First, the good news.
I’m getting a new bed. I’m thrilled! Ever since my husband and I got married I’ve wanted to get a new bed; something clean and new and without the taint of another person’s night sweat on it. You see, up until this point, all of our beds have been hand-me-downs but now, with the gracious help of mom-in-law who’s going halfsies with us, we’re finally getting that classic symbol of conjugal bliss: the brand new marriage bed.
Now the bad news.
We’re getting a new bed because our old one is infested with bed bugs. Yep, bed bugs. As in, “Sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite.” That cute little saying we tell our children at night is actually a terrible, nightmarish reality. And they do bite. Anyone who’s seen me in the last six weeks can attest to the many, many red itchy welts on my arms and legs.
Recently, these bites have been appearing in more, ahem, intimate places. The whole time, I’ve been blaming the bites on mosquitoes. Mosquitoes I understand. I have a history with mosquitoes. I hate them, but they’re familiar. Then, on Monday morning, I woke up with a bite on the underside of my breast.
‘But I wore a shirt to bed,’ I thought. ‘And I had the sheet pulled up to my chin. By what feat of aerial derring-do did a mosquito manage to maneuver under the sheet, into my shirt, and under my boob. Why not just go for the face?’
Then, yesterday, while trolling the internet news sites, I stumbled on a teaser title which proclaimed, “Parasite Population Explosion.” Naturally, I followed the link thinking that the article would be about the huge increase in mosquitoes which had been occurring in our region since the start of the summer rains. I mean, I hadn’t seen that many skeeters, but I had seen upwards of fifty bites on my body so, you know, 1+1=2. But no, the article was about the huge increase in bed bug infestations in hotels and college dorms, pretty much anywhere that has a large influx of international residents. The article showed a picture of the bug itself and a photo of what the bites look like.
So, when I finally had a free moment last night, I stripped the sheets off the bed and, lo and behold, I found, scurrying furtively under the fitted sheet, about fifteen of these:
We even found eggs. And babies. A happy little bed bug family, all of them engorged with blood. My blood. Did you know that bed bugs are monogamous? A mosquito will flit from host to host, which explains, in part, why they’re such good vectors for disease. Not bed bugs, though. These faithful little guys will stick with the same host throughout their disturbingly long lives. Until that host discovers them and murders them. Murders them right in their bed.