Wednesday, December 14, 2011

In case you were wondering

The most recent episode in the Bedbug War has proved inconclusive.

I finally scheduled an appointment with the bug sniffing dog late in November, but the first available appointment was December 8. So I spent two agonizing weeks waiting for my answers. December 8 came and went without the arrival of the bedbug dog, and I was finally informed at 5:00, after waiting 4 hours, that my inspector was sick and my appointment would have to be rescheduled for December 14. Another week. I believe my subsequent Facebook post sums up my feelings pretty well:

I have been waiting for 2 weeks for thing #3--an appointment that was supposed to be today between 1 and 3. Then when I call at 3:15 to find out why no one has come, I am told the technician is running late and it'll have to be between 4 and 5. Then I get a call at 5 to tell me that the technician is sick and can't come until next Wednesday. So he suddenly got sick between 3 and 5? Bet he just didn't feel like working late and decided to screw me over. If one more person flakes out on an appointment or takes over a week to do what should be done in a day, they will experience my wrath. And by wrath I mean hysterical crying.
Thing #1 was my car, which I dropped off for some recall service last Monday and have yet to receive back. Thing #2 was my doctor appointment, which has been rescheduled for tomorrow.

Today was the big day, and my inspector appeared very promptly shortly after nine, along with his rather excitable yellow dog. Not a bloodhound, for those of you who were wondering. More like a retriever of some sort.

This dog charged around the rooms of the house, sniffing and jumping and generally enjoying himself immensely. Unfortunately, what he did not do is pinpoint the location of any bedbugs. The inspector noticed he seemed to have extra interest in my bed, so he took some time to peel off some of the tape and inspect the cracks.

On one of the strips of tape, he found a dead second-stage nymph. I had a look at it. It was very small and had no identifiable legs or insect-like features of any sort. I was rather appalled, because those things could have been all over my room and I never would have noticed. It looked like a fleck of dust, really.

In the rest of the house, the dog turned up nothing. But the handler seemed to have a little trouble encouraging the dog to do a thorough inspection, as the dog seemed to prefer to charge around and enjoy himself.

In the end, the handler imparted some wisdom. I can no longer remember his exact words (And he told me his memory is bad because he spent some time in Iraq. I thought it would be impolitic to inform him that my memory is always like that, and I've never been near Iraq!) but the gist of it is as follows:

Normally in a situation where you have had bedbugs since August, you would be seeing more signs of them. Even if you've been doing self-treatment as we have, you should see some kind of evidence of the bugs' presence, as self-treatment is not particularly effective. His personal recommendation was to watch and wait, as he wouldn't want us to spend "bookoo amounts of money" (his exact words—I remember that much) on a problem that's not really there. It's probably not worth paying for extermination at this point.

I've been feeling pretty bug-free since putting down the diatomaceous earth around my bed, and I wouldn't mind living like that for the indefinite future, as long as I can put my clothes back in the closet. On the other hand, if a new person wants to move into the house, I will probably have to disclose my potential insect situation, which could make finding renters a bit of a challenge. I'll ask the landlord if he's willing to contribute some cash towards bedbug eradication. He says it's not his problem according to the terms of the lease, but it will be his problem if I move out and he wants someone else to move in. If I'm feeling brave and/or masochistic, I might remove my diatomaceous earth and see if the problem gets worse.

After the inspector left, I looked again at the nymph he had found taped to my bed frame. I looked at it again with my pocket microscope. I am fairly certain that it's just a splinter of wood.