NEW YORK – Bedbugs in New York have formed a militia and are targeting CNN.
CNN has alerted all its employees about bed bugs that seem to be targeting CNN and their employees. The bed bugs were originally found in the Time Warner Center in New York City, but they have also been found in CNN offices in Atlanta and New York City.
Bed Bugs normally do not carry disease, but these bed bugs seem to affect news gathering, news reporting and news commentary. CNN has known of the problem for months, but they just released the information to the public.
Bed Bug attacks leave the victim babbling incoherently, searching for words and causing temporary brain seizures. The seizures supposedly cause temporary moron-itis.
For some reason, the bed bugs have not attacked Larry King at all. When asked what he thought about this, King said, “Hello, Milwaukee!”
The bed bug attack has baffled Pest Control Specialists. Tom Hillstrom, a bed bug exterminator told WWN, “I’ve never seen this before in my twenty years of killing pests. These bed bugs formed an army and are going right after CNN employees. Something ain’t right. But I’ll find out.” Hillstrom later entered CNN offices… and has not been seen since. Was he another victim of the Bed Bug Militia?
There’s rampant speculation that these are not just ordinary bed bugs. CNN president, Jon Klein, said “these are genetically engineered bed bugs, that also have a robotic component.” Asked how would create such pests, Klein simply answered, “Roger Ailes.”
After the disappearance of Jon Klein, the rest of CNN employees have join the chorus of voices blaming Fox News for the bed bug attack. “Ridiculous,” said Roger Ailes. “CNN is looking for any reason to explain away their terrible ratings. This bed bug conspiracy is a joke.” WWN did later find two boxes labeled, “BB Militia” in Ailes car. Ailes later said the BB stood for “Bill and Beck.”
Fox News has used other pests to take down CNN: Beck, Hannity and O’Reilly.
MSNBC employees are also blaming these bed bugs for their dismal ratings, though there have been no sightings of bed bugs in any MSNBC office, anywhere.
Anderson Cooper and Rick Sanchez are currently in the hospital with Bedbugoria. They are expected to be released in the next few days, and should be back to full strength, though CNN’s ratings may never fully recover.
6 Horrific Realities of Living With a Bedbug Infestation
As far as personal catastrophes go, a bedbug infestation sounds fairly minor. You might even wonder why it pops up in the headlines so often, alongside all of the real problems people have. Until, that is, it happens to you.
Then you find out how much of a nightmare it REALLY is.I did, when bedbugs infested my apartment. If your experience with bedbugs (which I sincerely hope you never have) is anything like mine and my wife’s, here’s what you have to look forward to …
#6. You Will Cover Yourself in Vaseline
Bedbugs are drawn inexorably toward any warm bodies, but since they can’t jump or fly, their mobility is actually pretty low. Vaseline may as well be quicksand for them, so a common survival tactic for the afflicted is to create isolated beds, using Vaseline the way you’d use garlic as a vampire repellent. You smear the stuff on the bed frame and the legs of the bed to create an impassible barrier (you can also try nesting the legs of your bed in bowls of baby powder — the little bastards get stuck in it). But what if the bedbugs are already in your bed, or places that can’t be roped off with rings of Vaseline?
You smear it on yourself, that’s what. And if you think you have too much dignity and self-respect to turn your body into a greasy insect trap, well, try living with bedbugs for a few months.
That’s because getting bedbugs is like being a fan of the Chicago Cubs: Even though you know the days ahead are going to be filled with suffering and misery, you still have to get up every day and live your life. For instance, I had an active nightlife (that is, I did frequent late-night World of Warcraft raids), and bedbugs love their midnight munchies. So any time I looked down, I’d see a platoon of bloodsuckers sprinting across my desk. And I don’t much like being bitten — the distraction was seriously hurting my damage per second.
Don Bayley/Photos.com That’s why the rival guild released the bugs in the first place.
