This uptick in NYC bed bug infestations is a mite unsettling, eh? The very real possibility of buying parasite-laden panties or polos—or, worse yet, picking them up from plushy cinema seats—is enough to make our skin crawl, but the real threat is the rising rate of home infestations.

Why the fourteenth century throwback? The suckers seem to have become immune to toxins, reemerging after a half-century of DDT-induced dormancy. Increased worldwide travel is also a contributing factor. In addition, it seems that New Yorkers' desire to be hipster chic/environmentally friendly/just plain cheap has come back to bite us. Infestations can often originate from secondhand furniture and mattresses, and Jeff White, a research entomologist at BedBug Central, suggests you go check your bed now if you got it used: "The first area you typically want to look is either the bottom of the box spring or the back of the headboard. Those are the two most common areas you’ll find them if they are in your bed." Contrary to common belief, adult-size bedbugs are quite visible, says White, and are often a quarter-inch long.

Prevention methods can do a lot to help you avoid waking up bespeckled, too. Get a mattress cover for home, check under mattresses when you travel, and never put your luggage on the hotel bed. Popular all-natural "Rest Easy" bed bug spray may be a good chemical-free option too, although a study shows that it only kills bed bugs that come directly in contact with it within 30 minutes of applying the stuff, so perpetually drenching your sheets would be the only way you'd rest easily.