Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Dear Family,

I HATE bugs. HATE them. all of 'em (here is where mom invokes the story of me and the snake - "ooh, a cute one!"). Snakes are ok, but bugs - man, do I hate bugs. When Marya lived here she was the designated bug-killer, but now that I'm on my own I have to bravely face the silverfish, cockroaches, waterbugs, what have you by myself. This (along with the rent and cost of living prices in the stratosphere), I had resigned myself to, is just the price you pay for living and doing business in New York City.

But this week I have come into contact with what seems like the worst possible bug on the entire planet. Well, at least in the city of New York.

If you ever see one of these:


Pictured above is the Cimex lectularius, commonly known as the BED BUG. This particular one was found on Monday night in my apartment, scurrying along the floor between the living room and the office. I almost died.

Luckily (?), I have seen friends go through the process of ridding a house of bed bugs. It is not easy, good family, not easy at all. Here's what you have to do:

1. Call exterminator. Very, very important. First, they come to "inspect" (today, between 12-2). If they determine that you have bed bugs, they will schedule treatment. This is why you capture the bug and put it in the plastic bag and store it in the freezer - so there's no waffling and hemming and hawing when the exterminator comes. Just spray the chemicals, man. Bring back DDT if you have to just get them the @#$% out of my apartment. Most likely THREE treatments over the course of the next 6-8 weeks will be necessary in order to catch them in all stages of their development. That means chemicals sprayed, evacuation of home for hours, careful maintenance and vigilant attention paid to pets to keep them away from said chemicals. Not to mention staying in your bed night after night, acting as a human sacrifice so that they have somewhere to "feed" while they come out to eat the chemicals and die. Yum.

2. Wash EVERYTHING. everything washable must be washed. Clothes, linens, towels, washclothes, curtains, pot holders, pillows, rugs. Anything made of fabric goes into the washing machine on hot, then to the dryer for an hour and a half. I spent the entire day at the laundromat. Literally.

3. Clean EVERYTHING. Take all your belongings out of all drawers, containers, out from under your bed, out from the tops of your closets. Vacuum all baseboards, cracks in floorboards (woo, wood floors!), drawers, backs of dressers, bottoms and cracks of couches, seams of mattresses. Mop it all. Every last piece of your apartment. I spent the entire night cleaning. Literally.

4. Once everything is clean, bag it up in sealed plastic bags and quarantine it all. Double bagged trash bags? check. Oversized ziploc bags? Check. Storage in bathtub? Check.

5. Pull all furniture away from wall, stack mattresses and box springs against wall, line up possibly infested items for spraying.

6. Feel sorry for self. Hope and pray and cross fingers that they'll be killed, aren't infested, aren't any indestructible eggs, and that they won't come back in 2 months after last treatment. Try not to freak out or feel like there are bugs crawling on you at every moment. Try to determine how you will host your out of town guest this week. Decide whether or not going to Boston to celebrate the 4th, as planned, is a good idea. Stay the f away from anyone else's apartment.

Here are some photos of the process for your viewing displeasure:

Baab, quarantined

Laundry, before.

Lou in a clean, disheveled, ready-for-exterminator house.

Stuff to be sprayed and empty drawers.

Bare bones bed. Freaked cat.

Laundry after.

Laundry after - quarantined in bathroom.

boy, do I hate new york right now.


Elisabeth F. said...

7. Make many mojitos at your neighbor's house. A crucial, crucial step. Thank god I went through this just 7 months ago and can instruct Molly on how to win friends, influence people and get rid of those hideous bugs.

Ben said...

oh, molly. I'm so sorry. I saw a cockroach today and had some serious ant colonies in the past few months, but nothing like that. ugh

Sam said...

Wow, that is terrible Mols. You know what I would have done? Moved. HA!

Dad said...

oh, that is so gross. I'm with Sam - the time has come to move to Omaha or Fresno or Fairbanks or SOMEWHERE!!

We are so sorry Mol.

bhkeuka said...

Mmmmm. I would say set fire to the place, then move.

ick,ly. ick, ick. I am so sorry, Molly. (I;m feeling kinda sorry for Maggie right now, too, huh?)

ugh, so bad.

love, mom