Washington, DC

by Prince Of Petworth September 28, 2010 at 10:10 pm 22 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user fromcaliw/love

“Dear PoP,

My nephews were sent home from Day Care Monday because they may or may not have seen a bite on one of them last week. They will not be allowed back to day care until we get an exterminator out to check our home for bed bugs. The kids have no strange bites and we have not seen any bed bugs in the house. They also didn’t mention this last week when they may have seen the bite.

The exterminators we have called will not come out to the house until we can verify that we have bed bugs so that they can treat the problem. One of the companies mentioned that if the Day Care had no proof that one of the kids had a bite, they can not legally send them home or bar them from going back. They also said that the day care can’t request documentation that exterminators can not legally provide (letter of proof of no bed bugs).

Should I spend $500 for an exterminator to come and treat 1 room in order to have documentation that we have been treated?”

Wow, this sounds like hysteria. Not that I would minimize the fear of bed bugs [we spoke about their stigma and difficulty in exterminating here] but how could the Day Care even tell that the bite was a bed bug bite rather than say a mosquito? What do you guys think – is this absurd or is the day care just being cautious? What should the writer of this letter do?

by Prince Of Petworth July 22, 2010 at 2:30 pm 1,778 33 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user AWard Tour

“Dear PoP,

I’m writing on behalf of a friend of mine. She is Ethiopian and lives in an apartment on 13th St., NW. She has been having problems with bedbugs and contacted her landlord. She tells me that her landlord responded that it wasn’t his responsibility and that only his Ethiopian tenants had problems with bedbugs. I don’t know about that but it seems he does have a responsibility to take action on the bug infestation. What would you advise?”

We learned how devastating bed bugs can be last week. I would think that it is absolutely the responsibility of the landlord to attempt to treat this problem with regular extermination visits. Does anyone know what government office should be contacted for this situation? DCRA?

by Prince Of Petworth July 15, 2010 at 2:30 pm 1,902 43 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user rockcreek

“Dear PoP,

We moved into our DC row house about a year ago. Within three months, my wife started getting bitten by some kind of insect at night that caused painful allergic reactions that swelled, itched, and literally keep her from sleeping. It’s a nightmare.

We contracted a pest control company, who quickly discovered we had bed bugs. After 5 or 6 home treatments with heavy chemicals (it normally only takes two)…the bed bugs are a bad as ever.

We finally hired a pest control company with a bed bug-sniffing dog to come and try and identify the source of the bugs, and during the course of the inspection the pest inspector became increasing convinced the bed bugs were coming from our next-door neighbor’s row house, with whom we share a brick wall.

He knocked on their door, and they actually let him bring the bug-sniffing dog inside, who immediately signaled they had bed bugs too. In reality, he didn’t need the dog because he said he could literally see bugs crawling on their walls. They also told him that they “get bitten all the time”, yet have done nothing about it.

I am guessing that part of the reason why they’ve done nothing is because that bed bug treatment of a typical DC row house can range from $1K-$3K…and our neighbors are a low-income household.

But the following realization hit us like a ton of bricks. No matter what we do…as long as our neighbor has bed bugs…we will too. Which brings me to my question.

Does anyone know if there are any DC government programs that provide bed bug treatment services to low-income households? Is there anyway to “seal off” the porous brick walls of a DC row house to keep bugs from coming through? Has anyone been in a similar situation…and how did they successfully deal with it?”

This is a terrifying scenario. I know bed bugs have also hit New York City pretty badly. Any advice or suggestions for this particular situation besides moving?

by Prince Of Petworth March 14, 2012 at 2:30 pm 28 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user [email protected]

Dear PoPville,

I work in agricultural policy and this was forwarded to me today. The DC Council is proposing some serious restrictions on pesticides that could really limit their use for the treatment of roaches, bed bugs, and other urban pests.

