Ruth's Diary

2/8/2014 bed somehow got infested by bed bugs.

I really don't know what's more embarrassing: the fact that I had allowed the bed bugs to remain for so long? The fact that I didn't realise those pink lumps were bed bug bites? The fact that I had thought they were an urban myth of some sort?

I mean, while Colours was on, I did see some pink lumps appear on my arms and feet. And when I had changed the bedding, I saw some bugs crawling over the mattress and one on the wall. I'm not bothered by creepy-crawlies in the house so I shrugged it off. I only really started feeling any alarm when I woke up each morning to discover bloodstains and bug corpses littering my bed. It's not pleasant! I had the strange feeling I was committing mass-murder every night (sort of true). So a few days ago, after putting 2+2 together I looked up bed bugs before going to work, finding that the pictures were a perfect match to the bugs I was seeing. Now when checking how to get rid of them...well...I felt I would need help for this. I'll get to that in a minute. Suffice to say, I have been losing sleep the last few nights since while reading in bed, and even while trying to go to sleep, I'm too aware of the gentle tickling of the critters on my skin. And of course I wake up with more bites and bloodstains.

This week, Vlasta has been visiting her children in Brno and my new flatmate hasn't moved in yet, so apart from those times when Petr had entered the flat for sleep and recuperation, I've been on my own. Petr entered the flat yesterday evening and I explained to him the problem. He took it as a gravely serious problem, which amuses me on some level since bed bugs aren't necessary known for being hazardous to your health. But I also found it reassuring since Petr is the kind of person who, once acknowledging a problem, resolves to fix it.

Last night, I slept on the sofa (and what a comfortable sofa it is, too), this morning, we took on the blatantly 2-man job of dismantling and inspecting the bed. See, general advice about removing bed bugs is to check the bed for anywhere they could be nesting. My bed is very old so not easy to check. The easy bit was the bed linen: completely removed and shoved into the washing machine. Then came the mattress. Then came the 3-bit under-mattress (which I think Petr has dumped in the skip, since those bits have disappeared) and then the wooden panelling underneath, which attaches to the metal bed-frame. Lifting one of these panels revealed a massive congregation of these bugs - these things have been living right where I sleep! So the bed components were put on our balcony and vacuumed and washed down. Meanwhile, Petr removed some floor pannelling, where my bed stands, to reveal a smaller congregation of bed bugs (most of them dead). So the vacuum cleaner was brought in to suck them all away and then almost all windows opened while the area was densely sprayed with bug spray. Meanwhile I took the vacuum cleaner to give my beanbag a long overdue clean.

Judging by the numbers, Petr figured they have been festering here for about 2-3 months. Considering that bed bugs arrive anywhere through any mundane reason, this coincides with when the windows were being replaced. So builders brought them in! Great.

Now, the problem with the metallic bed frame, is that there are a lot of holes in it, providing plenty of home and hiding spaces for the bed bugs. Since today was a hot, sunny day, Petr decided to leave the frame on the balcony and have the heat force the bugs out of the frame. It was pretty effective as more critters were crawling up and down it in a matter of hours. I was too happy to shoot them with spray. Eventually bugs and bug corpses were littering the balcony and covering the mattress next to the frame. So the vacuum cleaner was brought out to clean the mess and the mattress dismantled and cleaned. Now, several hours later, the metal frame is standing in my room. Just to be safe, the bed remains dismantled and I'll sleep on the sofa again. What we're currently doing with the frame is watching it, seeing if any more bugs appear. So far, only 2/3 small ones have appeared, but that was hours ago. We're cautiously optimistic we got them all.

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