2006_10_bedbug.jpgWe bet every person who read the NY Times' article, Everything You Need to Know About Bedbugs but Were Afraid to Ask, checked the nooks and crannies of their apartments, prayed they would never see a bedbug and then took a swig of a hard liquor to make the scary go away. But it was a very informative article - we learned:

- 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"

There are many more, but we were intrigued by the case of Peter Young, whose Ludlow Street apartment was infested. Young slept on an inflatable bed and then a metal cot while the landlord tried to get rid of the bugs to no avail. So Young did what any self-respecting, sick-of-bedbugs tenants would do: He stopped paying rent. A judge ruled in Young's favor, saying, "In this case, the bedbugs did not constitute mere annoyance, but constituted an intolerable condition, notwithstanding the landlord’s efforts to exterminate them," and Young got a rent abatement. Young, who now lives in Brooklyn, told the Times and sleeps on a futon, “Psychologically, I’m afraid of beds. I feel traumatized.”

Here is the city's bedbug fact sheet. And there are bedbug plush dolls out there - just $7.99!