Books Are Being Returned to the Hampton (NH) Library With Bed Bugs

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WOKQ | by Chio Acosta | October 28, 2019

Bed Bugs in Books, YIKES, Hampton Library May Ban Users.  What’s a librarian to do?  Well, first they disinfect and make sure the pests do not spread, then the books are discarded and a pest control agency is brought in to determine that the library is safe, but the broader question is how do they stop it from happening.  Seacoastonline reports on the issue that all libraries are facing and the steps the Hampton Library is taking to prevent the problem.

While bed bugs are not known to carry disease, they are creepy crawlies that leave bed bug poop everywhere, have an annoying little bite that looks like a rash and can trigger severe allergies.  None of those are good things.  Amanda Reynolds Cooper, the Lane Memorial Library director, says the library trustees will now be given a policy to approve that would require those that return books with bed bugs to obtain documentation that their homes are safe and bed bug-free before gaining admittance to the library.  This seems like a commonsense procedure but there are a lot of issues in play with this proposed policy.

Libraries are open to the public for good reasons and it’s a First Amendment issue to deny someone access.  Many people use the library for research into job opportunities, research into healthcare issues and these community hubs are not just for the storage of ideas.  Free public access makes libraries a safe space for learning.  What if you are homeless and looking for resources?  How can you claim your living space is “pest-free?”  It will be interesting to see how this debate plays out if the policy is approved.  Stay tuned, the trustees will meet to approve or not allow the policy on November 13 per reporting from seacoastonline.

 

Penn State Developing Poultry Bedbug Control

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Lancaster Farming | by Courtney Love, Philip Gruber |Oct 25, 2019

Penn State researchers are reformulating an exterminator spray to combat bedbugs in chicken houses.

Entomology professor Nina Jenkins started developing the biopesticide Aprehend in 2011 and, with her team, commercialized the product in 2017.

The product was originally meant for places like homes and hotels, where bedbugs can be a hard-to-kill nuisance.

Jenkins spoke about the project in an Oct. 8 call with PennAg Industries Association.

When they hitchhike into poultry houses, bedbugs bite the chickens to drink their blood. In heavy infestations, the birds may experience feather loss, lesions and anemia.

Bedbugs are tricky to manage because they can feed on many animals, including rodents, and they are developing resistance to common pyrethroid insecticides.

“You only need one to survive to re-establish,” Jenkins said.

Aprehend is not a pyrethroid. It is an oil-based spray that contains Beauveria bassiana, a fungus that infects the bedbug’s blood system and kills it. The fungus spreads readily among bedbugs but does not infect humans.

The product, available only to licensed pest control operators, works in dark, undisturbed household settings for up to three months.

Poultry buildings don’t provide such ideal conditions.

“It’s going to be an issue with feather dust and dander,” Jenkins said.

Before Aprehend can get to poultry houses, Machtinger and Jenkins need to secure funding. The product must also go through the Environmental Protection Agency’s approval process, which could take 18 months.

Aprehend would be just one part of a broader integrated pest management approach to bedbugs.

Poultry houses should have dedicated worker clothing that is run through a dryer, washed in hot water and then dried again.

Workers should also have designated shoes for poultry house use and practice good biosecurity, said Gregory Martin, a Penn State Extension educator.

Study: Nearly a Third of U.S. Bald Eagles Infected With Newly Discovered Virus

EagleU.S. NEWS | By Cecelia Smith-Schoenwalder | Oct. 21, 2019

NEARLY ONE-THIRD OF THE bald eagles in the United States are infected with a previously unknown virus, according to new research.

The study, which was published in the journal Scientific Reports on Friday, tested 47 eagles from 19 states and found that 32% of them had the newly identified virus, called bald eagle hepacivirus.

“This study has opened our eyes to glaring knowledge gaps about infection in a species of great national importance,” Tony Goldberg, lead study author and professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said in a statement. “It’s a more complicated story than we thought it might be at first, but that makes it more interesting.”

