You're not dreaming, that's a bedbug
Blood-sucking pests spreading from NYC to rest of U.S., world
Sunday, January 22, 2006
"There's an epidemic going on throughout the country, and New York seems to be the hotbed," said Jeffrey Eisenberg, a pest control expert.
Bedbugs are turning up in hospitals, schools, movie theaters and health clubs. Recent reports put them in a New Jersey college dorm and a Los Angeles hotel -- where one guest filed a $5 million lawsuit.
The current generation of exterminators has been caught unaware by these pests, which were all but forgotten for decades. They blame the comeback on several factors, primarily increased global travel and the banning of potent pesticides like DDT.
The tiny vermin avoid light and attack in the middle of the night. About the size of a flattened apple seed, they hide in cracks and crevices in furniture and walls.
They're efficient and active travelers, often hitching rides on clothing and jumping from host to host when people brush up against each other on the subway, in elevators or on crowded streets.
Fighting an infestation is a costly, time-consuming process. Belongings must be removed from the home to be thoroughly washed or dry-cleaned, followed by meticulous vacuuming, before the exterminator can even begin work. It often takes several visits.
The scourge is nearly impossible to eradicate; the creatures can go a year without feeding, they reproduce rapidly and don't die easily.
City Councilwoman Gail Brewer ... is calling for a bedbug task force. She wants a ban on reconditioning mattresses [and] separate transport of old and new mattresses. A mattress purchase often includes the removal of the old one, and several used and new mattresses mingling in a truck produce a bedbug free-for-all.
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