So, I slathered my ankles, wrists, and arms with coating after coating of Vaseline until I resembled a glazed doughnut. And yes, it worked — the bugs would crawl up to me, try to feast on my delicious blood, and immediately get stuck. At the end of the night, I’d retire to the bathroom to scrape off the glaze — which was by now covered in bedbug sprinkles. I was the doughnut Satan would give as ironic punishment to a glutton.
And if you’re sitting out there judging my disgusting, insect-encrusted lifestyle, that’s also part of the delightful bedbug experience. Because …
#5. You Will Be Unfairly Judged
Before we go any further, let’s debunk some rumors:
First of all, bedbug infestations have nothing to do with how clean you are. Everything from my yuppie apartment building to the flagship Nike Store to the NYC Department of Health has had an outbreak — even multimillionaires like Howard Stern aren’t immune. Despite the best attempts to blame the bedbug problem on hippies, science has shown us that bedbugs are actually immune to DDT, so getting rid of it in the ’50s had nothing to do with their current resurgence. Heck, they don’t even only live in beds: They can infest everything from train seats to wallpaper to baseboards and even your alarm clock.
And no, getting rid of an infestation isn’t just a matter of calling your landlord to have somebody come over and spray — living with the little monsters doesn’t mean the person is lazy or OK with it (who the hell would be?). These things haven’t survived natural selection by being stupid — after we sprayed, the bedbugs just followed us to other rooms, indulging in the sweet smorgasbord of our shed flesh that littered the floors of our living room and kitchen. All the bugs had to do was cross a few trivial feet of hardwood, a simple task for a creature that can scale electrical wire like a crazy parasitic Spider-Man.
Oh, and despite the fact that in Massachusetts my landlord was legally responsible for exterminating my bedbugs, he still tried to con me into paying for them, dodged summons to court, and in general acted like an all-around douche — if there was a housing law for him to violate, he did it with panache. We escaped (sans our security deposit), and as far as we know he never got any comeuppance.
Hemera/AbleStock.com/Getty Bugs just make landlords stronger.
For support, I found myself reaching out to the only group who could truly sympathize: other people living with infestations. They are clustered on little islands of sanity in the middle of the Internet. As a sources of news, information, commiseration, and (somehow) rationality, I can confidently say that online support groups are totally responsible for what tattered shreds remain of my sanity (shortly after I joined one, a long-term member actually let me call them in the middle of the night and panic). Just knowing other folks are going through the same thing makes you feel less alone. Not that I ever really felt “alone” with the 7 million other inhabitants in my apartment.
#4. You Will Be Driven to Dangerous Measures
So you’ve sprayed your place and slathered yourself in petroleum jelly. Now you have to clear out your clothes. Short of spraying your stuff with horrifying pesticides, the easiest way to kill off bedbugs is to help them reach their “thermal death point,” which is exactly what it sounds like: We crammed every piece of clothing we owned into the dryer for two hours, letting those baby’s burn in there for $2.50 a load. By the end, it probably would’ve been cheaper to bribe the bugs out of our home with an all expense paid whirlwind Vegas weekend, but sadly, they’re only insects with tiny brains and lack the physiology to properly enjoy the spoils that come with such.
You’re supposed to put everything that isn’t laundry into an oven, and since I was working as a teacher, it was very important that anything I gave to my students (like their homework) be bug-free, lest I become the Typhoid Mary of bedbugs. But I ran into a problem: Stuff like paper and shoes can’t go in an oven. Conventional wisdom says to heat them up with a seal-able container but I’m not a big fan of conventional wisdom, so I put a bunch of non-clothing stuff in the dryer in the basement, wedged it closed with bricks so the heavier items wouldn’t knock the door open, and left the machine running to scorch away my sorrows.
There was logic to my actions, of course — the type of logic that rises like a misty aroma from a brain soaking in a cocktail of fear and madness. “I have too many things to put in the oven,” I sang to myself, sweetly, “so I will put them in the dryer. The bugs will burn and I will be free.” One of my neighbors failed to appreciate the beauty of my logic. His naive, bug-less eyes saw not the key to sweet relief through death, but a gas dryer (which used an open flame) packed with all that is flammable and wedged shut. He responded by dragging me into the basement and calling the cops.