While not deadly, the newly identified disease could be contributing to a separate, fatal disease that has been causing declines in the bird’s populations. Wisconsin River Eagle Syndrome was first described in the 1990s, when observers spotted birds staggering and vomiting. They eventually died from the syndrome or were euthanized.

It is unclear what the link between the two diseases could be, if there is one. Birds outside of Wisconsin that didn’t have the fatal syndrome were still diagnosed with the newly identified virus.

“This study is another piece of the puzzle,” Sean Strom of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said in a statement. “Hopefully we can find more pieces and figure out what is happening.”

Despite being the U.S.’s national symbol, bald eagles have had a rough history in the country. Hunting, pesticide poisoning and habitat loss decimated populations in the 20th century. As few as 412 nesting pairs were in the U.S. at the population’s lowest point.

Strict regulations and the banning of DDT, a pesticide that caused the bird’s egg shells to become too thin, recovered populations to the point that the bald eagle was taken off the endangered species list in 2007.

Despite improved protections, bald eagles are still falling victim to poison. In March, seven bald eagles and one great horned owl were found dead in Maryland. Officials said they were likely unintentionally poisoned with a banned pesticide, carbofuran. The deaths came roughly three years after 13 bald eagles were found dead in the area under similar circumstances. Officials said they were “disappointed and frustrated” at the continued poisonings

Wash tomatoes with warm water to escape poisoning from chemicals – study

PML Daily| October 17, 2019 |by Micheal J. Ssali
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KAMPALA – The production of a big number of foodstuffs involves the use of poisonous substances that could be harmful to our health. It is almost impossible for farmers nowadays to successfully grow crops like tomatoes or Irish potatoes without the use of pesticides. It is equally difficult for farmers working on more than five acres to keep weeds under control without using herbicides.

Agro-chemicals are almost indispensible in modern farming, if not handled carefully they are dangerous not only to the farmers using them but also to the consumers and the environment.

Studies carried out by PHE (Pesticide Use, Health and Environment Project) and UNACOH (Uganda National Association of Community and Occupational Health) and whose findings were released last August in Kampala indicate that only 23% of farmers in Uganda have received training in pesticide and herbicide usage such as proper application techniques, storage, and safety measures. The studies further indicated that of the farmers who use synthetic pesticides only 14% had had training in its usage. Yet a growing number of our farmers use chemicals to safeguard their crops and livestock against diseases. Pesticides are also applied on stored crops like beans and maize.

Most farmers don’t take the trouble to follow manufacturers’ instruction when using chemicals, probably due to lack of training. The chemicals have also been discovered to have negative effects on the environment, polluting the soil and public water sources. Three hundred and ninety cases of acute poisoning were registered in 43 of the 66 health facilities in Wakiso and Pallisa districts between 2013 and 2017, according to the studies. Majority of the cases were non-intentional while the rest were occupational poisonings or due to unclear causes. Agro-chemical shopkeepers are among the high risk cases as they too hardly observe the required safety measures.

The studies led by Dr Aggrey Atuhaire revealed a total of eight different pesticides –Mancozeb, Malathion, Metalaxyl, Profenofos, Cypermethrin, Dichlorvos, Chlorpyrifos and Lambda-cyhalothrin – found in tomato samples randomly picked from market stalls in the different research districts. Of particular concern was Mancozeb, a fungicide, which was found in much higher concentrations than the rest in detectable levels for all samples from the farm and market. The studies indicated that most tomato farmers mindlessly spray big amounts of pesticides on the crop which can easily be identified on the tomatoes in market stalls.

Consumers have been advised to wash the tomatoes with warm water or to peel off the outer skin before eating

them. Among other recommendations to are: looking out for pesticide free tomatoes, growing personal vegetables at home with limited or careful usage of chemicals, invigorated national farmers’ education and practical guidance by agricultural extension workers, kicking out counterfeit agrochemicals, and passing and implementing the Uganda Organic Agriculture Policy.

