Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Don’t Let the Bedbugs Bite

Shira Yehudit Djlilmand

An unstoppable foe has invaded the US. As thousands suffer from the trauma of these little warriors — better known as bedbugs — the traditional “Sleep well, sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite” is no longer a joke. And these bloodsucking bugs are no respecters of religion or rank; rich and poor, Jew and non-Jew, secular and chareidi — everyone is suffering. Mishpacha investigates how the frum communities of New York and New Jersey are faring in the bedbug battle.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

“What I found was enough to make my insides turn — I was so disgusted, incensed, mortified.”

“I was totally hysterical. It’s a horrible feeling — you feel as if you’re being invaded.”

“I couldn’t believe what I saw — it made me so nauseous.”

These were the reactions of three different frum Jews, in three different locations, on discovering bedbugs in their home. The initial shock of finding such unpleasant intruders is bad enough, but what follows is equally traumatic — the shame, the inconvenience, the cost, and the emotional turmoil.

In the last few years, it seems that these tiny bloodsucking bugs have all but taken over America. Although bedbugs were all but eradicated in the US by the 1950s, they have now returned with a vengeance, reaching epidemic proportions. According to the US National Pest Management Association, since 2001 there has been a 71 percent increase in bedbug infestations; in New York alone last year, there were 10,985 complaints and 4,084 verified infestations. The bugs show no respect for rank or status, having already invaded such prestigious addresses as the United Nations, the offices of former US President Bill Clinton, and the Empire State Building.

Difficult to detect and tough to eradicate, the bedbugs also spread like wildfire, traveling on clothing and between apartments, making the epidemic impossible to control. “It spreads geometrically, with the potential to affect anyone,” reported the owner of the Lakewood-based ThermaRid extermination company. “It doesn’t matter where you live — Flatbush, Lakewood, Williamsburg; if you go out of the house, you have a problem.” In frum communities, especially the larger communities in New York and Lakewood, everyone has been hit, from yeshivos and nursing homes to shops, offices, and private homes.


To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription.

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

Out with the Girls
Yonoson Rosenblum Another progressive revolution that eats its own
And I Will Glorify Him
Eytan Kobre Herman Wouk “made G-d a bestseller”
What You've Learned
Alexandra Fleksher Allow me to let you in on what school is all about
Going Broke
Mishpacha Readers Reader feedback for “The Kids Are Going to Camp..."
Top 5 Ways Jews Try to Lose Weight
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin Gaining weight and talking about losing weight
He Soaked Up Our Pain
Rabbi Yaakov Klein A tribute to Reb Shlomo Cheshin ztz”l
Leaving on a High Note
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman And then it happened. I knew it would
Family Matters
Baruch S. Fertel, MD, MPA, FACEP Not the answers they teach in medical school
Play the Night Away
Riki Goldstein May we all share simchahs, no strings attached!
Fast Thinking
Faigy Peritzman How we react when we're exempt from a mitzvah
Baalat Teshuvah
Rachel Karasenti Don’t ask, “So how did you become frum?”
Confessions of a PhD Graduate
Sarah Chana Radcliffe When it comes to parenting, we’re always learning
Dear Favorite Little Sis
Anonymous I ended up wanting to be like you
Who's Making My Phone Calls?
Sara Eisemann Should I be upfront that I’m calling for myself?