Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Batty as Bedbugs

Few things incite quite as much panic as bedbugs. People will discard some of their most valued possessions if they're proven to be infested. And there have been several cases of bedbugs in NYC schools. In fact, there's a protocol for dealing with them.

Now you don't want to be the boy (or girl) who cried bedbug. And if you do cry, try not to do it in front of 34 kids. The whole insane panic thing will likely not serve anyone very well.

In any case, simply seeing the actual critter is not gonna do it for you. If you want the DOE to marshal their vast bed of knowledge against this scourge, you're gonna have to prove you saw it. One way to do this by sending them the actual bug, which I'm not gonna advocate. For one thing, who knows what happens to the bug between the time it goes into the envelope and gets out? For another, I know dozens of horror stories about things sent to the DOE that simply disappeared. That's why you send anything and everything to them return receipt requested.

Your other alternative is to photograph the little critters and send photos to the DOE. They likely won't bother to lose them because you can always resend them. And it's always better for them to deal with it immediately than for you to call one of the tabloids and embarrass them even further. Who really knows what goes on between the ears of DOE operatives? But still, that seems the best way to deal with it.

Should you succeed at persuading them there are bedbugs in your building, they will send their crack employees over to do whatever it is they do. Your custodians won't do this particular gig. Hopefully, they will eradicate the little bugs, buggers, or whatever they are and you won't need a return visit.

Whatever you do, don't crush the little things and flush them. Then you'll have no evidence to give the DOE folk, and they won't follow up. You'll be stuck freaking out over little bugs that may or may not still be around.

I'm not completely sure it's a good policy, but I do understand the DOE not wanting to send exterminators all over the place based on hearsay. I'm fortunate enough to have no idea what bedbugs look like and I hope to stay that way.

But one of the strongest characteristics of this job is never knowing exactly what's gonna happen next. While I certainly hope this isn't the next thing that happens to you, if it is, I hope this little post has prepared you in some small way.
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