Sergey Kamshylin/Photos.com He was in league with the bugs. He too needed the cleansing fire.
I was let off with a warning and learned exactly nothing from this, because the fiery death of me and my neighbors was a trifle compared to the threat of bedbugs. I continued to cleanse my students’ homework in the oven, which amounted to stuffing large amounts of paper near an open flame, right up until the end of the ordeal. At this point, I’ve used up so much residual good luck that I’m liable to die from someone else’s game of Russian roulette.
But this, amazingly, was still just the beginning …
#3. You Will Have to Destroy Your Belongings
With our clothes scourged like LV-426 at the end of Aliens, we realized it was time to nuke our furniture from orbit as well — which meant throwing out everything we owned.
Felix Renaud/Photos.com Because no hope remained. Also, the stuff was infested.
But throwing out your belongings is harder than you think — particularly if your goal is not to infect a bunch of strangers’ houses with biting insects. Although we took precautions (wrapping our rugs and sheets in garbage bags, sealing them with duct tape, and labeling them with the word “bedbugs” and a cartoon picture of a mean-looking insect with frowning eyes), the dumpster scavengers were undeterred. In fact, while depositing our second load of plagued goods, we found some unwitting schlep collecting our very first load. He ignored our protests, threw the bag of bug-infested goods over his shoulder, and sauntered off, whistling a little tune like some kind of Johnny Appleseed of bedbugs.
From then on, we knew the only way to avoid spreading our curse to others was to destroy everything we owned. We disassembled our futon and then smashed it with a hammer. I threw our TV into the dumpster hard enough to shatter its screen. My desk was cathartic-ally splintered by my ren-fair ax.
Vtsybulka/Photos.com Then my ax was cathartic-ally cleaved by my bare hands.
And no, we weren’t just being paranoid — the infection of others’ homes through casually repossessed furniture is a bigger problem than you might hope. Boston, for example, is home to something called Allston Christmas, in which students from its roughly 7 billion colleges move out and leave most of their furniture on the curb. Guess what happens when you take that furniture home. Bedbugs. Bedbugs happen.
#2. After Everything, You May Still Have to Flee Your Own Home
Tim Boyle/Getty Images News/Getty Images
After two months of sealing our clothes in plastic bags the size of Godzilla condoms and scrubbing our bodies with buckets of isopropyl alcohol we finally found the solution to our problems: retreat. That’s right. We moved out of our apartment. The bedbugs won.
Cem Topcu And a hundred generations will feast on the skin flakes we left behind.
But our ordeal wasn’t over: To make sure we didn’t bring any of the vermin with us, we had to conduct a “truck-based treatment,” which means we rented a U-Haul and turned it into an insect abattoir — and, somehow, “loading everything you own into a truck and then baking it” is even more complicated than it seems.
First, we needed a propane permit, which meant we had to explain to a bunch of skeptical firefighters that this process wouldn’t com-bust our crap. Second, we couldn’t just throw our stuff in the U-Haul and be on our way — we had to pack the truck carefully, making sure the air would be circulating and there would be no cool pockets for the little blood suckers to hide in. And finally, we had to park a truck on a busy Boston street and hope no curious Sox fan wandered in and died of stupidity next to our mattress.
Lillian Marx The truck sucked in and killed a couple of LaRouche supporters, but what can you do.
It looks crazy, and it worked. The guys hooked up the machine, we all took turns watching it heat, and then we got a pizza and just hung around for eight hours. Once we finished, we let our newest best friends drive off in their pickup and moved into our new apartment.
The infestation had cost us something close to $5,000 once all was said and done. Take a moment to imagine all of those people who A) don’t have the money to do this and B) don’t have the option to move. Oh, and it also cost my sanity.
Pablo Demetrio Scapinachis Armstrong/Photos.com Priceless.
