Friday, July 30, 2010

New York City Launches Offensive on Bed Bug Infestations

Bedbugs are back. Exterminators are responding to 57 percent more bed bug infestations compared to five years ago. The blood feasting bugs are hitching a ride to apartments, houses and hotels now in urban and rural areas.

Nowhere are the infestations worse than in New York City, the unofficial capitol of bed bugs. A report released Wednesday by the city’s Bed Bug Advisory Board found more than 6 percent of New York households have bed bugs.

In response, Gotham is declaring a coordinated campaign to eliminate the nighttime pests. The board recommends public education is the first step. It plans on launching an online clearinghouse for information about bed bugs.

Outside of the old adage “don’t let the bedbugs bite”, this generation is unfamiliar with the bedtime blood suckers. We’ve been blindsided because bed bugs haven’t been a problem for a lifetime. Reports of widespread infestations really only began around 2006.

Detection and elimination is difficult and costly. Allergic reactions to bed bug bites usually take about a week to occur. About a third of people won’t have an allergic reaction until after several nighttime attacks. Even if residents realize they have an infestation they may not be able to afford an exterminator. The going rate for bed bug services ranges from about $1,000 for a one bedroom apartment to $5,000 for an average-sized house.

Last year congress introduced the “Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite Act of 2009,” to help identify and alleviate bed bug infestations. The bill would create for bed bug inspections, especially in hotels. The critters hitch a ride home with you through your clothing or belongings after spending even one night in an infested hotel.

The Sleep Education Blog will continue to keep an eye on New York City’s campaign against bed bugs. Look for further updates as the city’s educational website launches.
Photo by Tom Simpson

No comments:

Post a Comment