H.R. 2248 was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on May 5. It is called the “Don't Let the Bed Bugs Bite Act of 2009.” The bill would “establish a grant program to assist States in inspecting hotel rooms for bed bugs.” It has been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
The bill has eight cosponsors. Among them are Rep. Corrine Brown of Florida, Rep. Bobby Rush of Illinois and Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas.
The bill reports that the population of cimex lectularius – or bed bugs – has increased in the U.S. by 500 percent in the past few years. Lodging facilities are most vulnerable.
According to the bill, bed bugs can travel through the ventilation systems in multi-unit housing. And female bed bugs can lay up to five eggs in a day and 500 in a lifetime. The bill also cites a study of 700 hotel rooms between 2002 and 2006; 25 percent of hotels needed treatment for bed bugs.
The bill would authorize $50 million in annual grant money for fiscal years 2010 to 2013. States would be eligible for grants to inspect lodging facilities for bed bugs; to qualify a state would have to inspect at least 20 percent of rooms each year. “Lodging facilities” are defined as hotels, motels and inns that have at least 10 rooms for commercial lodging.
The bill also calls for the CDC to “investigate the public health implications of bed bugs on lodging and housing.” Specific concerns include how bed bugs may affect mental health, spread disease or contribute to problems such as asthma. The CDC would have to submit a report to Congress by Dec. 31, 2010.
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