Sunday, August 03, 2008

Upper East Side: "Home of the Bed Bug Beagle"

Never in my wildest dreams (nightmares?) did I ever expect I'd find myself living in Binghamton, New York . . . blogging . . . about bed bugs. Here goes . . .

I was in NYC this weekend, enjoying a stroll through the very swanky Upper East Side, when I noticed this attention-grabbing truck. "Assured Environments" is the self-proclaimed "Home of the Bed Bug Beagle." I recalled that I'd written about bed bugs in NYC before, and I thought I'd revisit the issue and see what's up with bed bugs in 2008.

Turns out, NYC is facing a resurgence of the buggers, after largely eradicating them in the 20th century. People blame the uptick (pun intended!) on several factors: increased immigration from third world countries, inexpensive/increased international travel, and the banning of powerful pesticides (DDT, anyone?).

The part I didn't realize is that they don't just infest scummy flophouses (although please note the first sentence of that NY Times article I just linked to, which includes a "hobo" reference- BONUS!) but are equal-opportunity invaders. In hindsight, I should have parked myself near that bed-bug-beagle-blaring-bus and listened to the fussy, rich, plastic-faced ladies of the UES as they discovered the unwanted carriage outside.

Seriously, how bummed are you to find that van parked outside? In densely-packed NYC, with its common-walls and interconnected housing units, your neighbor's bed bugs are your bedbugs. I can hear the blame-game beginning: "I think Flavio brought them in- he's always taking business trips to Rome. I bet he returns with a suitcase full of them!" or "I saw Buffy's butler tossing empty bottles of DDT down the garbage chute- trying a home remedy, I say!"

So this company, Allied Environments, is pretty smart to capitalize on people's deep-rooted fear of bed bugs, and couple it with their equally-strong love for all things fluffy, like the sweet-faced beagle. Apparently you can literally train dogs to sniff out anything- from cocaine to peanut butter to bed bugs. And beagles are waaaay better house guests than DDT.

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