9/10/2022 ~ There was an odd bug in my home a few months back, not a kind I’d ever seen before. I usually don’t kill bugs, I prefer to take them outside. But this one, somehow, looked menacing and I squashed it with my flipflop. Surprise! Surprise! It bled red.

Turns out, I’m not the only one who hasn’t seen that kind of bug before. According to PestWorld, 84% of pest control professionals who are called in about bugs people have seen in their homes and believe to be fleas or cockroaches, find the bugs are really… Bed Bugs.

Cindy Mannes, vice president of public affairs for the National Pest Management Association, said, “We’re finding that while bed bugs remain a pervasive issue and the public is concerned, general awareness and knowledge about these pests is alarmingly low.”

Adding to the confusion, despite the fact a survey by the National Pest Management Association showed that 91% of bed bug reports come from single family homes, 89% from condos and apartments, and only 68% from hotels/motels, most bed bug articles I read blamed travel and lodgings away from home.

That left me scratching my head, and not just because of the bugs that were in my pillow or the fact their percentages add up to well over a hundred. You see, I’m housebound. I have balance issues from living in hydrogen sulfide years ago… long story. The point is, I don’t go out. So, obviously I didn’t bring the bed bugs in, because I don’t go out in the first place.

If I didn’t bring them in, where did they come from?

I think their origin explains why bed bugs are on the rise nationwide, and why there are more in single family homes than in less affluent residences, like apartments. And, I’m not happy about this!

You see, I found the bug that bled red, making me wonder if any bug besides mosquitoes leaves a red blot when squashed, a couple weeks after getting an Amazon dress, which is cute and I immediately wore.

I think Amazon is causing an increase in bed bugs, nationwide.

We google bed bugs and see the zillions of pictures of full grown ones, and have no clue about the tiny little ones that are all but invisible, that easily come into our homes in the happy making boxes from Amazon. Only not so happy making if Amazon isn’t taking steps to disinfect things that are sold after having been returned.

I loved Amazon and thought of Jeff Bezos as my hero for creating it. Before Amazon I had to pay people to go and shop for me who invariably bought things they thought I should buy, rather than what I’d specifically asked them to buy.

Anyway, the point is, I wrote to Jeff Bezos, thinking he’d want to know about the bed bugs:

“First: I ordered an Amazons Essentials, Prime Try Before You Buy, that was delivered in June. The dress is great and I’m wearing it now… BUT, it’s a bit worrying to think about who previously had the dress in their home… and what their home was like. About a month after its arrival I found some odd bugs in my house, not one of the kinds I’d ever seen before. Then a couple weeks ago I couldn’t sleep so went to try the massage chair I’d just ordered and found a bug on my flip flop. I took off the flip flop and banged it on the floor, then smashed the dislodged bug, which put a streak of blood on my floor.  I’d never seen a red blooded bug before, outside of mosquitos… Then, early yesterday morning I found a bug on the side of my mattress, which left blood when I smashed it. I could not go back to sleep, and hours later, having read tons of Amazon reviews of bed bug products and having seen pictures and videos, now knowing the bugs were bed bugs, I ordered two products.

I think you should discontinue Try Before You Buy or fumigate efficiently before resending an item. I say that because I live alone and don’t go out: I have very little balance due to nerve damage, and as a result am confined to my home, which is why I’m so thankful to be able to shop as if I were healthy and mobile. (You really are my hero!) Since I don’t go out, the question is, How did the bed bugs get in? The only thing I can think of is the dress. It could have been tried on by someone who didn’t like it and returned it after putting it down on their bed where there were bed bugs they may not even have known were there.”

A few weeks later I took a picture and wrote:

“Today, about 4:10 a.m., there was still a bed bug… I’ve sprayed and sprayed with BugMD from Amazon, and, like the bed bug in the picture, the spray kills what it lands on, unless it’s a fly, flies seem to be able to sleep it off. BugMD doesn’t seem to kill bed bugs if it isn’t sprayed directly on them. If it did, why would I still have bed bugs when I’ve repeatedly sprayed mattress, floor, baseboards, and washed everything over and over? I have no words, even with a Thesaurus, to tell you how depressing this is. (Yesterday there were three in case you’re thinking one isn’t bad.) 8/22 – Two more.”

I was surprised no one from Amazon got back to me and began tweeting to warn people. Then a woman from Amazon’s Executive Team called, and believing she’d take steps to alleviate the problem, I deleted my tweets.

But she didn’t call back the way she’d said she would. So, I began tweeting again, to warn people.

One of the things that’s so bad about the bed bugs, is the little ones. They are tiny. Look at the size of a period at the end of a sentence, they are half that big, if that. And, perhaps because they are so small, they bite more. My theory is that when they bite there’s immediate swelling, and that closes off the flow of blood, so they bite again. I think the adult bed bugs make large enough holes that the swelling doesn’t stop them from getting a good meal.

I have bites in groups of half a dozen, and more. Other bites are more singular. I think it’s unlikely the bugs get together for a dining fiesta, it’s more likely the groups of smaller bites result from immediate swelling. Anyway, that’s my theory.

Just so you know, they go on itching for a really long time. The picture above is at least a week after the earlier picture, and the bites are still visible, and Very Itchy.

In the picture at the top of the page you can see different sizes of bed bugs. To see the little ones, like on the cotton round, the flashlight on your cell phone is helps.

I reduced bed bug numbers by using diatomaceous earth. I wore a dust mask so I wouldn’t breath it, but I failed to protect my eyes and got a thing like a grain of rice, called a pterygium, on the white of my right eye from the dust. At first I thought the bugs had laid eggs in my eye. While I was glad it wasn’t that, it’s not fun to think the growth may not go away.

Another thing: a lot of people search google to see if bed bugs go into noses. The search results all say, “NO.” Or they say, “If they do, it’s so rare…”

But here’s the thing: I can feel them in my nose. I’ve swabbed the inside of my nose with alcohol, and pulled out little bodies. Also, when I “scrub” the inside of my nose with paper towel, I find them. See the picture below. Be aware, many are very very small.

It was really hard to get out. It was like it was clamped onto the inside of my nose.

When they’re crawling around in my nose they feel sort of like just before you sneeze, only creepy!

Gross, Gross, Gross!!!

Another thing is, just when you think you’ve killed them all, a new batch is likely to hatch. While bed bugs lay only one to five eggs a day, if the lady bed bug evades your efforts to kill her for 5 days, that could be another 25 bed bugs. After I saw the first couple of odd bugs, learned they were bed bugs, and started putting effort into killing them, I thought that totally they’d added up to 25, maybe a few more. I was foolishly ignorant, and oblivious of the likelihood of eggs and that the total I imagined was probably a hundred shy, if I knew about all the tiny, tiny ones.

It’s irritating that Amazon seems not very interested in sorting out this bed bug problem.

It’s been really expensive for me… not just buying stuff to kill the bed bugs, but all the stuff I had to replace, and all the extra Tide I had to buy to keep up with the constant washing.

And, then there’s the sleeplessness!

Jeff Bezos should be spending a billion on killing bed bugs, if he can afford to spend that much to make the Tolkien telly series!