Killing Bedbugs. Is the City’s Parasitic Nightmare Finally Over?

Die, bedbugs, die. (Thats also German for The, bedbugs, the.)

  • Die, bedbugs, die. (That’s also German for “The, bedbugs, the.”)

House guests are the worst, right? Especially ones that live in your bed and suck your blood and just won’t go away no matter how many times you try to poison them, slowly driving yourself crazy and forcing you to look for a new apartment in what is definitely not a renters’ market. Well, there might finally be a way to get rid of the parasitic house guests otherwise known as bed bugs. Science still hasn’t found a way to make your hippie roommate’s couch-surfing friend disappear in a humane way, but science can’t do everything, you know?

But so anyway, BEDBUGS. These little blood-suckers have been the scourge of New York for years and there hasn’t been any really foolproof way of getting rid of them. Until now. Maybe.

The New York Times reports of a potential way for people to get rid of bed bugs without spending thousands of dollars on a new mattress, new clothes, fumigation, or even moving. The answer might be something called ivermectin, a pill that is commonly used for dogs as a deworming medication. Dr. Johnathan M. Sheele discovered that, after giving test subjects a deworming pill, the following scenario occured: “You take the pill and go to bed — perchance even to sleep, if you can sleep knowing how patiently bedbugs wait in your walls or mattress, sniffing for the sweet stream of your exhaled carbon dioxide and for your warm skin to grow still. You let them bite you. And then — in a few days — they die.”

Die. Dead. For, like, ever. This method of killing is called “xenointoxication” which means “poisoning the guest” and is also just a beautiful word, which helps when you’re talking about death. Talking about death using beautiful words is one of my favorite things to do. It softens the blow.

But, could this strategy actually work? Should I start selling my mini-Schnauzer’s heart worm meds on the black bedbug market? Probably not. Because, while, Dr. Peter J. Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine says that Dr. Sheele’s idea is, “Maybe partially crazy. But not entirely crazy,” it still wouldn’t be the best thing to just start knocking back your dog’s worm medication. Basically, ivermectin is not usually used for the sustained amount of time that would be necessary to adequately vanquish the dreaded bedbug, and so it might not be a totally safe treatment. This despite the reassurance of “Dr. Frank O. Richards Jr., a parasitologist at the Carter Center in Atlanta who has spent years running programs in Africa and Asia that give out ivermectin donated by Merck to fight river blindness.” Dr. Richards “has tracked women in his river-blindness programs who took ivermectin before realizing they were pregnant, [and] he said, ‘and all their babies were cool.’”

Well, then. I don’t see what the problem is. If all the babies “were cool” what is there to be worried about? All I’m saying is that at any sign of bed bugs, feel free to get in touch with me rather than with your local veterinarian who might have “ethical” qualms about giving you dog meds, and I can hook you up. I’ve got a lot of pills stocked up because I always forget to give them to my dog. Oops.

Follow Kristin Iversen on twitter @kmiversen


  1. It may waste time to vacuum, clear, and wash everywhere everything every day because chemical residue or steam can’t kill bed bugs behind wall and a bug may lay up to 300 eggs. DE powder slowly kills bed bugs which bite and lay eggs before they die.

    Only a bed sized bed bug trap immediately solves bed bug problem by your self. A dish sized CO2 trap catches bed bugs. Its only problem is that most bed bugs attack people instead of CO2 lure. You can scale up the trap size from dish to bed size. You sleep at center of the bed sized trap as an inaccessible lure. More than 99.9 % bed bug feeding time is at night, they can’t bite you at night when you are at center of the trap. Search “Bed Sized Bed Bug Trap” to find out why all of bed bugs will starve within 3 months and why they may live for one year in a refrigerator and why you can immediately solve the problem with 100% confidence.
    Most exterminators don’t know this method and you can do a much better job than exterminators.


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