Bed bug infestations across America are up more than 81% since 2000 – and finally cities, townships and local governments are being forced up to do their part in the battle against these blood feeding parasites.
Throughout the United States, bedbugs have started to become a real issue not just for homeowners and hotels, but governments and civil authorities as well.
In Chicago, the headquarters of the city’s school district recently had to shut down so the building could be sprayed for bed bugs.
In Philadelphia, jail blocks for two police districts had to be shut down when it was discovered bed bugs were adding to the overcrowding.
The good news is that this had forced the local authorities to take real measures against bed bug infestations that will hopefully be of benefit to everybody.
In New York City, for example, Major Bloomberg just passed regulations requiring landlords to report all bed bug infestations in their apartment blocks – and treat not just the affected space, but all adjacent apartments as well (including upstairs and downstairs) to prevent the spread of bedbugs from one rental to another.
Other rules being instigated will require that landlords alert all tenants in a building if bed bugs are detected even in a single apartment; and they can can face significant fines if they don’t comply.
Are these rules going to help?
One thing they will certainly do is assist authorities in compiling more accurate statistics on bed bug infestations; and how they’re being dealt with.
It will also be a way to hold landlords accountable; and ferret out more unscrupulous rental owners who try to downplay a bedbug infestation, rather than eliminate it.
But these measures are still a top-down approach to bed bug management; and don’t change the fact that homeowners and renters are normally the ones on the front line in the battle against bed bugs.
This is why it remains important to stay vigilant; and report and treat any bed bug signs as soon as you spot them.
Things to look out for are unexplained bites and welts on the skin – most notably, a pattern of three that match the “breakfast, lunch & dinner” feeding pattern of bed bugs. You will also be able to spot these bloodsucking bed bugs by the feces and blood specks they leave on bedding and sheets.
If you do spot a bed bug or suspect an infestation, research how you can treat it yourself and also let your landlord know; so they can work out how to limit the bed bug problem and prevent it spreading to their other properties.
If you run into frustration with your landlord – as some tenants often report doing – be aware that the new rules and regulations introduced by townships and city authorities will empower you to demand action; and whatever you think about the effectiveness of your local government, that’s definitely good news for you.