That’s because here is where I hit rock bottom. After weeks of torment, a hard day of moving, and the sweet relief of finally roasting every bug left on my personal belongings, I stripped off all my clothing to discover two massive bites on my leg. I panicked. The idea of all this expense and inconvenience being pointless sent me into a downward spiral, knowing that it all might have been for nothing.
#1. You Will Be Scarred Forever
My new place, as it turned out, was bedbug-free. I didn’t believe it until they brought in a bedbug-sniffing dog (yes, those exist, and they (though expensive) are the most wonderful things in the world) to convince me.
Niels Elgaard Larsen The place had hidden carpet bacon and bathtub ghost cats, but nope, no bedbugs.
It turns out my psyche has been irrevocably warped by this experience. I’d call it PTSD, but that insults everyone who has experienced worse shit than mere bedbugs. Instead, I’ll draw on my years of psychological training (seriously) to bullshit a new name: PBI, or post-bedbug insanity.
To get an idea of how my brain works now, take a look at the chaos around your computer. Check out that little black dot near the mouse. Is it lint? A food particle? Or is it a bedbug? Now take off your pants and contemplate all the random red spots that have sprouted since you last inspected your legs. Is that new splotch an ingrown hair? A wildly inaccurate piercing? Or is it a bedbug bite?
James Heilman Are those bedbugs? And why does my neck now swivel 180 degrees? But mainly, are those bedbugs?
This is how I think now. Any stray speck of dust creates an instant rush of fear. Whenever I see a yard sale, it’s all I can do to stop myself from screaming inane warnings and dousing each piece of furniture with gasoline. I’ve spent more time on my knees in hotel rooms than the average congressional aide, but I’m searching the mattress for evidence of an infestation instead of angling for a promotion.
And I’m not alone. People who experience bedbug infestations can end up depressed or socially anxious, start hallucinating, or other things that are way too depressing for a comedy article to get into. You might be thinking, “Oh, it’s just insects,” but that’s because you don’t understand how this problem gets under your skin and inside your brain and festers. Hold on — I have an itchy lump near my elbow right now, and I was recently on an airplane. These must be bedbugs.
Excuse me, I need to go take a bath in isopropyl alcohol.
It turns out that the popularity of bed bug infestations has only been matched by the popularity of bed bug remedies, because while waking up with tiny little bites is very trendy, it is also possibly the single most distressing non-Ke$ha-related-thing ever. To find out more about bed bugs, I conducted a bit of research on my own, and have below outlined everything you need to know about how to first get a bed bug infestation, and then get rid of it. I’ve done this because it’s considered poor form to just end a column immediately after the introduction.
How to Get Bed Bugs
Getting bed bugs turned out to be surprisingly easy. I simply went on to Craigslist and replied to every ad listing a free mattress available. I spent the next few sweaty days driving around town, picking them up and assembling the lot in my apartment. In this endeavor, I was assisted by my girlfriend, who decided to leave for several months to “clear her head.” After practicing some stunts and “karate flips” on my new mattresses, I began my research in earnest, and the next morning I woke up to discover I had a couple dozen tiny little bites all over my skin. Success!
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
As predicted, the success of the first part of my experiment proved Pyrrhic, and I immediately longed to rid myself of my trendy little companions. Getting rid of them proved quite difficult as you’ll see, and turned out to involve exploring more than a few tiers of insanity. For the sake of any forensic psychologists who will have to later piece together my mental state, I’ve broken out my efforts chronologically below.
Technique #1: Hippie Remedies
I decided to start off gently, looking for non-toxic, 100-mile, fair trade ways to rid myself of my infestation. A few sites on the Internet recommended rubbing alcohol, and a couple others recommended baking soda, so I decided to mix them together in a big bowl and see what happened. There were two results from this. The first was that I didn’t die, and the second was that I made a kind of whitish paste.
