Before you sign the lease, search The Bedbug Registry to see if your potential new home has been reported for a bedbug infestation. It could save you one big, itchy headache. (It also lists hotel infestations, so check it before you holiday travel, too.)
Bedbugs were thought to have been eradicated in the U.S. after World War II, but have now surfaced in almost every state. The recent phenomenon quickly crawled beyond the major cities where the resurgence began (most notably New York).
In October the Ohio Department of Agriculture asked the EPA to repeal its ban on an industrial-strength pesticide to help curb its infestation. "We are in dire straits, and we need help," Matt Beal, the Ohio agency's assistant chief told the Associated Press.
How to Spot Bedbugs
The bad news is that there's little you can do to avoid them since the blood-sucking critters can be picked up anywhere, including on public transportation. But you can be smart and not bring home an upholstered chair from Goodwill, for example, and regularly check your rental for them.
Bedbugs live in crevices and when engorged they can grow to the size of an apple seed. And they don't just live in beds, they can also be found in floorboards, frames, rugs, headboards, anywhere there's a tight space. Use a flashlight and look for the bugs' excrement: small bed or brown dots.
Here are some of our tips on ways to avoid bedbugs and other bacteria that could make you sick.