Symbiosis is the scientific concept that verifies our inherent yet widely differing belief in this “circle of life.” Parasites — if, that word doesn’t send a shiver down your spine, you clearly have chosen to ignore the ever-increasing bedbug outbreaks across America by covering the incident with a warmed blanket of suppression. Bedbugs are creatures that have to loot their way through life, and they come to mammals to do so. They’re leaving the backs of mice and latching onto mankind for food, conquering our restaurants, movie theatres, and of course, our beds. The worst thing about these miniscule blood thieves is that they can travel from place to place with ease, and many of the misconceptions about how they end up in certain locations are never elucidated. We seem to know only the symptoms, not the causes.
Sanitation has essentially no correlation to the prevalence of bedbugs in certain areas. They’ve been discovered in 5 star hotels, in celebrity homes, and in metropolitan hubs home to some of the most influential people in the world. It’s annoying that we can’t defend ourselves against these pests with Lysol wipes and ammonia. It takes weeks to completely wipe them out — time that no one has — and the only treatment is for the affected people to abandon their living space, buy some new clothing and linens, and hope that they don’t return. While clutter will not attract bedbugs, if they infiltrate your living quarters, it will make it much harder to exterminate them. Don’t afford these uncouth visitors hiding quarters.
Cleanliness is a calming factor for us when we begin to worry about these disturbances. Order and prestige are valued qualities in a space, so we naturally attribute disease and toxins to inhabit the decrepit corners of society. We fear ubiquity. We will fail to prevent problems like this if we continue to classify the outbreak in this manner. The blame for an infestation should be pressed upon the students, not Housekeeping or Maintenance.
The only way to avoid becoming infected is also probably the most obvious; don’t get near them. If you hear about an outbreak in a certain area, avoid it. If you think you may have contracted the parasite somewhere, don’t haul your luggage across the country. If people were more responsible for their health then we most likely wouldn’t have a Bedbug frenzy occurring today.
Bedbug nation has not invaded the residence halls of the College William and Mary. Students who think they may have Bedbugs or been somewhere that could have had them should be held accountable for seeking the proper remedies. Dormitories with incidences across the nation have been forced to close, order fumigations of all the mattresses, and send hundreds of students off campus. We do not need this distraction; it is entirely preventable. Students can choose whether or not they want to become tormented slaves to these tiny, yet fierce hunters and choice is perhaps our greatest weapon in times such as these.