Philly Landlords Might Soon Be on the Hook for Bedbug Extermination


Anyone who has ever experienced a bedbug infestation will tell you the nasty critters are seriously horrific. And here in Philadelphiayou won’t have to search far to find someone to attest to that: The city is regarded as one of the most bedbug-infested in the nation. For four years (until 2016),Terminix deemed it America’s top bedbug city. That is not the kind of award you want to win.

But here’s good news for anyone who’s gone through bedbug hell: Philly might soon require landlords to take up a lot more responsibility in the fight against the tiny insects.

A new City Council bill introduced by Councilman Mark Squilla last week would force landlords to actively monitor and disclose any and all bedbug activity in their properties — and pay for extermination in the event of an infestation. That means renters would largely be off the hook for bedbug treatment (which is often both stressful and costly).

The legislation is years in the making. In 2014, City Council held a hearing with several victims of bedbug infestations (like Squilla himself). Members then wrote a resolution to create a “Philadelphia Bed Bug Task Force,” which a year later produced a list of policy recommendations — including establishing a city-issued bedbug response plan as well as rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords regarding bedbug infestations.

Still, unlike many other cities — New York, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and more — Philly has been slow to adopt an ordinance addressing bedbugs. That could change with this bill, which attained notable support from a long list of co-sponsors: Council members Cherelle ParkerCindy BassCurtis JonesBobby HenonKenyatta JohnsonHelen GymJannie Blackwell and Bill Greenlee.

The bill states that “bedbug infestations can lead to social stigmas, mental health duress, and isolation among those affected.” If it were to pass (as of Friday afternoon, it hadn’t yet been scheduled for a hearing), the city would declare bedbugs “a pest of significant public health importance … subject to remediation provisions.”

Consequently, landlords would be required to establish bedbug control plans and provide tenants with information regarding bedbugs, including a written disclosure of any history of bedbug infestation and remediation. If a tenant did suspect an infestation, they would be required to report it to their landlord. The landlord would then have to acknowledge the tenant’s complaint within two business days and conduct an investigation, as well as seek services from a pest management professional, within 10 business days.

Building owners who refused to comply with the proposed legislation could face up to a $2,000 fine — and lose the right to collect rent during any period of violation.

If passed, the legislation could work to relieve residents of some of the burdens associated with bedbug infestations, which can be so costly to remediate that some renters might forgo extermination altogether. Bedbug exterminators typically charge between $400 and $500, according to Thumbtack (a service that connects people with service professionals), and the price can go way up from there: One woman told last year that removing the pests from her home cost $4,000.

We just hope no one ever has to see another bedbug on their SEPTA bus seat.


Duvall landscaper claims Roundup caused his cancer

By: Amy Clancy

SEATTLE – For nearly 20 years, Leonard Tierney of Duvall strapped-on a backpack full of concentrated Roundup mixed with water to eradicate weeds in his clients’ yards.

He believed Roundup was the safest weed-killing product on the market “because I was of the understanding in UV light and sunlight, it broke down and became inert,” Tierney told KIRO 7 Wednesday.

However, according to Tierney’s just-filed civil complaint — and the growing number of similar lawsuits being filed against Monsanto and parent company Bayer — Roundup is not safe.

“The connection between Roundup exposure and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma has been known by Monsanto for decades,” said Tierney’s attorney, Corrie Yackulic, of Seattle.

Just last week, the University of Washington released a study that links the herbicide in Roundup — glyphosate — to a more than 40% increased risk for some cancers. The study analyzed more than 54,000 people who work as licensed pesticide applicators, like landscaper Tierney.

Study author Lianne Sheppard Ph.D. told KIRO 7 even weekend gardeners should rethink using Roundup.

“Those of us who want to control our risks can change our behaviors to reduce the exposures that we think are going to potentially affect us,” she said.

Tierney was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma last May and has since stopped using Roundup.

Nine months later, he’s done with chemotherapy but will always be at risk for the cancer’s return.

Despite that, he’s not angry with Monsanto or Bayer.
“I was more concerned with the fact that I had cancer rather than what the source was at the time,” he said.

His wife Christy, however, is angry.

“When we were first given the diagnosis, it just devastated us and I would like to see large warning signs.
I’d love to see it put out there that even weekend users need to be careful with this.
This is not a safe product,” she said.

