Domestic Terrorists Bed Bugs Invade the Big Apple

New York City and its surrounding boroughs have always been known for its robust population of vermin—rats and cockroaches have been part and parcel of city life ever since the Dutch settled here and founded New Amsterdam. While roach and rat populations have been largely controlled in the last few decades thanks to advances in insecticides, poison baits, and traps, another, perhaps even ickier pest critter has risen to take headlines and haunt city dwellers: the bed bug. According to the National Pest Management Association, complaints of bed bug infestation increased by 71 percent between 2000 and 2005, and the city's exterminators are reporting record numbers of calls about the problem.

Know Thy Enemy

Bed bugs are wingless insects (order: heteroptera, family: cimicidae, in case you've always wondered), having three main body parts and six legs, and are so small that they are nearly undetectable to the untrained eye (adults reach about one-quarter inch when fully grown). They travel in sneaky ways, as stowaways in luggage, and in more brazen ways—like across the ceiling and dropping onto you while you sleep. Their reclusive nature and tendency to hide in very hard-to-reach places have earned them a reputation for being at the top of the current most-insidious pest list.

Bed bugs feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals. Some afflict birds, some afflict bats, and some of them have a taste for human blood. With a very flat, oval-shaped body, they are experts at crevice hiding, and can lie dormant for extended periods, waiting for the next meal to appear.

Bed bugs get the signal to forage when they taste the scent of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the dark. Nighttime typically means increased production of CO2 while we sleep, and that's when the pests emerge to sip drops of blood from their host.

The process of biting is actually painless, but the bug injects a small amount of saliva into the wound, which then may cause an allergic reaction in some people. This is usually the first signal that a home may be infested.


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  • If a condo has bedbugs, does a seller have to tell a prospective buyer? If a condo unit has bedbugs, can the owner treat just his/her unit without notifying any neighbors or the building? If some condos in the building have bedbugs, do all sellers of all units have to notify prospective buyers that there are bedbugs in the building? can one owner sue another owner about not reporting or treating bedbugs?
  • who do I call to exterminate?
  • Most effective and simlpe tool for making sleeping place and clothes bed bug free is a micro-wave oven.I am amazed not one of your articles mentions this and should be the first thing anyone who has just discovered bedbugs should equip themselves with.As soon as you awake put each duvet cover, pillow case, sheet, pyjama, pants, night wear- whatever you were wearing in the Micro wave SEPERATELY.For that reason buy small size pillows that will fit in your microwave.This is a serious business and you must equip yourself with the correct hardware so that YOU CAN SLEEP SOUNDLY AGAIN.No Sleep is awful and you must get back good sleep before you will have the strength to really get seriousAlso if you live alone a good long mirror to observe the centre section of your own back as it is very hard to inspect this.You will need a small mirror as well to hold in your hand.Buy lots of small hooks and clothes hangers to allow you to suspend as many clothing items as possible.I know you advise that hair is good prevention against bites but first need is to FIND them so SHAVE OFF ALL BODY hair.It is no good not being sure that they are there or not. You have to know FOR SURE.gO TO CHEMIST and buy a small disposable syringe so that you can suck in freshly boiled water to drop VERY hot (not boiling obviously) in small locations where you think there may be a bug. This prevents you scratching and will kill the bastard.PLEASE ADVISE public to test how hot they can stand the water.I dont want to scald anybody but if you apply the very hot water from the syringe in small drops it will cause NO HARM but kill the little critter.It is useful when you find them on your sheets too as they die in one piece and can be removed without mess.Get a hairdryer.First vaacuum your floor/carpet as well as possible with a NEW VacuumBag, which you will use only for anti bed bug vaccuuming.Now get hairdryer and turn on and test how close it needs to be to SCALD (not burn) your carpet. Go over the carpet systematically. It takes ages but this is the best way I know of steralising your carpet of eggs, which WILL BE THERE.Also you can use the Hairdryer to go over your body.When they feel the heat the buggers drop off. So stands on a white material AND YOU WILL SEE THEM.I have just got over a bed bug attack and because I quickly found out that ALL SPRAYS ARE USELESS I had to work out how to get my normal life back.Going without sleep is really horrible experience.And any sane person will dread the thought of those little fokkers crawling through your hair and back.One night I felt them on my back and spun over, removed my shirt and TWO fell out and started to crawl away.They are very clever and know EXACTLY which part of your body you cannot inspect.If this has been any help please get back to me and I will provide more advice and will be prepared to write out a complete effective way of treating this problem as all sprays are of little help beyond giving you a worse rash than the bugs themselves.
  • Thank you Govinda for the microwave idea. I am also grateful you mention that they will sometimes stay on you. All other website comments say they bite and they retreat off the body. But I know that there are some that seem to stay in my hair. Also, a couple of the bites have lasted for many weeks now. I would like to hear more about ho ou were able to get rid of them. I have called an exterminator but they are too busy with their hotel clients and won't be able to come for several weeks.