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Sucks blood? Check.

Creature of the night? Check.

Hates heat? Check.

Yup, bed bugs are vampires. Except they don’t have the added benefit of looking like Alexander Skarsgard.

I would never wish bed bugs on my worst enemy. My roommate and I had to suffer through the experience, as I believe every New Yorker does (or will). It is like a rite of passage that no one talks about. Trust me, there is a stigma. But bed bugs can happen to anyone, from millionaire Upper East Siders to lowly graduate students. It doesn’t matter how clean or dirty you are. And in New York, it most likely will happen to you.

We had to suffer through the itchy bites, the massive amounts of laundry and having all our personal items in air tight plastic bins for weeks while the exterminators contaminated our apartment with chemicals.

The absolute worst part of having bed bugs, however, is that you are forever traumatized.

My roommate and I now live in constant fear of having the blood suckers sneaking their way back into our apartment and into our beds. We spray ourselves with bed bug spray every time we come in the front door. We both don’t think it really works, but it gives us peace of mind. We even spray our friends. The ones who haven’t had bed bugs look at us like we’re crazy, but after they’ve experienced the horror for themselves, they adopt our methods.

We avoid putting clothes on our beds and never use the wash in the basement and air dry upstairs. Did you know that bed bugs can live in washing machines? Always put your clothes in the dryer or hand-wash them in your apartment. We have bed bug protectors on our mattresses, box springs and pillows. Every time we see a mattress lying in the street, we know that another poor soul has joined our club.

Never again. Never, ever again.

If you’re going through bed bugs now, know that you are not alone. If you’ve gone through bed bugs, welcome to the club. And if you think it will never happen to you, check out the Bed Bug Registry website. Protect yourself!

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