Oh if only we could go back to the days when "don't let the bedbugs bite" was just something you said. But, as the Times really tries to hammer home today, that just doesn't seem to be possible anymore.

In the past two years, and especially in the past six months, New York has become a bedbug mecca (Seriously, "Last year the city logged 377 bedbug violations, up from just 2 in 2002 and 16 in 2003. Since July, there have been 449."). And this has left many many people feeling humiliated, embarrassed and drained (both emotionally and well, of blood).

So what can you do to deal with a bedbug infestation other than call an exterminator? Not much:

The modern bedbug is immune to hardware store-variety insecticides, and setting off a cockroach bomb in the bedroom will only scatter them farther afield. And because they are active only at night, many people don't discover them until their population has grown into the hundreds, or even thousands.

Other options, however, do include going a little nutso and setting up a "bedbug jail in a Tupperware container that" you can "put on the windowsill to torture them with daylight." But that kind of a maneuver should really only come when it's gotten to the point of "all-out war."

And anyway, you never know. Bedbugs can always turn out to be cupids in disguise:

Still, for Ms. Scanlan, there has been a silver lining. The night after she discovered the bugs, she went out drinking, intent on avoiding her own bed. That evening she met a man at a bar, and, contrary to her usual instincts, accompanied him to his apartment. An encounter partly born of desperation soon blossomed into something more, she said.
"We've been together ever since," Ms. Scanlan said with a smile. "Thanks to the bedbugs, I've fallen in love."

So what about you? Do you have any bedbug horror/love stories (or extermination tricks) that you'd care to share?

Photograph by Robert Stolarik for the New York Times.