A Food and Agriculture (FAO) report dated 23 June 2017 said that mindless use of agro-chemicals leads to soil pollution. It said, “Excess nitrogen and trace metals such as arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury can impair plant metabolism and cut crop productivity, ultimately putting pressure on arable land. When they enter the food chain, such pollutants also pose risks to food security, water resources, rural livelihoods and human health.”

Ugandan farmers apply agricultural chemicals like Glyphosate, a broad-spectrum herbicide, in fields close to swamps and public water sources. Running rainwater carries the chemicals from the fields to unintended areas in the valley. In the two studies, Glyphosate was the herbicide with the highest overall average concentration for the 86 water points for two sampling regimes in Budaka, Kamwenge, Gulu, Bushenyi, Rakai (Lake Kijanibarora) and in Sembabule.

Other toxic chemicals found in public water sources in the areas include Aldicarb, Dichlovos, Atrazine and Chlorfenvinphos. The research findings indicated that surface water sources had an over-all average higher pesticide concentration compared to groundwater sources. The most polluted water points were fetch ponds (in Budaka, Rakai, Pallisa, districts) streams (in Kamwenge, Sembabule, Kapchorwa) a lake (Kijanibarora, Rakai District) protected springs (in Bushenyi District) and boreholes (in Gulu Districts).

Another cause of worry, according to the study, is the way Ugandan farmers handle the empty containers of the agrochemicals. Most farmers abandon the containers in the compounds of their houses where children use them as toys and from where the containers are driven by running water into swamps and public water points. The researchers recommend that the government should put in place incentives to compel farmers to return empty triple rinsed and punctured pesticides

containers to pesticide shops or to central collection points for proper disposal. Empty pesticide containers remain poisonous and dangerous. The research projects also revealed that most farmers don’t use protective gear when handling or applying pesticides which is a big health risk.

The study reports emphasized the need for increased training of medical workers in dealing with herbicide and pesticide poisoning cases. It was emphasized that those taking a patient to the hospital should carry the container of the agro-chemical that caused the accident for the doctors to know what treatment to provide.

“Approximately 90% of the respondents agreed that pesticides are harmful to human health and that tomatoes sold in their local markets contain pesticide residues,” says the study report. “The reason for buying tomatoes containing pesticide residues is that majority (58.97% have no alternative. Approximately 82% mentioned peeling of the tomatoes as the best preparation method of reducing pesticide residues, though in practice, less than 24.63% of the consumers reported to actually peel the tomatoes during preparation of meals.”

Dr. Deogratias K Sekimpi, Executive Director of UNACOH (Uganda National Association of Community and Occupational Health) said, “We are not saying that farmers should completely stop using agro-chemicals. Rather we are asking everybody to be careful with them. All safety measures should be observed by everybody using them and they should all apply the right doses and avoid randomly mixing the chemicals without any expert guidance. Consumers should be cautious of the dangers of pesticide residues and wash the vegetables or peel off their outer skin during meal preparation.”

Health department investigates bed bug complaints at several Louisville hotels

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — by Valerie Chinn | October 14, 2019 |

Creepy, crawly bed bugs can be found everywhere: in schools, movie theaters, homes and hotels.

The small insects bite, and while they aren’t known to carry disease, Connie Mendel, deputy director of the Louisville Metro Department for Public Health and Wellness, said they can cause itching and create red bumps and welts.

“We’ll strip the beds. We’ll look at linens,” Mendel said. “We’ll look at mattress covers, seams, furniture, bed frames, anything around, and we’ll look for signs of bed bugs.”

Hotels are not required to self-report. Complaints often come from guests.

“If we do find signs of bed bugs, the facility is not allowed to use that room, and we’ll also look at adjacent rooms,” Mendel said.

The health department said its most recent complaints were at the HomeTowne Studios on Taylorsville Road, the Louisville Marriott Downtown and the Budgetel Inn on Bardstown Road last month.

“In our quest to be the cleanest, friendliest and most well maintained choice for our guest, we take every claim very serious,” a spokeswoman with the Marriott said in a statement Monday night. “We isolated each room, call in a third party expert to determine if there is activity and remediate if necessary. No room is turned back into use without being cleared by our certified vendor. “

All have since been resolved. The list for 2019 include hotels all over Louisville.

