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Around the middle or end of November, shortly after moving into our new apartment, my roommate started getting some bug bites. I felt bad, but I wasn’t getting them, so the extent that it affected me was offering some Benadryl.

A few weeks later, she noticed they’d gone away. And then I started to get them. They were like mosquito bites–itchy, reddish, dime-sized. But they didn’t go away when I resisted itching them. And then they got infected.

We were convinced that we had a spider. A nasty, disgusting, giant spider that was crawling all over us while we slept, viciously attacking. Asshole.

We cleaned our apartment intensely. I learned that spiders don’t like lemon or peppermint and that their taste buds are at the tips of their legs. So of course, I bought lemon Lysol and sprayed every surface of my room.

The bites continued to appear.

I bought those things you plug into an outlet that emit a noise that repels roaches, mice, spiders, ants.

I bought a citronella wristband to wear to bed, started spraying myself with bug spray and tucking my sweatpants into my socks. Yeah, pretty hot. I know.

We told our landlords and they arranged for someone to come inspect for bed bugs. At this point, I was still convinced we had a spider. The men came, inspected, found nothing. They said if we were still getting bites in a week to call back, but in the meantime just get some mattress encasements (we had new mattresses, so hadn’t gotten any encasements).

Just shy of a week later, now approaching Christmas, we got some vinyl mattress encasements, and at 10 p.m. as I went to move my mattress to place the cover, I found the dreaded thing: a bed bug.

I panicked, said some bad words, searched the rest of my mattress, found nothing else, and then put the mattress encasement on and spent the hours of the early morning at the laundromat (oh, we are good friends now.)

After getting very little sleep and talking to people at the pest company (I think I may have pathetically told one woman “I can’t live like this!”) they came right away to start treatment.

In addition to my fun facts about spiders and peppermint, I learned that bed bug bites can take up to SEVENTEEN DAYS to appear; bed bugs don’t “feast” every night; rubbing alcohol is a contact killer; and there is no way to tell how you got them.

When all was said and done, we only found one bug and I didn’t lose that much sleep over it. I guess I’m a real New Yorker now?