Dear Amy: I host a dinner once a year for a group of friends. One of the couples in our group told us they have bedbugs in their house. They are NOT doing anything about it. They moved the furniture away from the wall and seem to think that's all they need to do.
I am terrified to have someone bring bedbugs into my house. I don't know what to do. How do I get out of having the dinner at my house?
I don't want to hurt their feelings or make a big deal in front of all of our friends. Please help with a solution or an excuse.
Dear Dilemma: I shared your letter with Jody Gangloff-Kaufmann, an entomologist at Cornell University, who specializes in Cimex lectularius, commonly known as bedbugs. Our conversation actually made me itch with anxiety.
People can transfer bedbugs on their clothing, bags, shoes or coats. Gangloff-Kaufmann said: "If someone has a bedbug problem at home that they are not addressing, they will probably end up with bedbugs in their clothing. It is negligent not to deal with them responsibly. It's like having the flu; you have a responsibility to try not to transmit it to other people." For more information and tips, check the website nysipm.cornell.edu.
Your friends were open about their bedbug problem; you should be open with them about the consequence: "I'm extremely afraid of a bedbug infestation. I'm very sorry, but I don't think you should come to our house until you've definitely eradicated the problem at your house."
You might want to meet for a cookout at a local park instead of hosting this event indoors.
Dear Amy: I thought your response to "Confused in the Country" was ridiculous. Why shouldn't people spend an occasional night away from their partners, for goodness' sake?
Dear Disgusted: As I said in my answer, some couples routinely do this — by mutual agreement. But if one partner suddenly declares he wants to have a slumber party with the guys to "play board games," I think it's natural to wonder why.