You’ve probably heard that there’s a bed bug epidemic sweeping the United States. We’ve imported it, like so many other American products, to Canada, and most notably for Women’s Post readers, to the Toronto area.

While these little guys are nibbling their way through North America, we humans are not letting this whole issue go unnoticed, nosiree! We’ve got conferences, summits, and now the suggestion from Ontario MPP Michael Colle that we fire up a bedbug tracking program.

Say what? I have to wonder just how we’d track these tiny creatures, just 4 to 5 mm long (about the length of an unbitten baby toe-nail). Would we all be issued some kind of counter as in click-when-you-see-one? But then, what about people like me who wear glasses to see small objects, but never when I’m sleeping? Maybe I’d track them by counting the bites each morning?

Turns out, we haven’t had this many bedbugs to snuggle up with, in about 30 years. And 30 years ago, we dealt with them using DDT, an insecticide which is now banned because of its high toxicity. So unless we un-ban DDT, the bedbugs are winning. I suspect un-banning DDT is way tougher than un-friending on Facebook.

If you search YouTube for ‘bedbugs,’ you’ll find a treasury of over 3100 buggy videos, covering the obvious hotels to hospitals to the more obscure courtrooms and libraries. I’ll admit to not watching any of these creepy videos; see me shudder at the thought. It might be a better idea to subscribe to one of many bedbug forums available such as bedbugger (give them a prize for a great domain name please) where you can read bedbug blogs that really gnaw into the subject.

There’s a Facebook page for bed bugs, of course, and there’s also a page called The Bed Bug Patch – kinda like Nicoderm for bed bugs? If there are only 32 people who like this page, what does that mean, I wonder?

In the U.S., the bed bug infestation is so rampant that there are now lawyers who specialize in, are you ready for this, bed bug litigation.

I think that instead of spending our tax dollars on Mr. Colle’s suggestion of tracking, we should send him to the Bed Bug University’s Summit 2010 next week in Chicago. Oh wait, it’s sold out! But there is a waiting list and the cost of the entire summit is only $450, a bargain with a bite, I’d say.

But wait, there is a solution! Bedbugs do have natural enemies – cockroaches, ants, spiders and mites. All we need is some innovative entrepreneur to start a company selling the ultimate anti-bedbug package, a combination of all 4 predators. I bet he could get some start-up money from Dragon’s Den; they’re sure to be impressed with such an unusual idea, or they’ll at least say an immediate yes simply to get the bug buddy out of the studio.

There are companies that sell butterflies to release at weddings; you used to be able to buy lady bugs to combat the aphids in your rose garden; why not spiders to spin up the bedbugs or cockroaches to consume them?

OK, seriously, there are home remedies that worked like a charm for our grandmothers – put your sheets and clothes in the dryer for about 30 minutes, steam your mattresses with one of those hand-held steamers, buy a natural remedy such as Black Walnut or Boric acid powder.

Of all the stressors we have to deal with today, it just seems to me that bed bugs are pretty far down the list and don’t require or warrant all the hysteria, press and dollars they’re receiving.

I’m with Bart Simpson on this one – bite me!

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