Bedbugs: Worse Than A Thai Prison

This bed could ruin your life.

This bed could ruin your life.

Remember that 90s Claire Danes movie where two girls go on vacay and accidentally get trapped in a Thai prison and almost die? I’m pretty sure that was actually an allegory for bedbugs. Because much like the risk of wrongful imprisonment in a third world country, BBs can really mess with your passion for travel. I’m currently airbnb-hopping in a muggy climate, so this issue is relevant. I’ve had bedbugs twice—once ten years ago in a crumbling UES tenement, and more recently in a grown-up apartment in Santa Monica. The first time I solved the problem by moving to Atlanta (not recommended) and the second time I employed the following protocol:

Homeopathoholic Bedbug Protocol 

1. Confirm you actually have bedbugs and not fleas or eczema or some stupid detergent allergy. Comb your bedding for actual bugs or molted bed bug skin (yummy!) and put this in a plastic bag—then have a real live exterminator authenticate the sample. Also check the Bedbug Registry to see if you have probable cause.

2. If you really do have them, I’m sorry. That blows. Don’t have any friends over and don’t sleep outside your home. You are basically a LEPER.

3. Order Drione Dust (the jury’s still out on how toxic this solution is but you really have no choice) and pay for expedited shipping. When it arrives, use the bellows to deposit a thin layer of powder around the entire perimeter of your house, especially around the base of your bed. Leave this there for a month. You can read more about various BB dust options here.

4. Cancel your weekend plans and dry (you don’t necessarily need to wash) all you clothes and bedding.

5. Steam clothing/ bedding that can’t go in the dryer.

6. If you have carpet, yuck. Carpet is gross. Have this replaced with wood floors. Ok just kidding (sort of). Steam clean your carpet.

7. Use a vacuum attachment to vacuum your shoes and your luggage.

8. Don’t tell anyone about this. It’s your fault you slept in that dirty Four Seasons California King / moved across the country / tracked that shit in from the street. You should be ASHAMED.

In addition to this protocol there’s also a thing you can do if you’re traveling and suspect you’ve picked up BBs on the road: Before you get home, find a place that will freeze your luggage. My friend Brittany swears this works.