Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite

This blog is for my friend, Ida. I’ve been promising to write about my adventure with bed bugs. Today, as the high temperature reached a whopping two degrees, I found myself thinking of, no dreaming of, summer. One of my summer dreams, well, it’s more like a nightmare. 

Last summer we planned a short end-of-summer vacation at our regular spot: a cabin on the lake. We have enjoyed going there. The boys usually take a friend. We swim, fish, relax, and unwind. We expected nothing less this summer. We arrived, got unpacked and settled in. My husband and I had a bedroom with a door, the boys had a loft and their friend slept on the hide-a-bed in the little living area. Since we got to the lake in the evening, and had worked that day, it didn’t take long before we were ready for bed. 

My husband went to bed first, so when I was ready the room was already dark. I made my way to my side and quickly fell asleep. 

In the night I woke scratching my leg. As I swiped my hand across my thigh, I felt something wet. I realized it must’ve been a spider crawling on me. After shuddering a bit and sticking my tongue out (not sure why we do that…especially when no one can see us) I went to the bathroom and washed my hands in the dark. 

The next morning as we woke, I told my husband about the nasty spider I had killed as it walked across me and how it has “squished” on my fingers. He laughed at me and walked into the kitchen. I stayed in the bedroom watching TV and my youngest son came in to join me. As we sat there on the bed, I remember seeing a little bug crawl across the sheet. I mentioned it to him and swiped it off the bed. I didn’t think much about it, after all, we were at the lake. 

We got up and went into the living area. In the meantime, my husband headed into the bedroom to get ready for the day. A few minutes later he called to me asking me to come in the bedroom. He pointed to a bug on the bed…and then another…and another…the more we looked, the more bugs we found. Houston, we have a problem!!!! The room was crawling. Literally. I’m not sure how my husband and I weren’t carried off by them in the night! 

As we looked more thoroughly, we noticed there was also blood on the pillowcases and sheets. Ummm. That would be our blood! I can’t explain the panic and creepy disgust that I was feeling. 

Not wanting to upset the kids, we decided to go to the motel down the street to use their wi-fi. Sitting in the lobby, we looked up bed bugs. Yep, perfect match! (We had taken a couple with us in a plastic bag)  Ironically, an exterminator walked in as we sat there. My husband met him in the lobby and held up the plastic bag, “Do you mind looking at these and tell me what you think they are?” The man took a step back, hesitating, “Those are bed bugs. Where did you get those?” 

We explained they were from our cabin down the street and asked his advice. Let me tell you. It was if we had been exposed to toxic waste! 

We got back in our truck and headed to the cabin where the offices were. My husband went in. I waited in the truck, heart pounding and feeling itchy all over. I watched him walk in. Then I saw another man walk in. Then the two of them walked out, obviously deep in  conversation.  As my husband walked back to the truck, he opened the door, with a smile on his face. “Well. This is NOT going to be fun.”

We were instructed to go to our cabin and get ONE change of clothes. Everything else was to be left in there. EVERYTHING. We were each to put our one change of clothing in a plastic bag which they would bring to us. We went back and explained things to the kids. The manager arrived at the door. We invited him in, he took two steps backwards, declined the invitation, and said he would leave the bags on the deck.

Were we contagious? This was crazy! 

We put our clothing in the bag, left everything else and drove back to the motel as instructed. As we entered the motel, there was an employee standing there waiting on us. He asked for our bag and then another employee led us downstairs to the suite. As we walked down the steps, she explained to us that they would take our clean clothes and dry them, including the shoes, in a dryer on high heat to kill anything that might be on them. We were to wait in the suite, not sit on anything or touch anything.

As we stood in the room, looking at one another, it was hard not to laugh. The humor of our situation was not escaping us. No one would come near us. They practically knocked on the door and ran. We couldn’t touch anything or anyone. 

Eventually, they brought our hot clothes and shoes (which had shrunk) to us along with complimentary deodorant, toothbrushes, and razors. We each showered, put on our ruined clothes, and carefully placed our “contaminated” clothes in a new bag and left them outside the door.  Once we were “de-contaminated” we went out for a bite to eat. 

As we slept in their best suite, the kids on roll-away beds, our cabin was being treated. Imagine what the neighboring campers thought as an unmarked van pulled up to the cabin. Two men entered the cabin and went through all of our things spreading them all throughout the cabin. Then, they took a large hose from their van to the cabin. One man sat on the deck all night with a computer, monitoring the temperature as they used heat to kill any bugs in cabin. 

They next morning we were allowed back into the cabin. The temperature inside was still over 100 degrees. It was a little bug cemetery. Every bug of every kind was in there, dead. They had turned mattresses on their sides, hung my quilts from the loft…it literaly looked like we had been robbed.

We packed up as quickly as we could, sweat dripping from us. As we loaded the cars, the neighbors watched. We could read their minds, and yet, no one, not one, asked us what had happened. So, we got in the cars and left. As we checked out we were given all of our money back. We were also given a coupon for a free night’s stay in the future. I threw it away.

The story doesn’t end here…but I promised to tell Ida about “my bed bugs”.

So, while it seems like a cute little saying when you tuck your children in at night…it’s a serious thing.

Don’t. Let. The. Bed Bugs. Bite!




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