If you have woken up to itchy red welts, and rushed to the computer, desperately google-ing [bed bugs], you are not alone. Complaints of infestations have increased fourfold in the last two years, a problem the Department of Housing Preservation and Development plans to address in [three seminars](http://www.nyc.gov/html/hpd/html/pr2008/pr-01-16-08.shtml) starting next Wednesday.
For renters living in an infested zone, expert websites advise sterilizing and sealing bedding, furniture and clothing. Before pitching your couch, vacuum-wrapping your mattress or storing your clothes in plastic containers, the city is offering up a series of meetings to help residents handle what council member Miguel Martinez termed an epidemic.
As for infestation-etiquette, [web forums] can help you answer those hard questions, like whether visits to friends post-infestation are appropriate.
With city-wide infestation, spots at the three seminars in Manhattan, Astoria and Bushwick could go quickly. Call 212-863-8830 to reserve your spot.
Photo by [mangy_cur on Flickr]