So, for the past month I've been afflicted with an extreme case of delusional parasitosis, brought on by the research for this article on vermin I wrote for New York. There are a lot of people in New York City, and there's some terrifying statistic that I not dare look up, because I'm in recovery, that insists there are like five rats for every human here, but I would like to argue that for every rat, there are at least ten people with a totally nightmare-inducing tale to tell you about bedbugs.
I defy you to listen to a horror story about bedbugs, or even just a fact about them (they can go for over a year without a "blood meal") without developing hives. I have grown so used to my delusional bedbug bites that I just scratch them idly now, like I have a permanent case of chickenpox. Or monkeypox. Or another really scary pox. The article covers roaches, bedbugs and rodents, but I'd be remiss if I didn't offer you some insight into how to get rid of some other common NYC pests that didn't make it into the package but are probably haunting your adode all the same. Carpenter Ants They live in damp wood--their nests have a smooth, sanded-over appearance. Small piles of sawdust are often found near where they're nesting. They don't eat wood like termites do; but they'll eat most any food you leave out.
Get rid of them: Ants forage, then head back to the nest. Apply small dots of MaxForce Ant Bait Gel in crevices and a thin layer of boric acid where you've seen activity. Seal off all cracks with silicone caulk, as you would for roaches. Fix leaks and drips, especially around tubs, sinks and windows.
House Centipedes Hideous and traumatizing, but they feed on cockroaches, bedbugs and other pests. They tend to come inside when it's damp. Aaaaargh, every time I see one, I lose one of my nine lives.
Get rid of them: Diatomaceous earth or boric acid in cracks and crevices.
Termites They don't just eat wood--they'll eat anything with cellulose in it, like books, carpets and fabrics. They love moisture and need it to survive.
Get rid of them: Call the landlord and bring in the professionals. Detection and eradication of termites often requires special knowledge of building structures .
Clothes Moths Feed on wool, silk, fur, feathers, leather--they tend to steer clear of synthetics. They stay in dark areas like closets, and clothing and linen storage boxes.
Get rid of them: Vacuum closets and drawers regularly. Wash or dry clean clothes and blankets before storing them--moths are attracted to perspiration. Store clothes in tightly closed bags and boxes with moth balls or crystals. Cedar chests and chips tends to be less effective because the moth-killing cedar oil evaporates too quickly.
PS: I urge you to pick up a hard copy of this issue of New York -- the layout of this story can only be described as the ne plus ultra of jolie laide. Gross, but gorgeous.