Are you scared of Bed Bugs, too?


A pesticide-covered bed bug!

Bed Bugs are all over the news, and if you live in DC, chances are you’re snickering about how unlike New Yorkers, we can still go to the movies even as you nervously make a mental note to check your own mattress, later on. Just last week, WTOP reported that  we were the ninth-most-infested city in the nation.

I believe it. Two weeks ago, I saw a memorable message on Twitter retweeted a few times; it warned people near Columbia Heights to not be tempted by a nice mattress which had been left out on the curb. “It has BEDBUGS!”, the tweet blared.

The scary thing about the little pests is how difficult they are to be rid of. A recent post on the excellent Prince of Petworth blog detailed the frustrating experience of new row house owners who discovered bed bugs three months after they moved in. They suffered through several treatments of “heavy chemicals” and still found no relief. A bug-sniffing dog (!) later discovered that their “low-income” neighbor, with whom they share a wall, had a massive infestation of the critters. The new owners wondered if the DC government had programs which could help their neighbor, since treatment would cost a few thousand dollars. Commenters suggested that the new owners may want to consider paying for their neighbor’s treatment themselves, to prevent further hassle.

If you’re wondering if this house is in your neighborhood, feel free to check the Bed Bug Registry. It’s great for looking up hotels, too, which is significant because that’s how some people “catch” them in the first place. I know, the holiday weekend fast approaches and you have travel plans. Don’t panic (via WTOP):

CBS News travel editor Peter Greenberg, who spends 200 nights a year in hotel rooms, says a little common sense goes a long way.

“When you go into your room don’t put your suitcase on your bed,” Greenberg says. “The reason for that is, that’s where bedbugs like to travel — in suitcases.”

He suggests setting your suitcase on a luggage rack instead…

“Most of the time your hotel room, believe it or not, especially at the major chains, is cleaner than your own apartment.”

One of the best, common-sense-based (and wallet-friendly) articles I’ve seen about dealing with bed bugs landed in my inbox this morning from LearnVest. Most posts or articles about the pests leave me feeling worried and hopeless, but their advice on how to prevent them in the first place, and how to address them immediately if I *do* encounter them left me feeling like I could go to the movies again. Yes, even in New York.