The Tierneys hope their lawsuit will lead to financial compensation for their medical costs and suffering.

They’d also like Monsanto/Bayer to put a label on Roundup packages warning about the risks, or a ban of the product altogether; something their lawyer believes may happen if enough people pursue legal action.

“Until they lose a certain number of cases, I think they are going to continue to argue that the product is safe,” Yackulic said.
“As long as they are making money on it, they are not going to admit there’s a problem.”

When asked for comment, Bayer’s director for U.S. external communications released the following statement:

“There is an extensive body of research on glyphosate and glyphosate-based herbicides, including more than 800 rigorous studies submitted to EPA, European and other regulators in connection with the registration process, that confirms that these products are safe when used as directed. Notably, the largest and most recent epidemiologic study – the 2018 independent National Cancer Institute-supported long-term study that followed over 50,000 pesticide applicators for more than 20 years and was published after the IARC monograph – found no association between glyphosate-based herbicides and cancer. Additionally, EPA’s 2017 post-IARC cancer risk assessment examined more than 100 studies the agency considered relevant and concluded that glyphosate is ‘not likely to be carcinogenic to humans,’ its most favorable rating.


“Bayer stands behind these products and will vigorously defend them.”


Tyner Academy treated for bed bugs, parents concerned the problem is ongoing

A report from the health department states one classroom was treated. As a precaution, a chair was removed from the classroom and several other rooms were sprayed. It also notes no follow-up was required.
By Taneisha Cordell

A Tyner Academy parent, who asked to remain anonymous, says her daughter took a picture of a bed bug in a hallway of the school last week.

“As a parent we’re concerned about bed bugs at Tyner,” the parent said. “Our daughter was complaining about them and we were listening to her complaints and then she finally took a picture of one and sent it to us.”

Out of fear of bringing any bed bugs home, she says she kept her daughter home from school.

“She came back another couple of days and said she saw bed bugs in another place,” the parent said. “The principal just indicated that they had sprayed before we brought up the issue.”

The school district’s spokesperson, Tim Hensley, says the problem was reported on Tuesday. According to an inspection report by the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department, the inspection was done on Wednesday, the day after parent-teacher conferences were held at the school.

The report states one classroom was treated. As a precaution, a chair was removed from the classroom and several other rooms were sprayed. It also notes no follow-up was required.

A spokesperson for the health department tells Channel 3, a bed bug was found on a student, which prompted the inspection. We’re told no evidence of infestation was found.

But those who have reached out to Channel 3, are asking why they were not notified. Channel 3 took their question to Hensley on Thursday who said, “the principal was waiting for the report from the health department to message parents. The message is going out today.”

We’re told the health department is monitoring the school, but concern still remains for a mother who wants her child to be safe.

“We don’t want to fight a bed bug problem at home as well as at school. The cycle can keep going if it’s not done properly.”

This is the second time a Hamilton County school has had an issue with bed bugs this year. Last month, bed bugs were spotted in at least three classrooms at Brainerd High School, according to Hensley.

Experts at Jody Millard Pest Control shared some tips on how parents can protect their homes from bed bugs. They say keep your children’s school bags, jackets and shoes isolated, and out of living rooms and bedrooms. If you see a bed bug, it’s best to call a professional. If you cannot pinpoint where the bed bugs came from, there is a good chance the bed bugs will return.

Residents say apartment complex haunted by ‘smell of death’

Laurel Plaza.jpg

The smell of death.

Some people say it lingers in an apartment complex in New Braunfels where things are so bad, they don’t know where to turn.

The New Braunfels housing authority, who oversees the laurel plaza apartments said they’ve had 7 reported incidents of smells or rat activity, and the Mayor said there is now a new interim director to try and fix these problems.

“Every room has a story.” She told us.

And said it’s never been worse than it is now.

“They put me on the 5th floor in room 514 and that room full of nothing but bed bugs,” Amelia said, “I would feel the flies all over me biting me.”

She blames management for the state of her surroundings.

“Rats come inside the apartment because there’s a hole under the floor where all the rats are coming from.” Amelia said.

Mickey Lloyd, Programs Manager with the New Braunfels Housing Authority doesn’t deny the problems.

