Bed Bugs Bugging You – You’re Not Alone

Bed Bugging in Brooklyn – You’re Not Alone

Have you ever had to deal with bed bugs?

If you live in NYC – you know someone that has Bed Bugs  (I know you do)

New York City

Can you spot a Bed Bug - they can spot you

Oh, don’t run away from this post. Come back⎯I’m trying to help you out! I’m going to save you a lot of stress and heartache. I have never had to deal with bed bugs in person, but I have had to deal with them from 3,000 miles away.

When my son and his roommates discovered they had bed bugs in the apartment they love and live in, we had a major problem. We had to deal with a landlord who was not really concerned for the kids. I, on the other hand, was more than concerned. It’s not that I was worried about the kids’ health, but it was a pesky situation. My son, sweet and honest as he is, called his company to let them know about the bedbugs. He told them he would return to work as soon the situation was handled and the apartment was clean.

My first thought was, “Get those kids out of that place, throw away all their stuff, decontaminate everything they can’t toss, and move on. That would be impractical, though, and they were well on their way to handling the situation. Or so they thought…

They quickly learned that it was not a problem they could solve on their own. The main lesson was that they had to work with a professional and their landlord. I have learned some good hints and tips, and some dos and don’ts, to help you out if you’re ever in this situation. I’m here to pass them along so you don’t get bed bugged.

When you’re looking to rent a place in NYC or anywhere, even if you don’t think it’s necessary, you should definitely check for bed bugs. You need to ask, but you also have to look around. Look in the crevices and the floor cracks. Anywhere you can see that might be a good hiding ground⎯look.

Can you spot the Bed Bugs

What are you looking for? The insects are tiny brown specks that look like coffee grounds. They sometimes leave red splotches on bed sheets, indicating the insect fed on human blood and then was crushed. They may lay tiny white eggs, and nearly always leave behind little dark spots of fecal matter.

If you find bed bugs in your residence, the best advice I have read is to stay in your place and sleep in your own bed. Stay put⎯you don’t want to bring the bugs with you into another room, or transfer them to another piece of furniture or a friend’s house. The bed bugs need to be treated while you’re still living your life and sleeping in your bed. You’re the bait. If you leave, some will travel with you, and the ones that remain will go dormant when you leave your space. They will come back when they need to feed again, and that could be 18 months away.

If you find bed bugs, save them. Place them on a piece of tape and show the pest control professionals, your landlords, and your roommates. They are hard to find, and you may find only the speck of feces they leave behind. Save them and share them (with professionals) to make sure you’re getting the right treatment.

Storage Locker

Don’t try to treat them yourself⎯get a pest control professional in there as soon as possible. There are lots of things you can do to help, if you do them properly. If you seal up your items in bags, make sure the items and the bags are free of bugs. Try to find the special strips that will kill the bugs. Wash your clothes, and then seal them in bags. Wear only the clean clothes from the clean bags until the area has been treated.

As BedBugged in Brooklyn puts it:

“…also, about clothes….once used, they need to go into a ziplock bag for soiled clothes. once washed, they go into the clean clothes ziplock bag. I won’t say what you should do, but I’m only using a small amount of clothes, and washing every 4 or 5 days. only 2 sets of brand new sheets are used for my beds, one may be in the laundry ziplock, while the clean one is on the bed. all old sheets are not used…most were tossed out.”

This may take many treatments. It’s best to do the treatments no more than two weeks apart, but ask the pest control professionals what they recommend. Also, if you try to treat only the area where you see the bugs, you may force them to another area of your home. This makes the problem worse in the long run.

“Each year the challenges of fighting bed bugs change and grow,” said James Bell, CEO of Protect-A-Bed, a company that makes mattress encasement products to keep bed bugs away from their human prey. “Now that the industry has begun working together it’s easier to see the best way forward.”


Image via Wikipedia

For great information, and to stay informed, go to the Protect-A-Bed website ( They have information onsite and a Bed Bug 101 app for iPhone. There is no need to panic, and the best advice is to get a mattress protector to save your bed and your sanity.

Protect-A-Bed sponsored our Chicagonistalive show.

Protect-A-Bed products feature patented BuckLock® with Secure Seal® technologies. More information about bed bug management solutions and Protect-A-Bed is available at

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Do you fear Strawberries? Fear No More!!