Worried that I wasn’t being thorough enough, and dimly recalling that tomato juice and club soda were also useful for some unremembered home remedies (constipation? Moon repellent? Tiger lubricant?), I added large quantities of those to the mix, and liberally applied the whole batch to my new-to-me mattress fort. That night I went to sleep, eager to see if my techniques had worked.
Results: 10 fresh bites
Technique #2: Can of Raid
Deciding to up the ante a bit after my first failed attempt, and having adopted a new “forgot you, bed bugs” mentality, I went out and got a can of Raid, a consumer-grade pesticide. Returning to my apartment and ignoring the instructions, I doused every part of my increasingly horrible mattress nest with the poison. “Juuu try to fauk with me you leetle cock-a-roaches,” I said, lying in bed, misremembering some Scarface dialog. “Then let me introduce you to my friend the little… uh. My leeeetle friend. That’s it.” I coughed myself to sleep.
Results: 6 fresh bites
Technique #3: Eight Cans of Raid
“In a way, I’m glad,” I said to the mirror, as I examined my fresh wounds. “Otherwise this would have been a dull article.” My muscles rippled in agreement. This time around I purchased eight cans of Raid, extra strength, and applied them to everything in my apartment, including my clothes, the carpet, my collection of rubber zebras (don’t ask), EVERYTHING and then all of the above again. The next morning I did actually wake without any fresh bites, which would constitute a success, but for the fact that I had slept out on the deck, terrified of killing myself by spending any time in the Vestibule of Poisoned Hell that my apartment had become. But after 16 hours of open windows and fresh air, I summoned up the courage to spend the night in what I thought was my own bed. (I had moved all the mattresses around a bit by that point, and given the amount of poison I had ingested, the mattress-identifying part of my memory was a little patchy.)
Results: 10 fresh bites
Technique #4: Strip Everything Out of the Apartment
My research had taught me that bed bugs like to hide during the day, concealing themselves in various cavities, crevices and crannies around the apartment. Adopting a scorched earth policy, I took every one of my many mattresses, my sheets and comforters, my carpets and all of my non-vinyl clothing, and threw it in a pile in the alley. After that, I vacuumed every square inch of the bare concrete surfaces that remained, hissing curse words at the floors and walls as I did so, the day’s activities having kicked up a lot of toxic dust and residual pesticide, now lodged in my brain. That night I curled up in the bathtub, knife clenched in my teeth, flashing gang signs at the ceiling until I fell asleep.
Results: 6 fresh bites
Technique #5: The Professionals
At my wits’ end, I finally decided to bring in the experts. A local exterminating company, Bed-Bug-Begone, arrived within a few hours, and using some specially trained and very expensive dogs, begin sniffing out the source of the bed bug infestation.
“Did something die in here?” the exterminator sniffed, my homemade remedies having not aged well in the previous days.
“No,” I said, only half-bothering to come up with a lie. “I’ve been tanning leather. Anyways, you said this was guaranteed to work?”
“Oh lord no. It may take up to three or four return visits to finally get them all,” the exterminator said. “And even then, there’s no guarantee.”
“Well, so long as it’s covered by my insurance.”
“It’s not.” The exterminator eyed my apartment, which with the quantity of soiled mattresses was now looking more like a back alley Vietnamese brothel than not. “Actually, before we begin, how were you going to pay the $300 application fee?”
I thought to myself, considering the words of my editor, Jack “I-Categorically-Do-Not-Approve-That-Expense” O’Brien. “Do you accept sexual favors?”
Results: 0 fresh bites, 1 fresh black eye
Technique #6: Move
At this point I simply just gave up. There was nothing I could do to beat these monsters. My only option was to retreat. Packing my few remaining belongings, I went back to my parents’ house.
“Why are you wearing fetish clothes on our doorstep?” my father asked, fairly.
“You remember how you told me that if I was ever in trouble, to just call you, and you’d come pick me up?” I said. “Because I’m in trouble.”
“That was your mother’s policy, and I never agreed with it.”
