Dallas bed bugs expert says he treats 5 to 10 rideshare vehicles per week

WFAA ABC8 | by Matt Howerton | February 21, 2020

Most drivers get their cars treated because they see bed bugs, get a complaint, or are just taking precautions after a ride an exterminator said.

DALLAS, Texas — A Dallas-based pest exterminator tells WFAA that he treats up to 10 rideshare vehicles per week for bed bugs, a mode of transportation that thousands turn to weekly to get around the metro.

Bed bugs have not been a great selling point for the DFW area.

Per Orkin in 2019, Dallas-Fort Worth ranked No. 10 on its list of “Top 50 Bed Bug Cities.”

Baltimore ranked number one. 

In a Terminix ranking last year, Dallas-Fort Worth was ranked third.

For Don Brooks, owner of Doffdon Pest Control, bed bugs are his life. He travels daily around the metro to rid the nuisance insects (that multiply fast) from both homes and vehicles.

“Quite frankly, they’re not racist at all and they don’t care about how much money you have,” Brooks said. “They’re bloodsuckers.”

Don Brooks
Don Brooks talks with WFAA about clearing cars of bed bugs.

Brooks’ has a unique mobile business, one that focuses on burning out bed bugs with high heat.

He pulls around heating equipment on a trailer that can heat homes up to 150°F.

Hoses run into the home and Brooks controls the temperature from the trailer.

He also puts up a tent and heats it to the same temperature to treat cars that possibly have bed bugs, and that’s where Brooks has been seeing an interesting trend.

Brooks told WFAA that he’s seeing more and more rideshare drivers.

“I probably do five to 10 rideshare cars per week,” Brooks said.

“Drivers either see bed bugs, someone complained, or they were suspicious of a customer and just want to make sure.”

Yeah, rideshare vehicles and bed bugs.

That combo is probably one that some haven’t thought about when hailing for a ride on their phone.

But it isn’t an outlandish concept when you think about how many customers rideshare drivers pick up each day.

“It’s highly likely they can crawl off of someone,” Brooks said.

In fact, the insurance company Netquote put a small study last year that said rideshare vehicles were 35,000 times more germy than a toilet seat.

One Los Angeles law firm even represents people who may have been bitten by a bed bug in a rideshare vehicle or had an infestation in their home as a result of booking a rideshare trip.

They can have their car sprayed with a liquid pesticide for a cheaper price.

“I can spray a car in 15 minutes,” Brooks said. “I usually do the backseat, the crevices, and the carpet on the floor.”

Pest control photo
Heat hoses run from Brooks’ trailer and into a tour bus to raise the temperature and kill any possible insects.

WFAA reached out to three other pest control services in the metro, and two said they use high heat to get bed bugs out of cars.

However, neither business could recount knowing that a customer was a rideshare driver.

Brooks’ revelation isn’t meant to scare anyone, he even said it wouldn’t stop him from booking a ride.

But he did say to be wary of any cars that weren’t clean, something that rideshare drivers are supposed to be on top of.

“If you feel suspicious, just throw your clothes in the dryer for 50 minutes on high heat,” Brooks said. “Then it’s best to hop in the shower.”

Bed bugs, sex, and drugs: Records detail problems at Toledo adult care homes

 The Blade logo

A Blade review of hundreds of pages of public records found that 35 individuals suffering from mental health and addiction disorders were removed from six adult care homes in Toledo as a result of concerns about poor living conditions and possible criminal behavior.

The documents, obtained by The Blade through Ohio’s public records law, provide insight into how unscheduled inspections of the homes in Toledo in December and January raised questions about residents’ access to basic care and fundamental necessities. State and local social service officials performed the unannounced inspections after they received complaints about violence, unsanitary living conditions, and even individuals in one home being sex trafficked.

State reports show inspectors found some residents weren’t being fed three meals a day. Others claimed they were assaulted by group home employees. Bed bugs infested every bedroom of one home; while in a second location investigators found broken glass, a chicken carcass uncovered on a plate in the refrigerator, a room that smelled like urine, and a mattress flanked by used condoms in the backyard.

Now authorities are trying to determine next steps, while operators of the homes in question are pushing back against what they say are unfair accusations about conditions and safety, and the improper decision to displace residents from homes where, in some cases, they had lived for more than a decade.

 Reverend Otis Gordon looks at the agenda during planning and oversight committee meeting held by the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Lucas County in Toledo on Tuesday February 11, 2020.

Lucas County Mental Health Board takes next steps in group home relocations

State Department of Health officials have largely declined to discuss the case, while the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Lucas County has defended the removals, arguing conditions found in the homes were dangerous.

Some elected leaders and mental health service advocates and experts, meanwhile, are calling for better oversight of adult care homes, which total 112 in Lucas County.

Terry Russell is director of Ohio Adult Care Facilities Association, a Columbus-based nonprofit that works with group home operators to improve care and services for residents. He believes that operators have for years been left alone to fend off the many problems that can arise when caring for mentally ill individuals. State officials must do more to ensure such homes are clean and safe, and operators are supported, he said.