A Lexington woman sent WDRB News a video showing a cup with a bed bug inside. She said she found it in her room at the Galt House Hotel while she was visiting for the Bourbon & Beyond Festival.

The health department wasn’t called in her case. After she posted about it and it was shared several times with pictures, the Galt House posted about a full refund and apologies and said no bed bugs were found.

Patrick Gregory, the general manager of the Galt House, issued this statement.

The safety and comfort of our guests is always our first priority. Immediately upon receiving our guests’ complaint, they were moved to a new room, and a third party pest control service was called, as is standard operating procedure. No bed bug activity was found. During the second night of their stay, our guest again reported bed bug activity. This room was also inspected, and no evidence of bed bug activity was found. Out of an abundance of caution, both rooms were treated proactively. Our guests were provided additional food and beverage vouchers, and were offered a reimbursement for their stay.”

“The Galt House Hotel has been in touch with the guests over the weekend and the situation has been resolved to their satisfaction,” a Galt House spokeswoman said. “The Facebook post in question has been removed.”

Mendel said you can put your luggage in the bathroom while you check for bed bugs in the sheets and mattresses, even head boards. If you do find them, ask to be moved to another room farther away.

“Unfortunately bed bugs can be found anywhere. It’s not a sign of cleanliness. They are great hitch hikers,” she said. “You may find rust colored spots. That’s the droppings. You may find casings where they are multed, or you may find one where they’ve crushed them in their sleep, and it’s a blood spot.”

See below for the complaints across Louisville in 2019:

 

California Bans Popular Pesticide Linked To Brain Damage In Children

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California is banning a pesticide often used by growers of grapes, citrus, almonds and other crops. Sales of chlorpyrifos will be outlawed in the state as of Feb. 6.
Eric Risberg/AP

NPR News | by Richard Gonzales | October 9, 2019

Beginning in early 2020, California will ban the sale of the pesticide chlorpyrifos which state environmental officials say has been linked to brain damage and other health defects in children.

Under an agreement reached with Corteva Agriscience, the maker of chlorpyrifos, sales of the pesticide will end Feb. 6, 2020, and agricultural growers will not be allowed to possess or use it after Dec. 31, 2020.

“For years, environmental justice advocates have fought to get the harmful pesticide chlorpyrifos out of our communities,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement. “Thanks to their tenacity and the work of countless others, this will now occur faster than originally envisioned. This is a big win for children, workers and public health in California.”

Chlorpyrifos is used primarily on crops such as alfalfa, almonds, citrus, cotton, grapes and walnuts.

California environmental regulators have targeted the pesticide for years. They have designated chlorpyrifos as “a toxic air contaminant” that poses health threats when inhaled or exposed to the skin of bystanders. The agreement includes a ban an aerial spraying.

“The swift end to the sale of chlorpyrifos protects vulnerable communities by taking a harmful pesticide off the market,” said California Secretary for Environmental Protection Jared Blumenfeld in a statement. “This agreement avoids a protracted legal process while providing a clear timeline for California farmers as we look toward developing alternative pest management practices.”

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under President Barack Obama proposed a federal ban on chlorpyrifos in 2015. But the EPA reversed course within three months of the new Trump administration.

Last year the federal government’s top fisheries experts issued a report saying that the pesticide and two others — diazinon and malathion — were washing into streams and rivers and harming wildlife, such as endangered species of salmon.

Chlorpyrifos has already been banned in Hawaii, according to the Associated Press.

Pesticide manufacturer Corteva Agriscience did not respond to NPR’s emailed request for comment.

However, it told the Associated Press: “Through recent actions, the State of California has improvised and implemented several uniquely challenging regulatory requirements for chlorpyrifos. These new, novel requirements have made it virtually impossible for growers to use this important tool in their state.”

