Nothing to fear but bedbugs themselves

“BEDBUGS” the voice shouted into the air shaft of the Mercy Mattress Company. Every mattress employee froze with unbridled fear. In less than 10 seconds, Company Boss Matt Stress was on the intercom.

“Relax everyone,” he announced calmly. “This is why we have been holding bedbug drills weekly. Exit the building until we find the terrorist. Be calm. Holy smoke! Be calm! There is nothing to fear but fear itself.”

No room for bedbugs

As the 57 employees streamed out of the building, they knew who the culprit was. He was the tuft control engineer. When they quit putting tufts on mattresses, he was dismissed with very angry words. Language was used that cannot be printed in this newspaper.

While bedbugs were the fear of many households, they were not a problem at the Omdahl house. Eleven siblings meant that we had to sleep three in a bed – there wasn’t room for bedbugs.

I have to admit that once back in the ’40s, we did have a few bedbugs brought in by Oswald the family cat.

My mother and older siblings pulled the mattresses out of the house and onto the porch. Back in those days, there was no chemical like “bedbug ready” so we were using kerosene. Of course, that meant no more smoking in bed for three days. They had to put Gunther out three times.

Bedbugs ruin reputations

Nowdays we have all kinds of possible remedies for preventing bedbugs from ruining reputations in the neighborhood. It was not honorable for the uppity class to have bedbugs. That was supposed to be a lower class problem.

The Mercy Mattress national headquarters recommend starving them to death by wrapping the mattresses in plastic for six months, thereby keeping the bugs away from their one course food supply – blood.

Even when they do get blood, they can starve because their little mouths are so slow. Sometimes, if we are lucky, they will choke.

Denying blood

A starving bedbug is something to behold. First, their stomachs crumple up as they plead for blood. It must hurt because when enough bedbugs are starving they give off a melodic tone – sounding something like the Eden Township Four in concert..

As they pass through this awful experience of starvation, they lose their dark color and start turning orange and, finally, white. Gone to bedbug Hell where there are no mattresses. They have no heaven. No grace for them.

Bedbugs reproduce with eggs that take 6-10 days to hatch. Eggs? They can’t be celibate and survive as a species. Fruitlessly, some mattress people are trying to stop the bedbugs from having sex. The sex life of the bedbug has never been researched at the UND medical school or the NDSU swine hut so the anti-sex group is in the dark trying to fight an unknown assailant.

Reduces ‘sleeping around’

One thing bedbugs have done is reduce the amount of “sleeping around” in the neighborhood. “Sleeping Around” people may be bringing the bedbugs, among other things, home with them and face a fiery all-night interrogation, which never ends in marital bliss.

Putting bedbug pictures in the U.S. Post Office does no good. They are undetectable until blood is streaming across the bed sheets. By that time you realize that you have a crisis that pushes global warming to the second most important threat facing America. If you think otherwise, you have never had a bedbug attack.


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