I think the tipping point was when the 4th friend sent me this article, entitled "With Bed Bugs, the Cure May be Worse than the Disease"...
At first I was interested (oh wow, a new scientific article about bed bugs!) Then, a little perplexed (hmm, I wonder why four different people have sent me this?) And finally, worried (do my friends think I'm neurotic about
everything bed bugs?!)
Most likely, though, multiple friends sent me this article because they know that I have approached the growing bed bug epidemic with a calm, prudent resolve. Yeah, I think that's probably the reason. In any event, I have thus far managed to keep myself completely bed-bug-free. Below you'll find some resources that I've compiled along the way...
1. Friends and Family
You know that friend who did Peace Corps in rural, Sub-Saharan Africa? She knows all kinds of stuff about weird skin diseases! Send her picture texts of your suspicious 'bites' with messages like "OMG, Holy Crap, I have bed bugs don't I?!?!" It helps if these 'bites' are in places that will both embarrass and disgust her when she opens the messages in front of her boyfriend.
2. The World Wide Web
Search EVERYTHING on www.bedbugregistry.com. This includes hotels, motels, your apartment complex, apartment complexes where you don't live, friends' addresses, acquaintance's addresses, addresses in cities you've never visited, etc. If your searches yield zero results, know that it's because no one has reported their bed bug incidents yet. But they will. Oh, they will.
3. Common Sense
Be pro-active -- start itching yourself before you get into bed. This is also a good self-preservation technique -- in the (un)likely event that bed bugs strike, your co-workers won't notice the bites, because they'll be distracted by the long, claw-like red marks down your arms and legs.
4. The Gift of Fear
The best medicine is always a healthy dose of panic. Don't be afraid to disrupt, nay, ruin an otherwise wonderful vacation by pleading with your friends to put their clothes in Ziploc storage bags, and isolate them from the rest of their wardrobe for at least one year. When they roll their eyes and try to convince you to "Come outside and enjoy the bonfire," don't listen! Don't they realize how sketchy that HoJo Inn looked?! No, you continue on your tirade. And be silently confident that the stress rash emerging on your lower thigh is a hard-earned battle scar.