“We’re doing the best we can with the bed bug situation but it’s ongoing and the best we can do is manage it.” Lloyd said.

And even took us inside to smell for ourselves.

“When we increased application of rodenticide that gave us the result we wanted but there’s a residue with that, since January what we’ve been dealing with is the smell of dead rodents.” Lloyd said.

And said the best solution right now is time.

“It’s a little bit more difficult in an apartment complex than it is in a house or a duplex and it’s even added difficulty when you’re working with seniors and disabled.” Lloyd said.

The city is documenting reports on pest control and the mayor said the new Interim Director of the Housing Authority is getting results.

Moving forward rooms are checked once a month, and if one tests positive it will be treated and checked once a week.

Sundance filmmaker attacked by bedbugs in Hell’s Kitchen apartment: suit

She Sundanced with bedbugs.

As documentarian Kyoko Miyake readied for the storied Utah film fest, she and her husband were under attack by NYC’s most hated denizens, according to a Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit.

Miyake and her spouse Felix Matschke accuse their Hell’s Kitchen landlord and Knockout Pest Control of failing to stop “a dangerous, serious, and recurring bedbug infestation” in 2016 and 2017 that left them with “numerous bed bug bites all over their bodies” and forced them to destroy “all of [their] personal property.”

“They were visible on her. She had pretty bad bites,” their lawyer, Dimitrios Kourouklis, told The Post.

Still, Miyake managed to submit her film “Tokyo Idols,” about young Japanese pop singers, to Sundance’s documentary competition in 2017.

In 2014, she won a prestigious Peabody Award. Matschke was one of the producers for both movies.

Tri-Star Equities didn’t return a request for comment about the allegations at 705 Ninth Ave., where a studio goes for about $2,000 a month.

Knockout’s owner, Arthur Katz, said his company’s protocol is to service a home over multiple visits, but in Miyake’s case, “the tenant did not permit us to complete protocol.

“Once we finished the last service, we never received to date a complaint,” he added.

Katz said all the technicians who serviced Miyake’s home are state-certified.

Bed bugs found in unit of Memphis senior living center

By: Jacque Masse

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Residents are uneasy after bed bugs were found in a senior living center in Raleigh.

The corporate office for Luther Trace – which oversees the living center – said the bed bugs were reported and treated on Friday.

Wesley Living Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Ron Budynas said they found bed bugs in one room but treated two other rooms and the lobby just in case.

The viewer wanted to be anonymous and told FOX13 they were bitten by a bedbug Thursday afternoon.

Budynas said bed bugs were found in the room on Friday and that’s when crews started a heat treatment.

“Bed bugs are something very serious,” said Carolyn Phillips.

Phillips said she was checking out the area for one of her friends but is now thinking twice.

“That’s very concerning and they are widely spread I’d be very concerned about that,” said Phillips.

Budynas explained crews used the heat treatment on two other rooms and the lobby just in case.

He said the treatment finished yesterday and the crews have not seen bedbugs since.

The corporate office said they will check on the room for the next 30 days to make sure everything is clear.



Bed bug bites: Most people who are bitten by bed bugs have welts that look like this.

Bed bugs are tiny insects that feed on human blood. They hide in dark places close to where humans sleep and usually crawl out to feed while people are fast asleep.

If you have bed bugs in your home, it’s unlikely that you’ll see one unless you look for them. Bed bugs hide in the crevices of mattresses, box springs, headboards, couches, and other places. They only come out to feed.

While a bed bug is feeding on you, you’re unlikely to notice. Most people are asleep when they get bit. Also, before a bed bug draws your blood, it injects you with a substance that prevents you from feeling the bite. When you wake up, you may notice itchy welts.

To find bed bugs, you usually have to look carefully. An adult that is full of blood can be the size of an apple seed. Hungry bed bugs and younger ones are about the size of a poppy seed.

Bed bugs can be hard to find because they’re often about the size of a poppy seed.

If you unsure of what’s biting you, a board-certified dermatologist can often look at the bites and tell you whether bed bugs are the cause.

As for getting rid of bed bugs, it often requires professional help. Pesticides are usually necessary to kill bed bugs and their eggs, but using these on or near your bed can be hazardous to your health. This is why the Centers for Disease Control recommends using a professional pest control company that has experience treating bed bugs.

