“Sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite” is a common -- if not totally gross -- thing many parents tell their children at night. But chances are, you never gave those creepy crawlers a second thought until you moved to New York City.
Unfortunately, the horror of a bed bug infestation is a pretty common experience in NYC. According to pest control company Orkin’s annual Top 50 Bed Bugs List, confirmed cases of bed bugs increased during 2015, making New York City the fourth-worst urban region in the nation for these pests. Local exterminators at M&M Pest Control agree.
“The bedbug threat has definitely gotten worse over the years,” confirmed client service representatives at M&M Stephanie Kollgaard and Hunter Konkle, as well as directors Kevin Carrillo and Timothy Wong. “Incoming requests for bedbug treatment or inspections have grown consistently by 20% annually for the past several years.”
But let’s back up a little bit. If you don’t already know, bed bugs are parasitic insects that have a particular penchant for human blood. While they have not been known to transmit diseases, they are literal ankle biters and will turn your mattress into a colony. And it’s not something a New Yorker should take lightly: Bed bugs can be picked up everywhere from the R train to a swanky hotel.
Despite common misconceptions, bed bugs do not target messy or dirty apartments (though that certainly makes it easier for the insects to go unnoticed). Everyone is at risk, and the chances of picking up a bed bug are infinitely greater in metropolitan areas, where people move often and quickly. Increased travel and foot traffic brings a spike during the summer months.
More than anything, bed bugs will screw with your head. After my own traumatic bed bug experience, I slipped into what can only be described as post-traumatic infestation disorder. I had nightmares about them, thought every piece of fuzz on my comforter was a nag, and scoured my sheets obsessively before bed.
Whether you think you have an infestation or want to protect yourself against the enemy, this step-by-step guide will tell you everything you need to know (and hopefully never have to use) about dealing with bed bugs.