“Sometimes we treat the mentally ill like commodities,” Mr. Russell said in response to the allegations surfacing in Toledo. “The mental health system has just ignored them.”

‘Imminent danger’

The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services oversees the state’s adult care home program. The program aims to provide community-based housing opportunities to adults who suffer from mental and developmental disabilities, addiction, and other issues.

The homes, usually found among common neighborhoods, are operated by private citizens or enterprises, working under state licenses. Operators must renew their license every two years, according to state law. Home inspections are done annually, each time a licensee seeks renewal, and whenever a complaint, whether anonymous or by caseworkers and guardians, is filed with the state.

The home at 68 San Rafael in Toledo on Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020. The mental health services department has relocated 35 people from six homes adult group homes in Lucas County due to poor living conditions.

35 Toledo group home residents relocated due to poor living conditions

Operators must adhere to several regulations, including providing three meals a day, thoroughly and routinely cleaning homes, and ensuring adequate staffing.

It was complaints about such requirements that led county officials along with the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, beginning in December, to conduct unannounced visits to eight homes in Lucas County. Eventually residents from six of those homes, all in Toledo, were removed.

Scott Sylak, the director of the Lucas County mental health board, said Ohio Revised Code gives his department authority to take action when residents are in “imminent danger.”

“I’m concerned for the health and safety of our clients which fall under our governing,” he said. “But, I’m also concerned about the providers and the operators and helping them. … We need them. We need to do a better job of supporting them and they need to do a better job of following through on the licensing requirements and addressing the issues that they know they need to address.”

Lori Criss, director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, declined to discuss specifics of the individual cases.

“In general, we view residential care facilities as an important part of the continuum of people staying in the community,” she said. “It’s a service we value. We’re working with stakeholders right now on how we can improve residential care facilities.”

San Rafael Avenue

The state conducted an unannounced  visit on Jan. 17 to a group home located at 68 San Rafael Ave. in South Toledo after receiving a complaint that two women living in the four-person home were being sex trafficked. State and local mental health officials inspected the home alongside Toledo police and Lucas County sheriff’s deputies.

Inspectors on site talked to residents — unnamed in inspection reports — who said two female residents would often have “strange men” in the home and would often use drugs. Those same residents  reported their concerns to owner Clara Brank, who operates Clara Mae’s Adult Family Home, LLC.

“One resident reported that she is afraid due to the strange men in the home and one of the other residents threatened her for telling the owner what was happening,” according to a state investigation summary. “The facility owner reported that she was aware that two of the residents were having men come into the group home and she contacted case managers and gave the residents [30-day vacate notices], but did not increase supervision in the homes to ensure the safety and well-being of all…”

Sgt. Paul Davis, a spokesman for the police department, said a detective at the scene determined no one at the home was being sex trafficked, however, at least one woman was “having sex in exchange for drugs and money.”

Officials found and documented other concerns during their visit, too.

Records from the inspection accuse Ms. Brank of not providing three meals a day to residents as required by the state. Inspectors found a chicken carcass uncovered on a plate in the refrigerator, and a room in the house smelled like urine. Broken glass was observed in some areas of the house and a mattress flanked by used condoms was observed in the backyard. Residents also reported Ms. Brank only came by twice a day to bring food and pass out medications, according to state documents.

Following the inspection at 68 San Rafael, Mr. Sylak and state officials decided as a precaution to relocate residents from there, and from Ms. Brank’s other group home, located at 72 San Rafael Ave.

Ms. Brank, when reached by The Blade last week, said she “has enough supervision” at the home on 68 San Rafael Ave., but declined further comment.

“I’d rather not say anything right now,” she said.

Previously, Ms. Brank told The Blade the problems at the home started after she agreed to house an individual who was released from jail on the basis that state and local officials would help her monitor the resident. After breaking house rules, the resident received a 30-day vacate notice and was supposed to be gone by Feb. 2, Ms. Brank said, but then on Jan. 17, authorities relocated residents from the two San Rafael properties.

“I’ve been sick. I’m depressed,” she said on Jan. 30. “I didn’t do anything wrong. Why am I being closed?”

Mr. Sylak said he doesn’t have the authority to “close down” the homes and added that the state will go through a process to determine the status of affected operators’ licenses.

Douglas and Clover 

Several reported issues led officials to Delores Place III, a group home at 3521 Douglas Rd.

A resident there accused a staff member of assault after a dinnertime argument. According to state documents, the resident left the dining room area after the argument and was followed by the employee, who barged through a door and tackled the resident onto a bed. The resident cut his head on a nearby window, an injury that required staples, according to the report.

The report says the staff member did not offer assistance to the resident and a family member then came to the group home to take the resident to the hospital. The report also accuses facility owner Tracy Price of asking the resident not to file a police report “due to not having another staff member available to work.” The employee and the resident subsequently filed police reports against each other.