To complicate matters, many pesticides and foggers cannot kill bed bugs because bed bugs have developed a resistance to the active ingredients in these products. It takes a bit of knowledge to know what will work.

If this news makes you want to leave your home for a few weeks, well, that won’t get rid of bed bugs either. Bed bugs can survive one year or longer without eating.

Another good reason to get professional help is to make sure you actually have bed bugs. Many insect bites cause itchy welts.

You’ll find other signs that bed bugs may have bit you at:

Bed bugs: Signs and symptoms

iStock and Getty Images

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “Joint statement on bed bug control in the United States from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).” Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2010.

Steen CJ, Carbonaro PA, Schwartz RA. “Arthropods in dermatology.”  J Am Acad Dermatol 2004; 50:819-42.

California mom bitten by ‘kissing bug’ warns others about danger of ‘silent killer’ parasitic disease

When Lynn Kaufer Hodson was bitten by a triatomine, also known as a “kissing bug,” she couldn’t even feel it. It wasn’t until a large, itchy lump appeared on her neck the next day that she realized some type of pest had sucked her blood.

Hodson had been staying with family in a camper on her ranch in Grass Valley, Calif., in November 2016 while she waited to move into her new home in Penn Valley — a town that was a roughly 30-minute drive away.

At first, Hodson just believed a spider or mosquito had bitten her while she was staying in a fifth wheel camper. But weeks went by, and the bite mark continued to throb and itch.

“It was super itchy for like two or three weeks,” Hodson, 49, recalled to Fox News, though she admitted she initially decided against going to the doctor.

It wasn’t until two months later that Hodson learned — by accident — the type of deadly bug that had actually bitten her.

This bug, commonly known as a triatomine, spreads Chagas, a disease that originated in Latin America.

This bug, commonly known as a triatomine, spreads Chagas, a disease that originated in Latin America. (REUTERS)


In January 2017, Hodson decided to donate blood, as she routinely did once a quarter. Weeks later, the wife and mother received a shocking letter in the mail from the American Red Cross that revealed there were signs she had been infected with the rare parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, which triggers a dangerous illness called Chagas disease.

Hodson immediately underwent follow-up testing at the Center of Excellence for Chagas Disease at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center, where doctors confirmed she had contracted Chagas.

The 49-year-old had to wait two months, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention prioritized high risk patients such as pregnant women and those with AIDS, before she could get any medications to treat the infection.

“There is no urgency, no concern, no anything with this disease right now.”

— Lynn Kaufer Hodson

“They say if you get it treated right away research shows it’s effective,” Hodson said. “What’s right away? I had to wait five months, so how I looked at it was — I have it. It’s either going to affect me or it’s not.”

At least 8 million people have been infected with Chagas disease in Central and South America and Mexico, according to the CDC‘s most recent report in December 2017. And an estimated 300,000 Americans in the U.S. also have the illness, a recent news release from the American Heart Association shows.

However, Hodson said the disease is called the “silent killer” because many people don’t show any symptoms. Therefore, she estimates the number of those infected to be even higher.

Lynn Kaufer Hodson, who turns 50 in November, said she sees a cardiologist once a year to monitor her heart activity.

Lynn Kaufer Hodson, who turns 50 in November, said she sees a cardiologist once a year to monitor her heart activity. (Lynn Kaufer Hodson)

Kissing bugs spread the infection by biting a human, typically on their face (hence the nickname), and then defecating near the wound. The parasite can then get rubbed into the open wound or get into the body if someone touches their mouth or eyes afterward.

Chagas disease can cause life-threatening heart issues, including heart disease, strokes, arrhythmias and cardiac arrest. About one-third of those infected will develop chronic heart disease, according to the AHA.

“There is no urgency, no concern, no anything with this disease right now. Not many people have it; it’s not a sexy thing. You can’t see it,” Hodson said, explaining that she’s hoping to “put a face” to the disease so others will take it seriously.

“It comes down to politics,” she argued.

Hodson currently sees a cardiologist once a year for an echocardiogram and electrocardiogram. She also wears a Holter monitor for 48 hours after every check-up to monitor her heart activity. That’s all she says she can do at the moment.

