New York City, the famous Big Apple, is besieged by tiny bedbugs, insect parasites that suck blood from human hosts, and which are just about the size of an apple-seed.
And the timing could hardly be worse, as NYC, one of the prime tourist destinations in the United States, gears itself up for the start of the Christmas holiday season.
Some tourists are already bugging out of the whole idea of going to New York City. They have cancelled hotel bookings and airline tickets, and even forfeited their deposits.
They are allÂ fearful of being bitten by these little suckers (picture at left) that are rusty-red in color, and which usually bite you while you are fast asleep in your bed.
Bedbugs are notoriously difficult to eradicate. They can hide in the wierdest of places, and can stay alive without any food (human blood) for a whole year while they wait for the next human to come near them.
Bedbugs have been found at tourist landmarks in New York City, such as the Lincoln Center, Bloomingdale’s and at the Empire State Building. The incidents were not exactly infestations, because the famous department store only ever found one insect there. The Empire State building found a colony of them in its basement, and some of the bugs were found in a dressing-room at the Lincoln Center.
There have been other bedbug alerts in movie theaters and some hotels in NYC, and the Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, is worried how the bedbug alert will affect his city’s image.
Insect experts think an increase in global travel could be the reason for these re-infestations and spread of bedbugs, and it could also be because many of the old pesticides that killed them effectively are nowadays considered too poisonous to the environment and to humans.
Macro photograph by Geeky Pete (PeterEdin) via Flickr