I Bust Some Science Out On Bed BugsPosted: March 21, 2011
I spent a little time on the road last week. Naturally, my mind turned to science, because we all know that is the way my mind turns when it has no where else to go.
I considered doing some work in astronomy when I became aware there was to be a Supermoon. My conclusion was that while this “Supermoon” was very nice to see and a truly rare opportunity, it was by no means super. I saw no cape. It could not go around the world backward and make time go backward with it. Clearly this was a regular moon that had snuck a little closer and gotten some good press coverage. Super? No.
When I put astronomy aside, I realized where my week’s work had to be focused. Entomology.
I have never seen a bed bug in person. I’ve seen pictures and some television video clips when the recent “invasion” of bed bugs started. I think that is enough.
While some would look at this lack of exposure to my topic as a handicap to my science and the eventual conclusion that I will reveal to you, I think it enhances my thinking on the topic. Entomologists know about bed bugs. People call them all the time and tell them awful stories about them. This “knowledge” is a handicap to seeing the problem and its solution clearly.
I know nothing. I can provide an unlimited number of people who can testify to that. Unfettered by knowledge, I will now resolve the bedbug problem that is said to be plaguing hotels in the US.
If you have spent any appreciable amount of time in hotels recently you will have noticed that they are taking steps to help the environment.
More efficient climate controls are in place in newer hotels. Some have new “green roofs“. In the kitchens, waste is turned to compost for the grounds. But there is one particular innovation that is marketed as “green” and “environmentally friendly” and that innovation is the cause of the bed bug problem.
Many hotels now have an environmentally friendly laundry policy. They now only wash the bed sheets once every three days, or when a guest leaves the hotel and the sheets are changed. To be sure, they will change and wash the sheets daily, if the guest takes the time to put their little placard on the bed to request it be done.
I’m certain this policy is, in its way, very environmentally responsible. Many of the hotel room cards that explain the policy point out the large amount of detergents and hot water required to wash hotel bed linens. Producing detergent and hot water uses a great deal of energy and creates damage to our planet when they are used.
Let’s face it though, the lodging industry isn’t about saving the earth here, they are saving their bottom line. Less money invested in laundry products, in wear and tear on linens and in housekeeping staff equals more money in the corporate till.
…Don’t Let The Bed Bugs…
So suppose I have a bed bug problem in my house. I travel and stay in a hotel for three days. Because I am an environmentalist (and I am, but a bed bug free one) I do not tell the hotel to change my sheets. The bugs who have traveled with me have three days to establish a foothold in the room. I move out, the hotel staff cleans up, you move in and go home with my little friends in your clothing.
You get to bring home these nasty little souvenirs because the hotel is using people’s desire to help preserve our planet as a way to help raise their profit margin. Was there a “bed bug invasion” ten years ago when we all got clean sheets every day in hotels? I think not.
I urge you to be as environmentally aware as you possibly can. Recycle. Cut back on fossil fuel use. Improve the insulation in your house.
Make the hotel wash your sheets. Yes, you don’t get fresh sheets every day at home, but then you don’t have ten different people sleeping in your bed every month either. If you do have ten people sleeping over every month I won’t judge you, but I will urge you to change sheets more frequently.
Bed bug invasion in hotels? I blame the hotels. Make them wash the sheets. Ten to fifteen minutes in a home dryer will kill bed bugs.
Make them wash the sheets!
Yeah, I’m a scientist.
- supermoon = supertide! (rebeccainthewoods.wordpress.com)