January 20, 2019

Winnipeg
-23° C, Clear

Full Forecast

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Opinion

Getting rid of bedbugs is a real head-scratcher

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 4/2/2011 (2906 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

"Good night, sleep tight,

Don't let the bedbugs bite.

Get the full story.
No credit card required. Cancel anytime.

Join free for 30 days

After that, pay as little as $0.99 per month for the best local news coverage in Manitoba.

 

Already a subscriber?

Log in

Join free for 30 days

 

Already a subscriber?

Log in

Subscribers Log in below to continue reading,
not a subscriber? Create an account to start a 30 day free trial.

Log in Create your account

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Mon to Sat Delivery

Pay

$34.36

per month

  • Includes all benefits of All Access Digital
  • 6-day delivery of our award-winning newspaper
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 4/2/2011 (2906 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

"Good night, sleep tight,

Don't let the bedbugs bite.

And if they do,

Then take your shoe

And knock 'em till

They're black and blue!"

— Variation on a nursery rhyme

I didn't hear Sam Katz rhyming off that little bedtime ditty during his state of the city speech Friday, but maybe he should have.

That same day, the Free Press reported the mayor had sent a letter to Premier Greg Selinger asking him to essentially solve Winnipeg's bedbug problem with an eradication strategy.

I'll translate: The city wants provincial money and if we don't get it, Selinger's government gets the blame every time a bedbug bites another voter.

The mayor's letter was prompted by a problem that's frustrating every big city in North America. Bedbugs are on the march.

Now, they're apparently hopping rides on Winnipeg Transit buses, even though they can't jump. Normally I'd suggest standing might help, except that one of the bugs' favourite modes of transportation is clothing, so all it takes is brushing by somebody and, oops, you've got a new roommate.

I know a family in the south end of the city that was infested by a home-care worker who lived in an apartment crawling with the critters. He unintentionally carried one or two in on something he was wearing.

Anyway, the mayor says he wants to work co-operatively with the premier to create a comprehensive strategy and eradicate bedbugs.

Well, if I may borrow one of the mayor's favourite phrases, I've got news for him and maybe even you. No one knows how to eradicate the bleeding bedbugs on a large scale. They're having trouble even killing them.

The New York Times reported last year South African researchers tried feeding the bugs AIDS-virus infected blood. The virus died instead.

Late last summer, when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a joint statement on bedbug control, there was no eradication plan, or even a comprehensive strategy.

"It was an acknowledgment that the problem is big," the Times reported.

Then this week, North America's foremost experts gathered in Washington, D.C., for a national bedbug summit. By the sounds of it, they left the same way they arrived — scratching their heads.

Hopefully that's all they were scratching.

A video from the bedbug summit, posted on the Washington Post website, had one entomologist summing it up this way: "There's no super bullet."

Another delegate did have some useful advice. Early detection can stop an infestation.

"Bedbug problems do not start with an army of bedbugs," he said. "They start with one or two bugs."

If you routinely look for them — in the crevices of your mattress or your bed backboard, for example — and promptly get rid of them, you won't have a problem, says he.

"So don't freak out."

That's easy for him to say.

Remember that family I mentioned infested by visits from a home-care worker? Before the bugs were detected, the elderly man he was looking after went into the hospital and died. A few months later, his widow began waking up with welts on her body.

She freaked out.

In the midst of mourning, she had to deal with bedbugs. She began waking up three or four times in the middle of the night and vacuuming her mattress and floors. She washed her sheets and clothes in hot water every day. She was afraid to leave the house and visit relatives because she couldn't be sure a bedbug hadn't hitched a ride.

Even with an exterminator's help, it took a year to eliminate the bloody bugs.

The stress was torturous.

What this battle of the bedbug comes down to is house-to-house combat.

If you see one, can you do something for that widow?

Take your shoe, and knock 'em till they're black and blue.

It may not kill them, but it'll make you and her feel better.

Sleep tight...

You know the rest.

gordon.sinclair@freepress.mb.ca

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective January 2015.

Advertisement

Advertise With Us