it was like 3 or 4 inches long. we were so freaked out. but one of my roommates knew that they were harmless. maybe they should start importing them into the bed bug infested places.

  9. nobugs on Mon, 17th Sep 2007 5:57 pm
  10. al oof,

    Unfortunately, an entomologist told us that’s a bad idea. Angry house centipedes will sting you. It’s cool to let your natural population live, but you don’t want to be overrun by house centipedes. 🙂

  11. missheather on Mon, 17th Sep 2007 6:52 pm
  12. Here’s an email I got today from a friend of mine…

    I was writing the whole story and then realized I should just post the story part on the blog.

    Here’s what I want to say to you.

    The government fact sheets say it’s unlikely you can pick up bed bugs on your clothes just by visiting a location– and that most of the time they travel by crawling into luggage. However, they can also be in books, on furniture, in curtains, etc.

    Since you work in a second-hand store, you might want to bring some garbage bags with you to work. If you bring a purse, a jacket, or a bag to work with you, put it in your garbage bag and tie it off at the top–tight. Do not use twist ties.

    Since you like to pick stuff up in second hand stores and off the street etc, — and since there is now an epidemic in NYC – I’m going to advise you that if you pick up anything second hand–ANYTHING–seal it in a plastic garbage bag until you can treat it.

    If you pick up a book, seal it in plastic, and later, take it outside and go through each page looking for bugs, exoskeletons, or egg slime. Look in the cracks closely. EVERY PAGE. Some of the bloggers say you should vaccum every page, but since the eggs ARE visible to the naked eye, I think a simple inspection will suffice. The bloggers even say that you should wipe things off with alcohol, like curling irons or jewelry. I think maybe these people have been pushed over the edge by their troubles. If you pick up some earrings at your job, you are going to notice if they have slime on them. But I guess if you want you can swab them in alcohol before putting them in your purse.

    If you pick up any second hand clothing, do not bring it into the house until you can wash it in hot water, and then dry it on hot. Dry it until it’s bone dry then add at least 10 minutes. (The bloggers all say bone dry plus 20 but I think they’re being excessive.)

    So there you have it. My basic story is this: I have no signs of an actual infestation that I’ve found so far. But I havne’t done the deep cleaning yet. It took me this long to gather the information and develop a plan. I have a plan now. I’m going to go buy a vaccuum as soon as I walk the dog.

  13. nobugs on Mon, 17th Sep 2007 9:45 pm
  14. Miss Heather,
    Your friend’s advice is good.
    I recommend the Ziploc XL bags, which are huge zipper bags–resealable. That way, you can keep one at work for your bag, and another for “finds.”

  15. al oof on Mon, 17th Sep 2007 11:18 pm
  16. your friend’s letter just totally freaked me out.

  17. rowan on Tue, 18th Sep 2007 8:02 am
  18. Nobugs is right. House centipedes sting like a bee sting, if cornered. (Usually they run for the nearest crevice in the wall or floor.) Meaning it isn’t extremely poisonous but it hurts. If you are someone who experiences anaphylactic (sp?) or allergic reactions to bee and other insect stings, it could also be dangerous for you. I was happy to let the one or two that I found go about their business but I wouldn’t want an infestation nor do I want to encourage more to move in.

    I’m crossing my fingers re: bedbugs! I haven’t experienced bites or rashes, so I have no idea if I’m non-allergic or just lucky! Also haven’t seen any evidence of them in the house, as mentioned by fact sheets. Though I’ll keep in mind about the extra drying time when next doing my laundry.

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