The war on bed bugs

I’ve blogged about this before, and after this, I hope never to again. But here’s hoping you’ll find my experiences both amusing and useful.


Bed bugs, as it turns out, are a fairly new epidemic. It’s not clear what caused the increase in attacks, but as they seem most common in industrialised and highly populated areas, the theory goes that they’re a result of increased globalisation, over-use of insecticides, increased resistance to insecticides, and stuff like that. Makes sense… you almost never get them in South Africa, and when you do, it’s usually from someone who’s been to the USA or Europe.

After my first attempt to kill the bed bugs, which I’m 90% sure I picked up at the Days Inn on my first and second nights, I had a common response called “delusional something-or-other” in which you constantly hallucinate bed bugs. But unfortunately, I wasn’t hallucinating at all. When I compared my bit situation to a photo of the origonal attack, and noticed new bites, then googled, I realised my mistake. Bed bugs a) are not killed by ant poison, which for some reason is sold everywhere. I can’t grasp why anyone would want to kill an ant, even after living in Durban for four years. Bed bugs b) Breed fast, so the ones I picked up had laid eggs all over my clothing, luggage and car while still alive. Though the bugs were dead from the hot laundering, the eggs could still survive here and there – and did, to hatch dozens of hungry insect baby vampires into my hotel room and car. Female bed bugs lay 4-5 eggs a day. c) They can live for up to a year – A YEAR – without eating, but prefer to eat every 4 days or so. So leaving the room just means they’ll follow you in search of food or wait for you to show up again.

This time, I took no chances. I didn’t drive my car – instead I walked to get poison, trying the pet shop first, then the pharmacy (anti-histamines help with the itching, much more than topical cream does, FYI) and finally, about 2 miles and some blisters later, arriving at Home Depot. They sell both spray and fogger for bed bugs and fleas. It’s called Hot Shot. I sprayed my car, fogged my motel room, and took my laundry to a new laundromat (too embarrassing to go back to one of the other two again!). I washed it on hot and dried it all for at least 40 minutes, also on hot. This time, I stuck my teddy bear and other things that really shouldn’t be laundered in too. I sneaked round the back of a business park and put my backpack, which I’d been hoping to save, in a dumpster (after dousing it in poison spray – I don’t want these thing to spread).  I sprayed the car again and again, also with Hot Shot. My shoes, which can’t be washed, are sealed in a bag full of poison, and I’ll re-spray them in a day or two to ensure death of any hatchlings.


The internet wasn't working. Seems neither was the TV - I preferred my previous laundry, which had really good mexican food next door, and three TVs playing General Hospital, which is hilarious. I think they must have a tearstick budget of about $100,000 an episode

By 4pm it was done. I had the shakes from inhaling poison and was about $100 ligher, but this time, it seems to have worked. In 3 days, I need to fog and launder again, to kill any surviving eggs. I’ll also fog my new apartment before I move in. And perhaps again in a week… just to be safe.

5 Responses to “The war on bed bugs”

  1. Clive_Ho Says:

    crumbs, at least you have won the war, the first of many I am sure a far distant way from sunny SA.
    Nice One 🙂

  2. Mexico – it’s just down the road from the roach motel « Jean Barker's Sign Language Says:

    […] UPDATE – It didn’t work. Read about my ongoing War on Bedbugs in a later post. […]

  3. Secret agents in my bed – the making of the video « Jean Barker's Sign Language Says:

    […] appear. Have fun!” I didn’t have a clue what to do, so I was extremely relieved when my attack by vicious bed bugs on arrival in California resulted in an idea for a video… an idea that probably required not […]

  4. From here to here and back again « Jean Barker's Sign Language Says:

    […] the say, to wash all my clothes to eradicate a bed bug infestation – before I realised I had throw away my luggage, strip naked, and disfigure my teddy bear too in order to get rid of the damn …. Those were some of the loneliest days of my life, those first days in […]

  5. Caleb Nadeau Says:

    For the most part, antihistamines are safe. Having said that, antihistamines can have side effects which, if the antihistamine is not properly administered, can be serious. The truth is, all medications have side effects. Some are mild, as in the case of an aspirin, unless you have stomach ulcers or aspirin sensitivity and others are more serious such as the side effects from chemotherapy, but for the most part, antihistamine side effects are fairly mild. The newest antihistamines are probably about the safest medications that there are. But there are differences between the various antihistamines and their side effects.`

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