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And don’t let the bed-bugs bite!

YUCKY!

That saying comes from the 1700s, when mattresses were made of straw and other “natural” fibers and were held in place on cords or ropes stretched across a bedframe and pulled tight.

I learned this at the Stonewall Jackson House in Lexington, VA on a tour years ago.

With box springs, platforms, and water-beds, sleeping tight isn’t a problem.

But bed bugs are.

Especially in Ohio.

And this, just before I leave for my 40th High School Reunion.  Go Spartans!

We never heard of anyone having bed bugs when we were kids, but now, the problem is a pretty big deal.

No one can figure out why Ohio is such a hot bed of Cimex lectularius, but the problem is so bad in Cincinnati that people have taken to sleeping in the streets!

Cincinnati actually created a Bedbug Remediation Commission in 2007.  Many other local and national governments around the world have as well.  But, the city is trying to mobilize strategies to control infestations of the pesky insects, which can hide in almost any crack or crevice (Oh My Cow) and can go a year or more without eating.

All the sudden I’m jealous of them!

The Ohio Department of Agriculture has mounted an unusual and politically incorrect response to the crisis.  The Buckeye State petitioned the EPA for an exemption to allow in-home use of propoxur, a pesticide and neurotoxin banned in the 1990s out of concern for its effects on children.

The little buggers feed on human blood.  Spray me NOW!

Of course the EPA said no, but a pow-wow is planned with the CDC, EPA and DOD.  Seriously, The Department of Defense! 

“We are hopeful that the outcome of this meeting provides a solution,” says Ohio agriculture secretary Robert Boggs. “Quite frankly, something needs to happen, and it needs to happen quickly.”

No kidding, Bob?

And don’t think about dragging out your hidden stash of DDT.  The little critters developed a resistance to it 30 or 40 years ago.  And if propoxur is used, they’ll learn to live with that too.

And we thought the cockroach would out last us!

They don’t transmit disease according to all the experts, (Note to US:  get new experts), but they can be harmful to the mental health of humans. 

Again, no kidding, Bob.

Of course the ever helpful EPA has come UP with some handy-dandy advice.  They recommend reducing clutter, sealing cracks and crevices, vacuuming often, drying infested clothes at high heat and using a special mattress cover.  Travelers should inspect hotel mattresses, box springs and headboards for the pests and things like streaks of their droppings. 

Or, buy a camper!

Dini Miller, an entomologist at Virginia Tech and the state’s urban-pest-management specialist says, “We are looking at what we did a hundred years ago.  We need to develop an individual consciousness, like we had then. You should think twice about leaving your purse on a seat in the movie theater and storing your kids’ college furniture in the basement when they come home. We need to be conscious that anybody from a group-living situation may come back with bedbugs.”  Here’s a thought, new mattress, new sheets, new family!  And hey, what about bathing?

I guess I’ll be sleeping in the car while I’m in Ohio!  Oh, what the heck, I’m itching already!

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