Just when you think the scorching hot summers in New York City couldn’t get any worse — they do.
Exterminators warn that July through September is prime time for what they call "bed bug season," when the bugs crop up far more often in New Yorkers’ apartments than in the cooler months.
"Bed bugs like heat," said Jeff Eisenberg, president of Pest Away, an exterminating company on West 35th Street.
Higher temperatures, like this past weekend's 100-degree heat wave, provide ideal living conditions for the bugs, he said.
"It's more comfortable and easier for them to move around," he told Metro.
As many people have plans to travel in the next few months, the likelihood of picking up the bugs and bringing them home also greatly increases, as bed bugs commonly spread via luggage picked up in hotel rooms or on trains.
According to a national study on Bed Bug Central, a website devoted to bed bug information, bed bug activity peaks during the summer months.
"If a bed bug falls from your coat onto the ground in the winter, it’s not very likely it will survive," he said. "But if it falls off your clothing in the summer, it’s more likely to hitch hike around to different places."
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The study, which include data from five pest-management companies around the country, shows that bed bugs develop from an egg to an adult in 66 days at 64 degrees, but at 82 degrees, they move from egg to adult in only 14 days.
How to avoid bed bugs
So what should you do if the little rascals creep into your house?
Answering over 150 calls weekly to treat bed bugs in investment banks, law firms, day schools, chiropractors, hotels and homes, Eisenberg suggested in his "Bed Bug Survival Guide" not to freak out and get to know the “enemy.”
1. Buy a bed-bug certified mattress encasement, box spring encasement and pillow cover.
2. Vacuum your whole bed thoroughly once a week
3. Take off your street clothes before getting into your bed.
4. Put your clothes in the dryer on high for 30 minutes. The high heat will kill the bugs and any eggs.
5. Steam clean everything.
6. When you travel, carefully inspect hotel mattresses for signs of the bugs, paying particular attention to mattress creases.
7. Keep suitcases and other bags off hotel floors and beds when you travel.