Strawberries – I will not fear you anymore!!

Last week I was invited to attend a California Strawberries “Paint Chicago Red” event hosted by the California Strawberry Commission. I wanted to go because frankly for the past few years I’ve been a bit frightened by that sweet red little strawberry. It has gotten some bad press and I heard bits and pieces about pesticides used, and that many of the pesticides could not even be washed off. But look at these babies! How could you not want to pick them up and eat them?

The good news about strawberries continues to grow. Studies from around the world continue to show the positive effects that strawberries have on disease prevention, including cancer and heart disease, anti-aging, brain function and overall good health

At the Chicago event hosted by MJ Tam was an actual California strawberry farmer. The Commission brought in George Chavez, a strawberry grower who answered our questions about growing techniques and freshness. I listened intently as he explained the growing process for these tasty, delightful, and nutritious berries. I was surprised to learn that strawberries are grown in California year-round. Another fact was that one serving of eight strawberries has more vitamin C than an orange, and that these little berries are packed with folate and fiber.

When George Chavez, asked us to pick up a strawberry that was on the table and eat it I was a bit taken aback. I always thoroughly wash them before eating. To my surprise, it was tasty, clean and bursting with flavor! After hearing more about the growing process I will no longer fear this little fruit. The standards in irrigation and growing of the California strawberries have protected their fruit from some of the health hazards that we had heard of other fruits having over the years.
I was delighted to learn about the cleanliness of the workers, the clean and well thought out growing conditions, and the access to sanitary growing fields.

If you go to the California Strawberry Commission you can learn more about the growers, “California strawberries are grown by family farmers who are good stewards of the land. The vast majority of strawberries that are consumed in the United States are grown by passionate growers from family owned and operated farms. You are invited to learn more about some of the farmers behind this highly-valued crop. Learn more about the farmers who grow one of the world’s favorite fruits.”

Quick fact…in the midwest a stawberry takes about 3-4 days to get from farm to our table.

California strawberries are ripe when harvested, which is a plus because you can see just by looking at the berry that it’s ready to eat. It should have a bright red color fresh looking leaves and the natural shine. When bringing strawberries home they should be refrigerated and kept dry until you’re going to use them. Just a gentle spray of water leaving the leaves on the strawberry and then a gentle lot dry and it’s ready to be eaten. You can twist the green leaves off.

Strawberry Gazpacho: 6 lbs. Fresh California strawberries, stemmed and chopped 2 1/4 pounds plum tomatoes, chopped 1 1/2 pounds English cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped 9 cloves garlic 3 jalapeño peppers 1 1/2 cups Sherry vinegar Salt and black pepper as needed.

Strawberries are so versatile they can be consumed hot or cold, fresh or frozen, in a drink, as a dessert, a salad appetizer, or a main. They are sweet are savory. A strawberry can be frozen and used as ice cubes, or in smoothies. Strawberries can take the place of tomatoes whether it’s a salad or a seafood dish, Assam or even salsa. I was surprised by this perky berry. I fell in love with this drink…A yummy strawberry cocktail, made  with  strawberries and Proscecco just add a mint leaf and it’s refreshing, simple easy with a strawberry fresh taste. This can also be made non-alcoholic  by substituting the Proscecco with sparkling white grape juice.

Ingredients 2 large or 3 small fresh California strawberries, stemmed 1/2-1 tablespoon simple syrup 2 slices lemon 6 ounces prosecco Crushed ice Mint leaf

Some of the dishes that we were served included; Strawberry Gazpacho, Strawberry and Goat cheese pizza, Strawberry basil balsamic Mojito, and a sweet Strawberry slider. I was impressed, my taste buds delighted, my fears addressed, and now I feel secure with buying my family California strawberries.

The CSC also brought in local Registered Dietician and author of "101 Optimal Life Foods", David Grotto to talk nutrition.

Midlifewife disclosure. I was invited to attend a this event hosted by founder, MJ Tam, the California Strawberry Commission. The opinions expressed herein are entirely my own.

To follow the California Strawberry on Twitter go to:

@CAStrawberries California
Follow us for recipes, nutrition tips, relevant news & other fun strawberry stuff!


To learn about California Strawberries visit:

Photographs taken by: Lahleyoo

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