Bedbugs Cause Three-Day Restricted Access at NY Hospital

October 7, 2019 |By Cathy Jakicic | Facilitiesnet.com

img_2370 The outpatient area of C.R. Wood Cancer Center at Glens Falls Hospital in New York was restricted recently because of bedbugs, according to the Post-Star.

A patient came to the outpatient Cancer Center with bedbugs, according to a hospital spokesperson.

In response, the facility restricted the area and gave it a thorough cleaning.

The hospital tried to contact all patients who had an appointment scheduled to tell them of the restriction.

The area was reopened three days later.

Clairton, PA schools cancel classes amid bedbug issue

Tribune Review | by Brian Rittmeyer | September 19, 2019

Allegheny County, PA | Clairton City School District is dismissing students early Thursday and will be closed Friday because of bedbugs, the district announced.

According to a letter dated Wednesday from Superintendent Ginny Hunt, a bedbug incident occurred in the district’s building, which houses its elementary and middle/high school.BB_Clairton

Clairton Middle/High School September 18, 2019 5:01 pm

Please be advised;

This is a follow-up to the letter posted on the districts social media pages and sent home on Wednesday afternoon;

Clairton City School District will have a 11:30 am early release on Thursday 09/19/19 and will be closed on Friday 9/20/19 for preparation and administration of a secondary treatment.

All after school activities will be cancelled on Thursday and Friday. The Home Football Game at Neil C. Brown will still take place and is scheduled for a 7 pm kickoff.

As always our number one priority is the safety and well-being of our students and staff and we will continue to take all necessary precautions and safety measures. As always it is at the parents discretion to keep the student home (this would be an excused absence, if a note is received to the office within 3 days of returning)

School will resume on Monday 9/23/19.

Bedbugs are small, oval, brownish insects that live on the blood of animals or humans. Adult bedbugs have flat bodies about the size of an apple seed; they swell and are a reddish color after feeding. They do not fly but can move quickly.

The district has contacted an exterminator to treat multiple classrooms in addition to common areas.

“We will continue to monitor the situation and consult with public health and pest control professionals to eliminate any remaining bedbugs in the building and to minimize the potential for future bedbug activity in the school, as necessary,” Hunt said in the letter.

For the preparation and administration of a secondary treatment, the district will release students at 11:30 a.m. Thursday. The district will be closed on Friday.

After-school activities on Thursday and Friday are cancelled; however, a home football game at 7 p.m. Friday at Neil C. Brown Stadium will still take place.

Classes will resume on Monday.

The Edge at Union Station settles tenants’ class action lawsuit for $550,000

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The Edge Apartment Building and Union Station in Worcester Christine Peterson

Telegram.com | by Brad Petrishen | September 18, 2019

WORCESTER – The Edge at Union Station, the upscale off-campus student housing complex behind Union Station, has agreed to pay $550,000 to settle a class action lawsuit alleging it improperly handled security deposits and built illegal stipulations into leases.

Among the provisions the owners agreed to not enforce going forward was one that allowed them to fine tenants $100 for not answering the door for a law enforcement officer, as well as a clause stating the complex was not liable for property losses attributed to bedbugs.

“The Edge did a good job recognizing the issues and working with us to help resolve them,” Josh Gardner, lawyer for the plaintiffs, said Tuesday.

About 535 people who lived in the building between June 2016 and June 2019 are expected to be eligible to file a claim, court documents show, and claims are due Oct. 25.

Mr. Gardner filed the lawsuit in Worcester Superior Court in October 2017 on behalf of Douglas Schaffer, a three-month tenant of the building at 8 Grafton St., who alleged his security deposit was returned late after he departed in June 2017.

The suit alleged that The Edge did not properly account for the security deposits it collected, did not always return them quickly enough and improperly charged a $50 application fee.

It also alleged The Edge billed tenants on estimates of their electricity usage rather than using dedicated meters, and violated sanitary code by not cleaning common bathroom areas.

