Seems like every day now we hear about the Second Coming of bedbugs. DDT wiped 'em out after World War II, but the new breed, like something out of a horror movie, has mutated and is taking over hotel and motel rooms one bite at a time. If they're not infesting an AMC theater in Times Square (oh God), they're invading file cabinets in offices (oh God oh God) or luxury car dealerships. And on last night's Daily Show, Jon Stewart featured this absolutely horrifying, David Lynch-ian PSA about bedbugs (starring Isabella Rossellini!):

The first I'd heard of it was a friend from New Orleans who had moved to Cincinnati with his wife; they've found bedbugs in their house twice now and are on the verge of a mutual nervous bedbug-breakdown. So it wasn't surprising when the list of "America's Top 10 Bedbug-Infested Cities" came out today and Cincinnati was #1. Just try to read this paragraph without itching:

David Ralph Hoffman, owner of Merlin’s Pest Control, says if you don’t know someone who has had a bedbug problem, you don’t live in Cincinnati. At Merlin’s they rate their horror stories on a scale of 1 to 10. The worst was an apartment occupied by someone who bragged about the last time he’d had a bath (not recently). The apartment was also occupied by about 100,000 bedbugs, Hoffman says, kept in checked only by an equal number of German cockroaches. “The one we had that we call our 9.5, the gentleman was a World War II vet and pale, sick, dying, grumpy as hell—and we found over 50 bedbugs in the hat he was wearing.”

The good news: For once, New Orleans isn't at the top of one of these horrible lists that no one wants to top -- it doesn't appear in the Top 10. The good/bad news: If you're traveling, you can check the site Bedbug Registry to see if anyone's reported blood-sucking creatures between the sheets of your luxury hotel or flophouse (bedbugs respect no class or income level).

Have you had any experience or warning about bedbugs when you traveled this summer? Just in case you don't know what they look like ...


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