New York State is crawling with bedbugs; the Empire State Building even had a problem with the pesky critters. And NYC is not alone. They're becoming increasingly common in workplaces as well as homes; Detroit, where I live, has the highest level of bedbug infestation in workplaces.
They're called bedbugs because they like to live near where they feed (that would be on you, in the dark ... up to 300 of them can feed on you in a single night) but they aren't found only in beds, or even in soft surfaces. It's all about the dark, hidden spaces with these disgusting little critters. Their flat bodies let them squeeze into tiny spaces where they're unlikely to be found.
Tiny spaces like those under laptop keyboards.
Yes, your beloved MacBook could be crawling with bugs right now. All it takes is for a coworker to come back from a trip with just one or two little bedbugs and bam ... there goes your office.
Other places you might have thought were safe from bedbugs ... but they aren't:
- Picture frames
- Ceiling moldings
- In the seams of clothing and shoes
- In light switches
- Inside phones
Signs you might have a bedbug infestation include waking up with itchy red welts that weren't there when you went to sleep, or seeing rusty red or blackish spots on bedding (from crushing a blood-filled bug or, revoltingly enough, from their poop). Really bad infestations might have a sweet, musty, "buggy" smell.
Bedbugs are an equal-opportunity parasite; unlike cockroaches, it's not filth they love, it's blood. They can also go for more than a year without eating, which means unoccupied apartments or unused luggage can still harbor them.
Have you had a bedbug infestation? Are you worried about them?
Image via wonderferret/flickr