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What you need to know about the bugs you find in your apartment

By
Jillian Anthony
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Every New Yorker sees cockroaches running gleefully among trash cans on the streets, or rats plotting humans' demise as they forage along the train tracks. But what happens when you see one of those scary critters INSIDE YOUR APARTMENT? You might go straight into panic mode (WHAT IS IS HOW DID IT GET HERE HOW DO I KILL IT FOREVER) but we've put together a handy-dandy list of five common bugs that may come a-knockin' this summer, how to recognize them, and if you should be worried. Take a deep breath...

1. Cockroach


These true New Yorkers have been around longer than any of us—they first stowed away on ships from Africa in the trans-oceanic shipping age—and they're here to stay, baby. Cockroaches are red or brown and have slick-looking bodies with wings protruding from what might pass as their shoulders (yeah, these suckers are great flyers). Despite being disgusting, you should know cockroaches are great disease-spreaders, and also trigger asthma. To get rid of them, try to seal up any open nook and cranny in your floors or walls that they might be entering through with steel wool, and set up roach hotels to trap any hangers-on.

2. Bedbugs

The dreaded bedbug has struck fear into the minds of hearts of many New Yorkers recently. The good news is they don't carry diseases, but they will bite the hell out of you, drink your blood and bury themselves so deep in your home it's very hard to get rid of them. Check out the creases in you furniture to find their droppings grouped together (GROSS) or use a magnifying glass to scope them out. Don't even try to get rid of them on your own—call in the experts immediately. You'll likely need to buy a new mattress and heat-treat all your clothes, plus pay for the removal fee, which ain't cheap.   

3. Termites

These demented-looking critters will settle in and have a veritable home-eating barbecue, causing thousands of dollars in damage to your home. They get in from the outside, so check the base of your building for small entry holes they've drilled. Hire pros to come in to pump insecticide into the ground, eventually finishing off the whole colony. 

4. Silverfish/House centipedes

Every time I see one of these cuties in my bathroom, I practically hang myself with my shower curtain in fear. House centipedes have, like, 15 pairs of legs, and move a lot faster than you, which is why trying to catch them can be a daunting task. They won't bring any diseases to your doorstep, but did you know silverfish can bite?? They like warm and damp places, which is why they're always hanging out in the sauna of your shower or by your radiator. Try to keep any moisture in your home to a minimum, or apply a pesticide in problem areas.

5. Clothing moths

They aren't as ugly as some of the other bugs, but they'll make your clothes ugly by chewing through them. If you find your favorite jacket munched up one day, it unfortunately means you've got eggs in your closet. Dry clean everything, then clean every inch of your closet, shelves and drawers with hot water and soap. If the problem persists, throw some pesticide on there. This is New York, and fashion comes first. 

Sources: New York Timesinsectidentification.org

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