Friday, August 27, 2010

Don't Let the Bedbugs Bite

There's been a bedbug scare in my building. Our neighbor to the east already moved out, and our neighbors below are on the fence. Mary Kate, whose room shared a wall with our bygone neighbors, has been getting bitten for the last couple of weeks. My room is farther away from the apparent bedbug source, and I've yet to get a bite, but I was getting concerned that they might start making forays or a full fledged exodus my way. My fears are a bit relieved now, because the whole building got sprayed and fumigated yesterday. To prepare, I stuffed all my things (clothes, books, etc.) into black trash bags and put them out in the sun to cook. Hopefully the problem is solved, because it seems like bedbugs can be a plague on your life. When you have them, everything you own, including your epidermis, becomes toxic waste. I stopped telling people about the issue, because they'd react with sympathy, then silently recoil. I think people are so afraid of bedbugs, because they're so elusive. In the two weeks that Mary Kate was getting bitten, she failed to find a single culprit, yet fresh bites appeared regularly. They're like terrorists, making anonymous attacks, and then assimilating back into the surroundings.

Yesterday when my place was getting fumigated, I couldn't help but think about the precepts I took at the vipassana retreat, one of which being not to kill. As I sat there, sipping ice tea and reflecting, thousands of tiny sentient creatures were murdered, and I was partly responsible. But I can't see how bedbugs and I can live symbiotically. They just come to feed on my flesh without bringing anything to the table. The best I can do is acknowledge their deaths, and hope that they reincarnate as something less vampiric.


  1. I'm not entirely convinced that bedbugs are actually sentient. At best they're probably barely so. From an ethical standpoint killing them may not be unlike smashing a rock.

  2. As a bedbug crawls across your luscious flesh, something inside of it takes in it's surroundings and evaluates where best to sink in it's blood sucking pipe. I'd call that sentience.