As a rule, most of us like to avoid thinking or talking about bed bugs more than is strictly necessary. It's as though we somehow might will them into our homes Beetlejuice-style, simply by mentioning them out loud. (Also, they're gross.) That said, NPR's Fresh Air recently spoke with the author of Infested: How the Bed Bug Infiltrated Our Bedrooms and Took Over The World, and the results were predictably charming—this is Fresh Air, after all—covering everything from how New York City's most hated insect came back from the brink of extinction, to people who've gone so far as to take gunpowder and a match to the cracks of their beds to "explode" the bed bugs away. (Do not try this at home, please.)
With all this new bed bug trivia to morbidly dole out at our next cocktail party, we thought we'd revisit some of our best tips (and horror stories) for surviving a bed bug plague in your apartment—or avoiding one altogether—just in time for summer which, as Prevention Magazine noted last year, is peak season for bed bugs given how heat speeds up the life cycle of these infernal creatures and how much everyone travels:
- DNA testing your bed for bed bugs: that's now an option.
- Yes, sellers, you probably have to tell potential buyers if you've had an infestation within the past year or so.
- 15 bugs that are commonly mistaken for bed bugs—plus photos to use for comparison.
- Detection kits, laundry treatments, and 8 more of the best bed bug products for New Yorkers.
- The surprising upsides of a fake bed bug scare.
- The full archives of Bedbugged! our long-running column from journalist—and bed bug survivor!—Theresa Braine