After sitting in a classroom for twelve hours these past two days, I can say I’ve been brought up to speed again with some of the strange and sometimes shocking things that have taken place in and around our State in regards to real estate transactions. One of the subjects discussed is the quiet, yet growing problem with bedbugs in the Midwest.
About ten years ago when flying back from New York, I happened to grab a newspaper before boarding and remember reading an extensive article on the growing problem with bedbugs on the East Coast. After reading it, I said to myself, “Well, if they’re on the East Coast, it’ll be just a matter of time before they spread thru-out the United States.” I know North Iowa has had reported cases for a few years now, but in speaking with a pest control person from another city not long ago, I was informed that we are just seeing the tip of the iceberg with the problems they’re creating. It almost makes you want to start scratching just thinking about it. The costs associated with getting rid of them is staggering when considering how many units there are in say a large apartment building. They are so small, they can easily migrate from one apartment to another without detection. If one apartment in a building has them, you can be sure they’re busy traveling to every corner of every unit contained. I understand there’s a new pesticide that’s been approved, but there’s still the problem of making sure all areas are sprayed. In that particular article I read some ten years ago, it spoke about the reasons for the rise in their population and coverage. Well, it’s all about globalization. We have people coming from the East who’re sometimes unknowingly carrying with them the little beasts in their luggage. What most don’t realize is they’re less of a nuisance with people who’ve developed a more genetic tolerance to their bites. The area on the body which is most sought after when looking for the best place to feed, is the frontal mid-section of our bodies. So when people who’ve been unknowingly bitten numerous times visit their family doctors, they’re oft times mis-diagnosed as having shingles or some other type of rash. Most know that when treating someone for the wrong reason creates all the more stress on the body. Since my grandmother used to tell many interesting stories while alive, she once told her story about dealing with bedbugs and body lice. Remember, back before the 1900’s, specific pesticides weren’t invented. She lived on a large working farm to where they had to hire transients to help with the work. Of course the women were the ones that had to do laundry along with other household chores.
You know why they had some of the most elegant and taller wrought iron beds in those times? They built them taller so the sheets wouldn’t touch their floors where the bedbugs were crawling about in search of hosts. The beds were of iron so one could place small tins of kerosene under each leg to create a barrier to keep them from crawling up the legs. They would make sure all of their sheets were tucked in tight just to make sure they couldn’t get through should one or two drop from papered ceilings. Remember the saying when being sent off to bed? “Good night, sleep tight, and don’t let the bedbugs bite.” The sleeping “tight” was to be sure you’d remain tightly tucked in. My speaking of bedbugs may sound a bit off worldly, but they’re here and their numbers are growing.