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In the News – Bed Bugs Decline in NYC!

By Chris Williams on January 5, 2012.

They say it’s true, that the incidence of bed bugs in New York City has declined. The city’s agencies that track bed bugs and the pest control companies that destroy them all reported fewer incidences of the blood suckers in 2011. Maybe this trend will continue in the rest of the nation and we can all rest easier in 2012!

New York City was clearly the hot spot for bed bug sightings back in 2010, at least as far as the media was concerned. There were practically daily national news reports of the latest invasion sites, from five star hotels to trendy clothing stores like Victoria’s Secret. But, in 2011, reported incidences were definitely down in all quarters. Bed bug violations in apartment buildings declined by 344 instances to 4,481. A violation occurs when inspectors find at least one bed bug. Queens was the only borough to report a slight increase in violations. From January through November 2011, the city’s 311 help line received 22% fewer calls about bed bugs compared with the same period in 2010. “Those numbers are probably the best gauge for how much bed bugs are in the overall consciousness of New Yorkers,” said a spokesman for the city’s Department of Information Technology and Telecomunnications which tracks bed bug complaints and inquiries.

bed-bugsThe bad news is that it now seems to be the poorer individuals who are suffering because they cannot afford effective pest control. This was not the case more than a year ago, when bed bugs took up residence in exclusive neighborhoods, luxury hotels, and high-end shops. The money and the motivation was there to quickly address the problem. A continuing trouble spot is low-income housing where landlords are not addressing the bed bug problem properly or where they simply can’t keep up with bed bugs reintroduced by new tenants. “There is just not enough money to deal with bed bugs effectively at this level of housing,” said Jody Gangloff-Kaufmann, an urban entomologist who was chairman of the city’s Bed Bug Advisory Board. “I hate the idea of stigmatizing people who can’t afford to deal with this, but it [continues to be] an issue of poverty,” she added.

So why is the overall bed bug situation in NYC improving? Have bed bugs simply run their course? It’s more the case of many parts finally coming together to result in a positive whole. Many point to education as a big factor. Experts say that the city’s education efforts have paid off. The city set up a bed bug website that provides information on how to prevent, recognize, and treat infestations. And, new training has helped the city’s inspectors better detect bed bugs. Hotels and other commercial concerns have learned how to inspect and handle bed bug complaints. Pest control companies have learned how best to control bed bug outbreaks. Others say that people just got so freaked out about the appearance of bed bugs that they became overly cautious. For now, let’s hope that as goes New York, so goes the nation. (Source: Crain’s NewYork Business, Jan. 1, 2012)

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