Opened in June 2016 in the former Osgood Bradley building, The Edge was specifically built with students in mind. According to court records, it features one-, two- and four-bedroom suites, and tenants pay for bed space within a unit rather than for a whole suite.

Each tenant pays a pro-rated portion of the electricity, court papers show, while the multi-unit suites have bathrooms in each bedroom as well as a half-bathroom in the common area.

Noting that each bedroom had its own bathroom, it argued it also was not legally required to clean the common half-bathroom once every day.

In a joint motion filed Aug. 13 urging a judge to certify the class and preliminarily approve the settlement, lawyers on both sides agreed the bathroom and electricity claims faced “significant legal obstacles” for the plaintiffs and had “the least likelihood of success.”

The Edge did concede that it “did not properly handle the security deposits in some respects in the past.”

The lawsuit had alleged the complex broke a law governing security deposits by collecting application fees, failing to hold deposits in separate interest-bearing accounts, failing to providing notice to tenants of which bank accounts held their security deposits, failing to pay interest on the security deposits and failing to properly withhold or return the deposits within 30 days of the end of tenancy.

According to the joint Aug. 13 motion, The Edge has stopped charging application fees and has “placed security deposits into a compliant account.”

It also states The Edge has “agreed to amend (its) standard lease to take out the provisions plaintiff believes do not comport with Massachusetts law.”

Also removed was language allowing The Edge to charge up to two months of rent as security deposit, allowing it to terminate utilities “at any time,” and language pertaining to certain fees and procedures relative to lease enforcement.

As for the electricity bills, The Edge will determine those charges by dividing the number of bedrooms in each unit rather than dividing the number of tenants in each unit.

Mr. Gardner, of Gardner & Rosenberg in Boston, said it is “not often the case” in a class action lawsuit that the defendants recognize and work to solve issues, but that is what happened here.

“It’s a good settlement, and it’s a credit to them and their attorney that we were able to reach it,” he said.

The bulk of the settlement – $500,000 – will be covered by an insurer, court records show, while the remaining $50,000 will be paid by The Edge.

“The defendants themselves have significant financial constraints,” the joint motion reads. “For this reason, the remaining $50,000 will be paid by defendants, with a personal guarantee from two individuals.”

Mr. Shaffer and Mary Shaffer are listed in the settlement as the two people guaranteeing the extra $50,000.

Karen Friedman, the lawyer for The Edge, did not immediately return phone and email messages left Tuesday afternoon. A voicemail left at the office number for The Edge late Tuesday afternoon was not immediately returned.

The amount individual claimants receive from the settlement will depend on how many of the estimated 535 eligible tenants file a claim.

The $550,000 – minus about $182,000 in lawyers’ fees, and some other expenses – will be spread among the people who file claims by Oct. 25.

Mr. Gardner said he anticipated everyone who files a claim will get at least $500, and likely more than that.

Mr. Schaffer, who now lives in Ohio, will get $5,000 for being the lead plaintiff.

The settlement will not technically become official until after the claims are submitted and the judge gives a final approval. The agreement notes that The Edge is not admitting any wrongdoing by agreeing to settle.

Bedbugs found in student-issued iPads in Minnesota

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School districts said bedbugs have been found in five of the iPads.  (golibo/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

New York Daily News | by David Matthews | September 17, 2019

These tablets have a few bugs. Literally.

Beginning in the 2014-15 school year, students in the St. Paul Public School District had the opportunity to be issued an iPad to improve their learning experience. This year’s iteration of the program has gotten off to a rocky start after students reported their devices being infested with bedbugs.

CBS 4 reports that the creeps have been found in district-issued iPads, necessitating a letter be sent to parents asking their help in keeping the devices clean. The district said that high school and middle school students can bring their iPads home, but did not clarify what year the students with the affected devices were enrolled.

The school system said that the bedbugs had only been found in five of the 17,000 iPads it had issued.

“There is no indication of the presence of any additional pests in any other iPads,” the district told CBS 4. “However, as the health and safety of our students are our highest priorities, we felt it was responsible and prudent to ask families to maintain the cleanliness of the devices.”