Turns out, the phrase comes from somewhere and it isn’t pretty. These little blood-sucking insects live in your mattress and feed off you unnoticed while you sleep, leaving a wake of itchy, mosquito-ish bites. As if that isn’t miserable enough, to get rid of these suckers (literally) it will probably cost you over $1,000. The good news is that bedbug infestations in NYC have risen 103% since 2007, with 11,000 bed bug complaints and 4,084 infestations last year, and they are making their way across the country. Some nursery rhyme, huh?
Bedbugs are undoubtedly one of my worst fears. Adult bedbugs can live for 12 months without feeding, which means a whole colony/town/country can grow in your mattress before you realize the severity of the situation. And let me tell you, it is hella severe. If infested, all linens in your apartment must be washed in warm water and dried on hot- clothes, rugs, sheets, jackets, etc. The mattress either needs to be thrown out or treated by an exterminator and encased in plastic, and it will remain encased forever (bedbug remains and all- ick!). Furthermore, an exterminator will need to stink bomb the apartment and treat all the furniture to ensure the critters are gone.
An infestation is nothing short of a nightmare, and the fact that they are on the rise is absolutely terrifying. Bedbugs were common back when Europeans began colonizing America and their resurgence can be attributed to the increase in global travel, especially in NYC. My friends have had infestations stem from everywhere: a five-star hotel in London, a hostel in Africa, a B&B in Maine, you name it.
Here are some tips to make sure you don’t fall victim to these guys:
- Go to the mattresses. Just pull up the sheets and look for any dark, red stains or the bugs themselves before you get cozy for the night while traveling.
- Don’t leave luggage on the floor or on top of the bed. Instead use a luggage rack to keep your bag elevated so that if there is an infestation on the bed, floor, or sofa it doesn’t make its way into your clothes.
- When you return home, wash anything you took on the trip in hot water and use a hot-dryer cycle. This should kill any bugs that joined you on your vacay.
If you think you have bedbugs, don’t overreact. (HA!) You shouldn’t sleep on another bed, sofa or in another friend’s apartment/hotel because you could spread them further. You can perform a do-it-yourself bedbug detector or call in the big guns for an official diagnosis. Regardless, an exterminator will likely be involved at some point and it won’t be cheap. If you are looking for more information on these creepy-crawlers or are having an itch-fit and think one of your worst fears might be realized, check out this site.
Until next time, sleep tight…?