“I’m a total Type A control freak, but this is so beyond anyone’s control. You can live your life stressed and worried about it or you can just live your life,” Hodson said. “Life is short. You hope you’re okay and you live your life.”

Neonic Pesticide May Become More Toxic in Tap Water

Yet again, our government scientists – the oft neglected but so important brain trust of our Nation –bring the public some very important new data. Pesticide water monitoring experts at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) paired up with scientists from the University of Iowa in a federally-funded collaboration to track neonicotinoid pesticides or “neonics” in tap water, including the potential to form chlorinated disinfection byproducts (DBPs) from the pesticides and their metabolites that may be more toxic than the original compounds. And, the news isn’t good.

Following up on previous research finding neonicotinoids in tap water (Klarich et al 2017), the scientists now explore whether the neonic compounds or their metabolites that are generated in the environment are transformed into disinfection byproducts during common, important drinking water treatment processes used to protect public health, such as chlorination (Klarich Wong et al 2019). This paper is the first report of two known metabolites of imidacloprid in tap water; desnitro-imidacloprid and imidacloprid-urea. This is especially concerning because desnitro-imidacloprid is about 319 times more toxic to mammals than imidacloprid, so even much lower levels could be harmful.

In addition to discovering the presence of the two metabolites in tap water, the authors demonstrate the likelihood that these metabolites are further transformed to a new form of neonic-derived chlorinated disinfection byproduct during routine water treatment processes. The scientists simulated the conditions that would occur during realistic drinking water conditions, to show under laboratory conditions that chlorinated chemicals are produced.

These new chlorinated contaminants are untested, untracked, and potentially harmful. In other words, their potential impacts on human health could be a big deal! Other types of disinfection byproducts in drinking water are highly toxic, linked to a risk of cancer and birth defects.

Those potential harms could also be a big deal risk-wise because neonics are the most widely used insecticides on the market.  EPA and other regulatory agencies have disregarding the potential for neonics to harm vertebrates, because their mechanism of toxicity was thought to be insect-selective. Unfortunately, this caused a regulatory blind-spot in the harm they do to beneficial insects like bees, and aquatic invertebrate species that provide a critical food source for amphibians, fish and other aquatic vertebrates. The reason the metabolites (for example, desnitro-imidacloprid) raise a red flag is that science now demonstrates that the insect-selective toxicity is altered, causing them to be more toxic to vertebrates including people and other mammals.

USGS Pesticide Use Map – imidacloprid

The study report authors note that although the chlorinated disinfection byproducts derived from neonics have an unknown toxicity profile, it is possible that they may be more toxic than the parent compound. Thus, the authors recommend in the article that the “greater potential toxicity and frequent presence in these water samples of neonicotinoid metabolites demonstrates the need to consider their fate and persistence in drinking water treatment systems (ex. during chlorination and other treatment processes) and their potential effects on human health” (p. 7).  NRDC agrees! That’s why we are asking EPA to include all the neonic metabolites and chlorinated products in its human health risk assessment of the neonic pesticides, due later this year.

In addition to surface water and drinking water contamination, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has found neonics inside fruits and vegetables, where they can’t be simply be washed off due to their systemic nature. And, emerging science suggests a link with neonic exposure and potential disorders including neurobehavioral impairments in animal studies, and Autism-like effects in prenatally exposed children (see my blog for details).

In addition to including all relevant neonic metabolites in its risk assessment, EPA should also assess the cumulative risks from all the neonic pesticides and their toxic metabolites together. It is alarming that EPA seems to have no plan for conducting a cumulative risk assessment for this toxic and persistent class of pesticides.

The scientific evidence of harm is piling up – EPA must pay attention!

Full citation: “Chlorinated Byproducts of Neonicotinoids and Their Metabolites: An Unrecognized Human Exposure Potential?” Environ Sci Technol Lett, Jan 2019]



Senior Scientist, Federal Toxics, Health and Food, Healthy People & Thriving Communities Program

Information and Perspectives on Bed Bug Prevention, Protection and Safety

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Information and Perspectives on Bed Bug Prevention, Protection and Safety

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Information and Perspectives on Bed Bug Prevention, Protection and Safety

Information and Perspectives on Bed Bug Prevention, Protection and Safety