“DC City Council member Mary Cheh (D), chair of the Committee on Environment, Public Works and Transportation, introduced the “Pesticide Education and Control Amendment of 2012.” This measure would require the District Department of Environment to classify all US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered pesticides as either “minimum risk” or “restricted use” pesticides. Under this measure, any conventional pesticide may be classified as a restricted use pesticide, even if such a designation is not given by the U.S. EPA. The bill would forbid any pesticide designated as restricted use from being applied to public property, schools, child-occupied facilities or water-way contingent property. In addition, the legislation contains a definition of integrated pest management that would only allow the use of pesticides only as a last resort. Passage of this ordinance would affect the availability and use of pesticides in the District of Columbia. This legislation could limit the pesticides that could be used in the district to control rodents, bed bugs, cockroaches and other pests often found in DC apartment buildings.”

by Prince Of Petworth January 20, 2012 at 2:15 pm 7 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user pablo.raw

Folks are still digesting yesterday’s topics but this interesting question popped up on the rant or revel that I’m curious to know what you think:

“So, bed bugs are extremely horrible, right? Say you found an awesome studio apartment at a great price that you really really want, but then discovered that it had like 15 complaints on bedbugregistry.com. It would be a BAD IDEA to move there, right?! Right? I am still tempted to test my luck…”

We spoke about one reader’s experience with bed bugs here and here and Tony’s battle with them here.

You can find all the forum topics here and items for sale in the classifieds here.

by Prince Of Petworth August 2, 2011 at 2:30 pm 46 Comments

“Dear PoPville,

I’m moving out of a mostly-furnished house to an unfurnished one and need something to sleep on. Can your readers recommend where to buy a decent, not insanely expensive mattress and box spring in DC? (I have a wooden bed frame I’d like to keep, so I’m not looking at futons- though I will be sleeping on an air mattress until I figure this out.) I’m too leery of bed bugs to go the CL/freecycle route, and I mostly hear bad stuff about mattress stores (like Sleepy’s, etc.). How do people feel about the cheaper options at Ikea – doable? Any other good options out there?”

Along the same lines, I’ve always wondered if it is worth waiting for those advertised sales like “this weekend only” that I often see around President Day, 4th of July, Memorial Day etc.?

by Prince Of Petworth April 14, 2011 at 11:00 am 1,617 14 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user jimbographer

“Dear PoP,

Last week, I discovered termites on my floor and my landlord sent in an exterminator to treat my studio apartment and the one directly below mine. Last night, I discovered live and dead termites in my apartment once again and contacted my landlord. Supposedly an exterminator is on his way, but I have serious concerns that my landlord will only implement cosmetic fixes rather than treating the entire building. I’ve already scheduled an inspection with Terminix and gave them the number of my landlord. What else (if anything) should I do? This is causing me a lot of stress in an apartment I otherwise love!”

I don’t think you need to stress too much. I say this because you are renting and don’t own the unit. If you owned the unit – I’d say it is completely understandable to stress out. However as a renter, while termites most def. suck they do not pose the same issues as bed bugs. Termites are a complete pain in the ass and do a lot of damage to wood structures, so they should absolutely be exterminated. Of course you don’t want them in your apartment at all and just because they won’t bite you doesn’t mean they aren’t unpleasant to see. I believe they only swarm in the spring and then hopefully you won’t see them anymore. Now don’t get me wrong – the landlord really needs to get rid of these – but as a tenant – I don’t think it should cause too much stress if the landlord treats and cleans your apartment. It is in the landlords best interest to get rid of them but I don’t think you need to worry too much.

Of course I’m just guessing and could be completely wrong…

What do you guys think? Have any renters encountered termites? How did the landlord deal with the situation?

by Prince Of Petworth July 28, 2010 at 9:10 pm 49 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user Mr. T in DC

Imagine not being able to taste the above? It sounds like a Seinfeld episode but:

“Dear PoP,

Here’s what may at first sound like a really weird question for your readers: has anyone else in the CH/Petworth area recently come down with a case of “pine mouth?” It is a condition where a person suddenly has a persistent and horribly bitter metallic taste in their mouth that can last for weeks. It is apparently caused by bad pine nuts, and makes ones life pretty miserable because all food and drink tastes like cr*p. I mention it to you because I just got it from pine nuts I bought at the CH Giant last week. I was extremely perplexed (and a bit concerned) by what was happening, and finally tracked down the likely cause to those damn nuts. So now I am wondering if others in the area are suffering from it as well.

And, no, I’m not making this up.

You can get more information about “pine mouth” here:


Holy cow, first bed bugs, now this. I’m starting to freak out.  For real, has anyone else experienced this bizarre condition?


Subscribe to our mailing list