Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Sleep tight, Don't let the bed bugs bite

Remember that saying? I do but never had a clue what a bed bug was or if there were in fact, bed bugs. But alas, bed bugs are not the invention of the Brothers Grimm or Rod Serling, but real blood sucking creepy bugs that are damn hard to kill. As long as we are mentioning creepy icky bugs - there is the harmless ( except for allergies) dust mite. Then there are those friends of your clothes - the silverfish, moth and carpet beetle ( they love to eat those natural fibers).So what's the poor human to do when surrounded by all these creepy crawlers?

Let's start like the old horror movies - with the least scary first. Then we and the organ music will work our way up to the crescendo of terror - the Freddie Krueger of bugs - the bed bug! So silverfish,moths and carpet beetles - what to do? What to do? OK, they stink something awful and remind you of old ladies but the best deterrent is the good old fashioned moth ball. ( also good for the garden to keep away unwanted pests and the neighbors cat that uses your yard for a litter box)Yep, when putting away those summer or winter clothes a moth ball or two in the drawer or closet will keep away the bugs. But, then there is that smell and yes it is hard to get rid of that smell. So, while very effective it's very stinky ( unless you like that smell - but I have yet to meet the person who does). So let's say you want to protect your clothes and you want to use the moth ball - how do you get rid of the smell so you don't smell like your great -grandma? Expect to take about a month to fully get rid of the smell. DO NOT WASH THE CLOTHES. Yep, you read right - no water - water binds with the chemicals in moth balls and then it's stinko for way longer. HEAT!!!! If your clothes can take a hot iron - iron away. Then put the garment outside to air ( not too long at a time or the sun will bleach the item) and do this for about a month. Also, put a few pieces of charcoal in a metal pan and place in the drawer or closet. If the item is dry clean only or cool iron - ask your dry cleaner if they have an ozone room. About one week in the ozone room and then cleaning will remove the moth ball smell. So you are now thinking " uh too much work - maybe I'll let the little buggers dine on my clothes." No, No, Nannette ( only funny if you are into musicals) there are some other less offensive ( also less effective) remedies. These will work but not on every bug or all the time - but cedar and lavender are also good bug deterrents. You can use cedar planks, cedar bags, or cedar or lavender sachets.Remember, it is the oils in all these products that contain the smell - so don't let them actually touch your garments. But when pulling out your seasonal garments. just air for a few days and heck cedar and lavender actually smell nice.

(Inset organ music here) Yes, I'm asking you to imagine a loud Dum-dum -dum!!!! Dust mites, harmless yet creepy.Dust mites DO NOT CARRY DISEASES. They live primarily on dead skin cells regularly shed from human and their animal pets. OK - here's the obligatory warning - this part may be disturbing to some it contains descriptions of icky stuff!!!!!Beds are the primary habitat of dust mites. A typical mattress may have anywhere from 100,000 to 10 million mites inside.Ten percent of the weight of a two year old pillow can be composed of dead mites and their feces. ICK!!!! Mites prefer warm,moist surroundings like the inside of a mattress when someone is on it. Their favorite food - dander ( both yours and your doggies and kitties skin flakes). humans shed about 1/5 ounce of dander (dead skin) each week. about 80% of those little particles floating in sunbeams is ------not fairy dust but skin flakes. (inert EECK! EECK! EECK! here). So you folks with allergies may be allergic to the dust mites and the most potent allergy dust mite feces. GROSS!!! So what to do? What to do? Vacuum your carpets regularly. Steam clean those carpets annually. For those of you with allergies consider tile or wood flooring. take those throw rugs and area carpets to the cleaners. ( you really don't want that dust mite poo in your carpet) Get your comforters, bed spreads and bed linens cleaned at least twice a year.( if you are allergic to dust mites more monthly would be a good idea) Don't forget your drapes - yep even your drapes and curtains need an annual dust mite cleaning. wash your sheets and pillow cases in hot water. The water need to at 130-140 degrees. Most home hot water heaters are set at 12o - so you can raise the temperature of your hot water heater. Or you can bring me your sheets and pillowcases - we wash and press those sheets killing the mites. And you get freshly pressed sheets without the hassle of trying to figure out how to fold those idiotic fitted ones that usually end up in a giant sheet ball in your closet. So there ya go - No more Mitey Morphine Power Rangers.

And Now ( Insert the hair-raising scream from the beautiful blonde co-ed and Dum Dum Dum)bed bugs. While some folks may have considered Dracula sexy - the vampiric bed bug is just plain disgusting. No stake through their hearts will work and they don't freak out if your crucifix has no effect. These nasty bugs require professional help. CALL THE EXTERMINATOR!!!!! But here's some things you can do - never put new clothes directly into your closet. WHY? No matter what the label or price almost all clothes are from foreign countries - China, Indonesia,etc. These clothes may have bed bugs in them. So put your those clothes in the dryer for at least 20 minutes. The heat will kill the bed bugs and their eggs. If the clothes are dry clean only - clean them first. Make sure your cleaners is actually a dry cleaner and not a green cleaners using cold water. COLD WATER WILL NOT KILL BED BUGS. if you find yourself with a bed bug problem - seal your bedding and clothes in air proof bag. Let your dry cleaners know you have bed bugs on those items. They will require special care. Once again, hot water 140 degrees will kill those bed bugs. Sheets and pillow cases need to washed in HOT WATER. Bed Bugs are nasty and bad but you need net be embarrassed - just be careful with newly purchased items. And don't be too embarrassed to call an exterminator and tell your dry cleaner - that's our job.

SO, ( insert rainbow and happy survivors walking into the sunset with sappy violin music) no Love Bugs here, just the creepy kind. But with a few precautions you will survive the horror show and the bed bugs won't bite.

P.S. Since I totally creeped myself out - I decided to give you some help getting rid of those Jeepers Creepers - until Nov 9th - I'm giving you 25% off all household items. that's 25% off sheets and pillow cases, bedspreads, comforters, blankets, rugs and drapes. I couldn't just leave you there all grossed out. DUM DUM DUM!