Cimex lectularius is the most common type of bed bug species, found in temperate regions. Their cousins C. hemipterus occur in tropical regions. Members of one of these two species are currently copulating on my bed (at least someone is). I have a sneaking suspicion I brought them back with me from the Gomantong Caves in Sandakan, Borneo Island, whose inhabitants (billions of cockroaches and millions of bats) I spent 15 tense minutes with last month.
The Internet very nearly sent me ricocheting into gloom with its information on the invincibility of these creatures but I held strong and spotted a few ways I might yet win this war. Trouble is, none of them score very high on the practicality scale.
- Rent/Borrow a commercial freezer. Set it to -32 degrees Celsius. Place suspected mattress(es) inside for 15 minutes. This will kill all stages (eggs, five nymphal stages and adult) of bed bugs.
- Set your heater to 45 degrees Celsius and leave mattress(es) inside for 7 minutes. This will kill all stages of bed bugs. If it’s May and you know anybody travelling in Chennai, find a way to sneak your mattresses into their luggage. Once in Chennai, arrange for mattresses to be kept in sun for 7 minutes and demand the duped party that they return your mattresses.
- Buy a cage of rodents. Rodents eat bed bugs. So do pharaoh ants, centipedes, spiders Don’t bother buying bats. Bats don’t. This marked dislike bats have towards bed bug pheromones is probably what let them thrive back in the ice age with humans and bats in caves.
- Sterilize existing bed bugs by feeding them rabbit blood laced with antibiotics that kill off crucial gut bacteria in the bed bugs. Without these good bacteria, the bed bugs become stunted and sterile. Wait 413 days (maximum life span) for existing bugs to die out. In the meanwhile, sleep > 5 feet away from infestation as that is the farthest from which the bugs can detect you.
- There’s no need to be afraid. If ever in a situation where one is being chased by angry bed bugs, one only need run faster 126 cm per minute.
- After the extermination, hire a bed bug hound. These dogs can spot bugs with 90% accuracy within minutes. Do this once again after a month to ensure no relapses.