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August 10, 2010

The Sternly Wagging Finger of the Nanny State Strikes Again

Fear it:

On Wednesday afternoon, New York officials held a press conference to announce the city's concerted, coordinated, multi-agency crackdown on the ongoing problem of bedbug infestation. Christine Quinn, the speaker of the City Council, offered strong words for an itchy metropolis, the New York Times reported:

“To bedbugs in the city of New York,” Ms. Quinn shouted from the steps of City Hall, “Drop dead. Your days are over, they’re numbered, we’re not going to take it anymore, we’re sick and tired.”

Seriously, does this remind you of anything?
This, perhaps?
Or this? Or perhaps this?

If you're not already hysterical with laughter, there's more brilliance where that came from!

Beginning tomorrow, the city will send teams of bedbug-control officers door to door throughout the five boroughs, accompanied by bedbug-sniffing dogs, with fumigation teams following on their heels, and—

Oh, sorry, Speaker Quinn got me a little too exercised, and I made that whole plan up. What is the city really going to do about the bedbugs, according to today's declaration of war and its promise of "strong action"?

Recommendation 1.1: Take a proactive approach to public education and awareness.

Super! People should know things, first of all. Knowledge is power!

Recommendation 1.3: Launch and maintain an online Bed Bug Portal devoted to bed bug facts and resources.

Replace "bed bug" with "magazine" and this was Conde Nast's Internet strategy for 10 or 12 years. (It was not a good strategy.)

Recommendation 3.2: Develop integrated monitoring, tracking, and reporting tools.

Yes! Keep track of the bedbugs, so you can kill kill kill kill them!

Recommendation 3.3: Improve the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) bed bug infestation inspection protocols and code enforcement capacity.

Wait, that does not say "kill kill kill kill."

This time, they're serious. Really - they mean business. After all, if mere sternness doesn't do the trick, they can always get angry.

Posted by Cassandra at August 10, 2010 02:18 PM

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In more heartening news, "A new constitution will accelerate reforms... Reforms will bring more foreign investments into the country. The power to bring about change in Kenya rests with its people," Mr Biden said in his address to journalists.
However, the most telling part of the message was that the US was ready to use its sophisticated intelligence network to collect information on some key political leaders suspected to be saying 'Yes' during the day while at night they are in the 'No' camp.

Yup, take heart, kids. Team Obie considers the US so secure from jihadis that they can send intel assets overseas to ferret out thought crimes -- in Kenya.

Posted by: BillT at August 10, 2010 03:13 PM

This is all-purpose bureaucratese for any program:

Recommendation 1.1: Take a proactive approach to public education and awareness re ________.

Recommendation 1.3: Launch and maintain an online ___ Portal devoted to ____ facts and resources.

Recommendation 3.2: Develop integrated monitoring, tracking, and reporting tools for ___.

Recommendation 3.3: Improve the Department of ____ inspection protocols and code enforcement capacity.

Compare, for instance, the National Incident Management System (NIMS), which is a "structured framework used nationwide for both governmental and nongovermental agencies to respond to natural disasters and or terrorist attacks at the local, state, and federal levels of government." I had to sit through days of this crap re firefighting. It provides a "range of deliberate, critical tasks and activities necessary to build, sustain, and improve the operational capability to prevent, protect against, respond to, and recover from domestic incidents." It contains helpful advice such as the recommendation to establish goals and then implement them.

Oh, thank you! Up to now we had been showing up at fires and either standing around not taking any action, or just indulging in spasms of action not directed at any particular goal. Now, instead, we show up and say, "Hey, there's a fire. Suppose we were to put it out? What do you think, some water?" But gosh, you can print a lot of words using one of these systems.

Posted by: Texan99 at August 10, 2010 03:40 PM

Hehehehe. Just what I needed before leaving to give a ___ of _____ at the local VA.

Posted by: htom at August 10, 2010 03:45 PM

Bwahahaha...Bedbug portal. This means someone left it open, and they are pouring through. It must be closed!

Posted by: Cricket at August 10, 2010 04:29 PM

Have no fear, Mizz Cricket! Even as we speak (so to speak), there is a crack Team of Facilitators enroute to NYC to form a Study Group to recommend a timeline for the establishment of a Task Force to recommend a planning schedule to initiate a timed response by a Select Committee to nominate a Tiger Team which will hold regular and continuous media events to maintain public awareness of the Bedbug Website.

Meanwhile, throw more money at them.

Lots and lots of money...

Posted by: BillT at August 10, 2010 04:50 PM

Pretty soon, New York will have the most educated bedbugs in the country!

Posted by: Cousin Dave at August 10, 2010 05:15 PM

You are so funny! A coworker brought bed bugs back to her condo under suspicious circumstances and it took them two months and throwing out all the carpet and the bed to get rid of them. No words involved. Big hassle and expense. Only highly toxic sprays finally solved things in the end.

The whole thing is an unintinded consequence of anti-pesticide hysteria. It's possible to keep bugs out of a private, detached home that has no overnight visitors. But New York is a filthy, overcrowded, transient place that used to be kept half-way healthy and bug and rodent free by liberal dousing with bug spray and rodenticides. Talk is cheap.

Perhaps DDT? Tho don't let it anywhere near Pale Male and the other Red Tails (I am sentimental about bloodthirsty predatory birds)

Posted by: retriever at August 10, 2010 05:37 PM

You'll be laughing out the other side of your face, Mr. Bedbug, when I start looking for someone's ass to kick!

(Quick, send Joe Bident to find out whether bedbugs have faces and/or asses.)