Later, after dad relented, and I had retired to my old bedroom, recently converted into dad’s “yellin'” room, I finally relaxed. I was free. My long nightmare was over. For the first time in days, I slept through the night.
Results: 3 fresh bites
Technique #7: Bitter Crying Jags
It turns out that bed bugs can conceal themselves in clothes and luggage, and the series of decorative scarves I had brought with me to my parents house had evidently contained a handful of them. Within three days everyone in the house had been bitten. My father, enraged, kicked me out of the home, and after pulling some favors with a friend he had in the press, the next day I found my face was plastered all over the local media as a prominent disease vector.
No longer welcome at my parents, on public transit, or in any Bed Bath & Beyond, I was forced to retreat to my barren apartment, where after a short, unhappy meal of whatever I found in the cupboards (memory was very patchy by this point), I executed my last remaining plan: bitter, full-
body, slight loss of bodily-functions sobbing.
Results: 11 fresh bites
Technique #8: Deep Undercover
When I awoke the next day, the answer appeared to me, having been born, fully formed, in the crucible of my fevered sleep. By learning the techniques of the bed bugs, I could adapt them for my own use. I would become the enemy, then destroy them from within. I dashed out on the town to pick up some supplies, then returned to my apartment, where I donned my disguise:
I had a little trouble finding a bed bug costume at the thrift store, so adapted this child’s ladybug costume instead. It was a little snug.
Realizing that bed bugs feast on blood, and after a moment’s thought, I determined that the nearest source of blood could be found in my neighbor Gary, often located in my neighbor Gary’s apartment. Using the spare key he left with me to water plants when he was away, I let myself into his place, and quietly squirreled myself away in his laundry hamper. Following standard daytime bed bug methodology, I promptly fell asleep.
I awoke around midnight, undiscovered, and possessed with an insatiable hunger. Creeping out of the hamper, I observed my neighbor’s sleeping form. Cautiously, I approached the bed, and leaning down, carefully took a bite out of his ankle.
“What the hell are you doing?” he yelled, sitting upright in bed. Not wearing his contacts, Gary couldn’t recognize me, but was able to see enough to know that a grown man spilling out of a child’s ladybug costume was chewing on his leg. This was evidently something he was angry about.
“I’m not too sure,” I said, honestly. “I thought this would help me understand bed bugs better, but now I’m sad and I’ve got hair in my mouth. This isn’t working out well at all.”
This explanation did not satisfy Gary, who proceeded to beat the hell out of me with his fists. I managed to escape while he was calling the cops, and spent the next few days hiding out in my apartment, flitting in and out of consciousness.
“Chris… wake up Chris…” a voice that was many voices called out to me.
“What? Who is it?” I asked, rousing myself awake. Blinking the sleep from my eyes, I realized I was lying on the bare floor of my apartment, surrounded by bed bugs. “What’s going on here?”
“You’re going insane,” the bed bugs replied.
“Oh good. Do you think it’s from eating nothing but poisoned food for the last week?”
“Food is tasty,” the bed bugs observed. “You don’t taste like food any more. We need food. Food is tasty.”
I nodded. “It is.” Thinking for a second, an idea came to me. “Say, bed bugs. I’ve just had a thought. What if I were to get you a steady supply of food?”
“Food is tasty,” the bed bugs replied.
“Indeed. Here’s my plan: You guys climb aboard me, and I’ll give you a ride into people’s homes, and around bedding stores and such. All I ask in return is that when you’re done feeding, you bring me back some Cheetos. I’m pretty sure you should be able to lift a Cheeto with a couple of you working together. That way you’ll get all the food you’ll need, and I’ll have a never ending stream of Cheetos slowly marching towards my door. It’s a classic win-win.”
“Food is tasty,” the bed bugs agreed, sealing the deal.
“THEN CLIMB ABOARD FRIENDS,” I bellowed. “YOU SHALL SAIL THE SEAS OF GLORY, ABOARD ME, YOUR MAN-BUG SHIP OF HONOR!”
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