Week of January 21, 2011

Dear Mr KIA,
I’m so tired; I haven’t been able to sleep properly all week! You would be the same if you spent half the time in bed killing bedbugs and the other half gripped by paranoia that the nasty, blood-sucking critters are crawling in your hair. I just spent an entire day turning my whole room inside out, sanitizing my clothes and bed linen, throwing out anything I own that’s more than two years old (except my dog but that should be okay, right?) and sprayed extra strong bug poison on practically every surface but they’re still there! What do I do?
—Bloody Unhappy Girl

Dear BUG,
Wow. Just when I thought I’d seen all the crazy situations you guys get into, someone emerges and trumps the rest. My mother used to say, “I don’t care if we have lizards, cockroaches or even snakes as long as we don’t have bedbugs,” so I’m guessing they can be a right pain in the ass. I’ve never experienced such a phenomenon myself but let me try and recall what she used to say about getting rid of them. To my knowledge, bedbugs feed on blood, not trash, so cleanliness is not the reason behind the infestation. However, you should maintain a sanitary environment so they run out of places to breed in. The best way to get rid of them once and for all is by calling in the experts. The guys at Rentokil Pest Control (6347-8138, www.rentokil.com.sg) and Origin (#06-02 Cemtex Industrial Bldg., 5 Little Rd., 6352-2121) will inspect your place for affected areas and will advise on the best extermination method (usually fumigation) and how long it will take. If you want your whole pad fumigated, there is a likely chance you’ll need to vacate it for a day or two. While waiting for the pest controllers, you might want to continue sanitizing your sheets and clothes (best to soak them in hot water). Just make sure you keep the clean and “dirty” ones separated until you’ve washed them all or you’ll risk having to start all over again. Don’t throw out your bed yet. Since bedbugs can’t survive in very high temperatures, it might suffice for the moment to dry it out in the hot sun. Check all the corners in your room (mattress seams, around the bed and wall crevices), especially those least exposed to light and spray them with bug poison (best to get those specifically for bedbugs because they’re the hardest to kill). Watch as they scramble to escape and have fun killing them (wear a mask if you’re afraid of their almighty stink) until the real heroes come to save you. Good night! Don’t let the bedbugs bite! (Couldn’t resist.)