When people picture moving to New York City, what usually comes to mind is that great beacon of hope, The Statue Of Liberty, or the stoic Empire State Building, the Bronze Bull down on Wall Street, or maybe even a slice of the best pizza in the world. What doesn’t come to mind, however, is that itchy, son-of-a-bitchy pest that has been claiming blood from all those naive transplants to the greatest city in the world. That’s right. Bedbugs.

The thought of having your blood go missing in the middle of the night, only to be spasming head-to-toe the next day is a nightmare for anyone. Bedbugs are now epidemic in NYC, and I recently had a war on my hands against the tiny little beasts.
Most over-the-counter bug spray does nothing against the parasites; in fact, they practically look at poisons the way we eye an all you can eat cheese platter: it might cause a little bloating but we’ll be stronger because of it. Consequently, many see the wee beasties as unconquorable. However, I’ve managed to find some incredible, all natural ways to get rid of bedbugs without breaking the piggy bank on an exterminator, which will cost around $300-$500 to cover you in poison. Should you find yourself in such an unlucky position as I did, here are some ways to get a restful night’s sleep back.

1. Steam Cleaner
After scouring the internet, I managed to find out that bed bugs are actually resistant to most chemicals, and NYC bugs in particular have developed a serious resistance to many of the chemicals used by exterminators. They cannot and will never develop a resistance to heat. One of the sure fire ways to make sure you get rid of the brood is to buy a steam cleaner and steam your walls, furniture and bedding. I bought my steam cleaner at Century 21 at 86th Street and 4th Ave. in Brooklyn. It was $50 and it also does a hell of a job getting rid of wrinkles in my shirts. Using a steam cleaner is a great way to kill bedbugs, but also remember that you should steam your mattress multiple times to ensure a thorough bug genocide.

2. Diotomaceous Earth–
This is an all-natural bedbug killer, which is safe for humans after only about 10 minutes after using it. Basically, it’s a white powder that is the stone bodies of plant diotoms that died millions of years ago. Their bodies naturally dehydrate bedbugs and kill them after about 20 minutes to an hour. Any where a bedbug has to crawl through the stuff they will be covered by it and subsequently die. It costs about 10 dollars at the hardware store and you should definitely invest in a bottle. This should be used after steam has dried because if you rehydrate it, it becomes useless. Putting it inside your pillows, in floor cracks, in dresser drawers and the like will ensure success in your war against these wee beasties. Here’s a dude who swears on Diotomaceous Earth, and even eats a spoonful!

3. A Trip to the Laundry Mat
Getting your clothes washed and dried at over 140 degrees is a great way to ensure that you aren’t carrying them around on the subway and dropping them on other people and spreading the damn things. You should also launder any clothing bought at a thrift store or EVEN at a retail store before you put it in your drawers. Steaming them works as well.

4. Avoid Harsh Chemicals/ Exterminators
Remember, you have to live in your house too. The chemicals they use to exterminate bugs will be saturating everything you have in your home, which might make you sick yourself. Use common sense and these tips and you’ll have no problem beating the pest that is taking over this wonderful city.

5. Your Right To Know

Recent legislation passed by New York State is currently being eyed by Gov. Patterson that will require landlords to disclose previous infestations. You have the right to know, and should inspect an apartment thoroughly before deciding to move in. Tell tale signs include little black circles on bedding and tiny carapaces (moulted bodies). Check around the area for these clues.

6. Prevention

These little fuckers are going everywhere and inbetween. As New York Magazine recently reported, bedbug complaints in the city have climbed from 537 in 2004 to 10,985 in 2009. Common reasons include having visitors sleep over, sleeping over at other peoples houses, upstairs neighbors, downstairs neighbors thrift store purchases and street stuff as well. Use steam and the DE to make sure your apartment is not the next casualty to these asshole bugs.