Interview With a Vampire Stalker: Bedbug Registrar Talks

In our recent report on the local bedbug plague, we cited a scary map covered with red dots that identified infestation sites. The map comes from the Bedbug Registry, which also performs this service for San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, Boston, Toronto, and Vancouver.

The Registry is the brainchild of Maciej Ceglowski, a San Francisco computer programmer who first encountered bedbugs in a local motel ("Woke up with bites and found dying bedbug by lamp," he commented at his own site. "Decided to start this registry").

We did a little tracking and found "Sleeping Is Giving In," Ceglowski's gripping, poetic account of the incident and his ensuing interest in bedbugs.

Ceglowski wrote then that the Registry was "a valuable act of closure." But in an email interview, he told us that hadn't stopped worrying about bedbugs. In fact, he said, "I worry about them more and more."

"Over the past two months, three different friends of mine have encountered bedbugs," said Ceglowski, "and running the registry shows me in even starker terms just how quickly the creatures [are] spreading. So far I haven't seen anyone offering a treatment strategy that I would call effective, and I know the problem will only get worse for the next couple of years."

Today, every time Ceglowski checks into a hotel, he performs a detailed spot check. "I pull up sheets and look at the mattress seams for any sign of black or red spots (bedbug scat or blood)," he told us. "I also peer behind the bedboard, in any visible thin cracks in the night table and other potential hiding spots."

He advises that you do the same -- and, of course, check the Registry before booking a room, as it includes hotels and motels to which readers have alerted him (including Disney's Old Key West Resort in Orlando, Florida and the Four Seasons in San Francisco).

Speaking of that, we asked if he'd ever been sued over the Registry. "I've received a number of emails threatening legal action from various landlords and management companies," he said. "Fortunately none of these emails have [resulted] in subpoenas or a lawsuit, but I figure it's only a matter of time."

If you have bedbugs in your home, Ceglowski recommends you consult Bedbugger, "particularly the posts by people who have successfully rid themselves of a bedbug problem. It can be done, it just requires a lot of attention to detail and great patience."

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