Every paranoid Brooklynite has by now heard that the Big Apple is crawling with as many bloodsucking bedbugs as the mattress in a Marseilles flophouse (you know, the one near the train station).
It’s not a coincidence.
But bedbugs in Fort Greene or Clinton Hill? Never! Or so we thought. Alas, coolness is no inoculation against the dreaded critters.
One tipster — who asked us not to reveal her name, for obvious reasons — told us this week her very local and creepy tale of woe.
We’ll call her Cassandra.
Cassandra lived happily with her boyfriend in a lovely Fort Greene building on DeKalb Avenue. It was a domestic idyll, as far as these things go, until April, when all hell broke loose.
“A couple nights in a row, I woke up with a string of bites on my leg or arm,” said Cassandra, recalling the dreadful experience. “Then, the next night, my boyfriend sat up in bed with a flashlight and lifted the sheets and saw a bedbug.” EEK!
Cassandra and her boyfriend did what all good 21st-century sleuths do. They Googled “bedbug,” and determined that they were indeed infested with the dreaded insect. After a week spent debating the best course of action, they called in their landlord (who, for the record, is, indeed, responsible for any and all bedbug infestations in their property, according to the city).
The extermination didn’t seem to quell the problem, so they became near-permanent squatters in Cassandra’s aunt’s house around the corner.
Now, they’re moving out permanently.
“Neither of us feels very comfortable in our apartment,” said Cassandra. “After a while, you feel like you’ve been invaded.”
Cassandra suspects they got the insidious critters from their downstairs neighÂbors. (Doesn’t everyone?)
“A few doors down on DeKalb, we saw a table put out in the trash that was labeled ‘bedbugs,’” said Cassandra. “We wonder if it’s a neighborhood problem.”
There may still be time to head off a neighborhood-wide infestation, however.
Cornell University’s premiere bedbug expert, Jody Gangloff-Kaufmann, told The Brooklyn Paper that contrary to popular opinion, the presence of Cimex lectularius is not a sign of dirtiness. Indeed, experts disagree on why, exactly, there’s been such a recent upsurge in infestations in the northeast.
But she gave us a few common-sense steps one can take to reduce the chances of infestation:
Be on the lookout for neighbors with infestations, since bedbugs travel easily between apartments.
When traveling, inspect mattresses for bedbugs.
Oh, and please, please, please, stop picking up furniture off the street and bringing it home. Bedbugs don’t just live in beds, folks. You might want to lay off the Craigslist, too.
If you don’t, you might find yourself in Cassandra’s situation. She and her boyfriend have had to throw out most of their belongings and start from scratch.
“It’s a pretty frustrating experience,” she said.
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©2007 Community News Group
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