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With the buzz about the 248 McKibbin Street MySpace page organizing comments about its bedbug infestation, we thought it would be a good time to visit the Bedbug City Map. The map relies on reported bedbug incidents, which are mapped by the intensity of the infestation as well - and 248 McKibbin is at the red "Help!" level.

Bedbugs are hell, no question about it. Ridding an apartment of bedbugs requires multiple fumigations and inspections by exterminators as well as patience and thousands of dollars of laundry/dry cleaning/new clothing, towels and furniture on the part of the tenant or homeowner. Last October, the NY Times published an article "Everything You Need to Know About Bedbugs But Were Afraid to Ask" with helpful information:

- Landlords are required to get rid of bedbugs within 30 days of an inspection from the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (call 311)
- Co-op and condo owners are on their own, but "building could be responsible if, for example, bedbugs have affected multiple apartments and their source is not readily traceable"; if a unit owner is found responsible, he/she needs to immediately take action
- Bedbugs don't necessarily mean the apartment is dirty - it just means the bedbugs happened to like your warmth and CO2: "they pierce the skin and withdraw blood for about 5 minutes before retreating to a hiding place"
- "Exterminators look for tiny tar-black speckles — fecal droppings made up mostly of digested blood"
- "People searching for bedbugs do not know to look along the seams of mattresses, under box springs, behind headboards and picture frames, and even inside alarm clocks and telephones"

Renters should try to see if they can get negotiate for lower rents during infestations - it's worked for some. Here is the city's fact sheet on bedbugs.

Another good resource is The Bedbug Registry, a database of bedbug reports in different cities as well as maps (here is the one for NYC), as is This Old House's gallery about bedbugs. Also, watch out for used mattresses and used furniture and who knew there were gummi bedbugs out there?

If you have any hints about detecting, dealing with, or worrying about bedbugs, please tell us in the comments.