Posted by: Don Quixo- xxx ooo at August 10, 2010 05:45 PM

Long ago, I used to think that Keith Laumer in writing the Jame Retief tales was indulging in hysterical hyperbole. Now that I'm older ... and more experienced, if not wiser ... I now recognize the bland reality of what he was writing. I shouldn't really be laughing (34b, indescribable relief at the woes of others), but really, is this a Groaci plot?

Posted by: htom at August 10, 2010 06:18 PM

Not just fear of pesticides, but also energy conservation in that hotels are not laundering everything in boiling water anymore. A relative of mine discovered that from a duvet cover at the Hotel Intercontinental in Prague several years ago. The rest of the bedding, and the bed and upholstered furnishings, were clean but the duvet cover was a carrier.

Posted by: LittleRed1 at August 10, 2010 07:06 PM

Not just fear of pesticides, but also energy conservation in that hotels are not laundering everything in boiling water anymore.

Yet one more example of the Law of Unintended Consequences. The greenies never, ever think anything all the way through...

Posted by: BillT at August 10, 2010 07:24 PM

the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) bed bug infestation inspection protocols

Just curious: is that one of the agencies that can enter (even by force) your abode without getting a warrant?

- - -
htom, thanks for that. brings back memories. KL was writing from actual experience, I think: wasn't he some sort of low-level Embassy staffer for a while?

Posted by: John A at August 10, 2010 08:02 PM


The bed bug explosion is more related to the loss of the means to exterminate them than the bugs themselves.
According to a joint statement on bed bug control from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the EPA, “Though the exact cause is not known, experts suspect the resurgence is associated with increased resistance of bed bugs to available pesticides…”
The reason we have seen a bed bug explosion is that the EPA has eliminated many of the pesticides that were formerly in use, creating the perfect storm, a growing resistance to those still registered for use.

Posted by: John A at August 10, 2010 08:26 PM

The spousal unit told me that Dengue fever is back in Fla.


Maybe if we talk sternly to the mosquitos they'll stop biting us?

Posted by: Mansquito at August 10, 2010 09:01 PM

Quick, bedbugs need a low income housing loan program, offered by Fannie Mae and backed by ACORn customer service and government moola.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 10, 2010 09:13 PM

The EPA. Turning environmental anti-human death cults into anti-human slavery cults. The future of moderation and compromise.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 10, 2010 09:14 PM

The Gaia cultists are such ninnies. The earth has herbs that repel and kill the nasties. Some of my alltime favorites; tea tree oil and lavender, with a hit of eucalyptus. Works on humans, pets and linens. No ticks, bedbugs, ants, roaches, moths, or other evils can stand against them.

Linens smell...yum.

Posted by: Cricket at August 11, 2010 12:43 AM

The spousal unit told me that Dengue fever is back in Fla.

Look for malaria to make a comeback, too. It was endemic in the US until we started a massive eradication program. We used to keep 'skeeters under control along the Jersey Shore by cutting channels through the tidal flats so they'd drain, but the NJDEP in the '80s -- under Lisa "Action" Jackson -- said it was "interfering with established wetlands" and ordered it stopped.

The shore communities then told their reps in the NJ Senate, "Slap the DEP down, or you're outta here in November, even if we have to elect a hamster."

Or words to that effect.

And the DEP had it's inspections and enforcement budget axed -- until October, when the 'skeeters would no longer be a major nuisance...

Posted by: BillT at August 11, 2010 06:39 AM

Elect a skeeter eater

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 11, 2010 07:45 AM

At this rate, polio will be back soon. I wonder if we still have the ability to build those iron lungs from the 1950s, or if we would have to import them from China now.

Posted by: Cousin Dave at August 11, 2010 10:54 AM

Dave, it is back. There was an outbreak in Minnesota two summers ago because several families did not have their children vaccinated and someone came to the community who had picked it up overseas.

Posted by: LittleRed1 at August 11, 2010 07:09 PM

Everything old, is new under the sun. The sun's old, btw.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 11, 2010 08:32 PM

A friend of mine used to work for a pest control company but went independent a few years ago. Two years ago bed bugs were 10% of his business. The year before they were 25%. This year they are 50%. He says that a good 10% of all hotel rooms, regardless of the quality of the hotel, are infested. If you frequent hotels you stand a good chance of bringing them home that way.

When he goes to a hotel he brings a few garbage bags. He inspects the room beforehand. If it passes inspection he then brings his luggage in. At the end of his stay his luggage goes in a plastic bag and his clothes, inside another plastic bag, goes inside the luggage. When he gets home the clothing bag goes directly into the wash (see below). The luggage stays in the plastic bag until the next time it's used.

He gets rid of bedbugs from an apartment in 3 visits spread out over 4 weeks. The intervals are to kill bugs that hatch out from eggs after a given treatment without giving them time enough to mature and start laying eggs. You have to spray in every single crack in the apartment/building. If you can catch the edge of a piece of paper in it, it's big enough for a bedbug.

As far as clothing, bedding, etc. goes, he says that bed bugs will survive a washing. It's the dryer that kills them. 120 degrees for an hour, 130 degrees for 20 minutes or 140 degrees for just enough time to get there. He recommends 140 degrees for 1/2 hour just to make sure.

Mattresses are too big to be washed and can't be penetrated by sprays. They can be enclosed by a cover that permits air to go through but is too tightly woven to permit bed bugs through. After a period of time everything in there dies, but I forget how long that is. Quite some time, not just a few weeks. There are some companies that have autoclaves big enough to put your mattress in.

We are having bedbug problems because we have a lot more people coming into this country from countries that do not maintain what Americans see as reasonable standards of hygiene.

Posted by: RonF at August 12, 2010 02:21 PM