Yuck, yuck, yuck. Bed bugs, once thought to be the sole province of dirty, low rent hotels are back - with a vengeance.
Almost totally eradicated after WWII with the use of DDT (now banned because of it's toxicity), the increase in international travel is thought to be one factor in the increase of infestations.
Entire office buildings (the Time Warner Center), residential buildings, retail stores (Abercrombie & Fitch, Victoria's Secret), movie theaters (AMC's Empire 25), in New York City have been invaded and reports are coming in from around the country.
In fact, just this week, bed bugs have been the subject of two New York Times articles and a series on National Public Radio.
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, "Bed bugs are small wingless insects that feed solely upon the blood of warm-blooded animals."
- Bed bugs are not socio-economically oriented,
- Bed bugs are not hygiene related,
- Bed bugs like to hide in the dark - particularly under furniture, in your mattress, and in any cracks or crevice,
- Bed bugs leave itchy welts or big bumps in a pattern of three,
- Bed bugs are "hitchhikers" - they like to travel with you.
For any property owner - buyer or seller - this is a potential nightmare but one that can be addressed with professional assistance. Unfortunately, it may take multiple treatments to rid an area completely. In some instances it may be cheaper and more effective to throw everything out and start over.
Although I haven't done it yet, I am going to strongly suggest to all my buyers that they pay for an extermination before moving into a new property - regardless of how "clean" the property may look. It's not worth it if even one little guy gets left behind.
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