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LORI WEBER MENKE: Supermom takes on bedbugs

“Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite.”

Growing up we must have heard this a million times. And never once did we give it a thought. After all weren’t bedbugs just something that was made up in this silly little saying we heard at bedtime?

That was until the late ’90s, when bedbugs were back in the news. They were real! At first I thought nothing of this. Oh, sure, we have stayed in hotels and every once in a while I would swear I felt something crawling on me, but in the morning, I would wake up bite-free and go on with my life.

Working at a newspaper, I have heard and read about bedbugs, and finally they showed up in Grand Forks. I will admit this gave me pause. When they were discovered in an apartment near our home I imagined bed bugs marching down and across the street to our home. YUCK!

But it wasn’t until my husband, Jayson, went on a recent business trip that bed bugs became more than someone else’s problem.

Jayson had been on a four-day business trip, and when he returned home he mentioned that he had some spots on his stomach. I looked at them and thought they looked like bug bites but wasn’t really sure. Finally, he called me at work, and after doing some Googling about his symptoms, he came to the following conclusion: BEDBUGS.

Needless to say, I totally freaked out. All I could think about was the fact that his suitcase was in our basement by the laundry room. What if he had transported the bed bugs home with him as a little souvenir?

I myself took to the Google. I can safely say I may have read every article written and looked at every picture posted to the web. My conclusion was the same — BEDBUGS!

I found myself getting itchy. Soon I was checking myself for bug bites. I did indeed have one on my arm. The sky was falling at this point. I was ready to tent the house.

My husband, being a little more rational than me, made a doctor’s appointment to get a professional opinion. I, being a new bedbug expert, headed home.

I crept into our basement (so I didn’t scare the bed bugs) and canvassed the area surrounding the suitcase looking for any signs of the little critters. Discovering nothing, I tossed the suitcase — contents and all — into our yard. The neighbors probably thought my husband was getting kicked out.

Next, anything near the suitcase area was thrown into the hot water cycle of the washing machine. Not having found any actual bugs or eggs, I returned to work calmer and a little more collected. My supervisor probably thought I needed a mental health day.

After what seemed like hours later, Jayson finally called and let me know he did not have bed bug bites — it was shingles.

Well, I guess WebMD missed that one.

I wish I could say I felt bad for my husband that he had shingles, but all I could think was, “Thank God it isn’t bed bugs” — and that I had better call and cancel the exterminator.

Until next time,


Weber is a super-mother of two and multimedia manager for the Herald. She can be reached at or (701) 780-1113.