Attempts to reach Ms. Price were not successful.

During an unannounced complaint-based visit on Dec. 20, 2019, inspectors found live bed bugs in every bedroom, facility operators only providing one meal to residents each day, and expired food made available to residents. The facility’s license had expired 10 months earlier on Feb 2, 2019, and the state never received a renewal application, records show.

Ms. Price also owns homes at 5565 and 5238 Clover Lane. Residents from those houses were relocated because of concerns about supervision. Live bed bugs and “bed bug excrement,” were also found on mattresses inside the homes, according to reports.

Tom Johnson, who lives next door to the home at 5238 Clover, told The Blade he and other neighbors have had to call the city about trash in the backyard, which caused rats to appear.

Mr. Johnson said he worries residents are often without food and he will offer them vegetables from his garden.

“Those people don’t deserve to be treated like that,” he said.

Hadley Homes

At 2262 Collingwood Blvd., complaint-based visits were conducted on Jan. 3 and Jan. 7 after a resident alleged the operator’s son “beat him” and told him he would be thrown out of the facility.

Durell McGhee runs the 14-person adult care home under his Hadley Homes LLC. He said he didn’t learn about that complaint until he received a letter from the state on Feb. 10. He told The Blade he immediately fired his son once he got the letter — but that was 33 days after the incident. Mr. McGhee said he was in the dark during that time, wondering why residents were removed from the home.

“When I found out what the problem was I fired him immediately,” Mr. McGhee said. “They never told us a reason. If I would have known, I would have fired him right then.”

Mr. McGhee said he’s now working to better train new employees and taking other preventative steps so future problems don’t occur. But Mr. McGhee also believes county officials are “overstepping” by removing residents from the homes.

“What they’re doing is wrong,” Mr. McGhee said. “The county is totally out of order. There were people there 15 years, crying, asking them not to take them.”

Mr. Sylak defended the decision to remove residents in order to keep them safe. He also said the residents all moved willingly and voluntarily.

“We’re always going to protect people when we believe their health or safety is in imminent danger,” he said.

Attempts by The Blade to contact adult care home residents were unsuccessful.

As of Monday, no criminal charges had been filed in relation to the adult care home complaints and inspections.

Since the removals, the operators of the affected homes have been given until Thursday to provide the state a written plan that identifies how owners “will correct, or have corrected each finding,” records show.

Eric Wandersleben, a spokesman for the Ohio mental health department, said the state will then check compliance with the corrective plans through follow-up site visits.

“If the providers are still out of compliance, the department has the authority to take further action,” he said.

Mr. Russell  feels more resources need to be provided to support operators who provide adequate living conditions for residents.

Toledo city councilmen Larry Sykes and Yvonne Harper put the blame more pointedly at the state level. Both said state officials need to be doing more to regulate such homes, and ensure those who live in them receive quality care.

“The state needs to be held accountable,” Mr. Sykes said. “They need to reassess their policies. There’s a lot of questions that need to be asked.”

The Lucas County mental health board will hold a regularly scheduled monthly meeting Tuesday at 4 p.m. at 701 Adams St.

Furniture Today: Nip it in the bud!

 

Please, everyone sleep tight and don’t let the bedbugs bite! We have all heard this as youngsters but we paid no attention. Maybe we should.

Here in Richmond, two of our elementary schools are having to close some classrooms to have them deep cleaned for … you guessed it, bedbugs. Parents are being told to put the child’s clothing in a pillow case and run it them in a clothes dryer at its hottest setting for one hour to kill the pests. Meanwhile, other schools are watching out for this new, but very old, problem.

Truthfully, I have not heard much about bedbugs over the past 50 years in the furniture industry until recently. If you read the hotel business publications, bedbugs are a HUGE problem, and there are a half dozen full-page ads for bedbug solutions or how to prevent them. There are occasional stories about entire floors of hotels being closed for cleaning and bedbug control.

I have read in travel publications to not leave your luggage open where bedbugs can climb in and catch a ride to a new home, yours. Be careful how you handle your clothes in hotels and just don’t throw them around, especially near the bed. This is not a problem at remote and backward third world countries; it is in major U.S. cities in a big way.

Unfortunately, bedbugs are quietly impacting the residential home furnishings business. The way I hear it, stores that help dispose of old beds when they deliver new ones, get their delivery trucks infested. Since most new beds are delivered wrapped, the bedbugs are getting into the upholstery on its way to be delivered. Customers are NOT happy with this free add-on and make demands on the stores. Recently, I read that the average cost of a resolving a bedbug problem is $1,700, which sounds low to me.

Upon hearing about this and also hearing about some of our larger furniture stores having many bedbug suits from consumers, maybe this is a problem our industry needs to address in a serious way before some crusading do-gooder starts suggesting laws and regulations we don’t want or need.

My wife and I own a 120-year-old wooden farmhouse on the Rappahannock River, just off the Chesapeake Bay. Over the past 20 years, we have had to call for help with a raccoon family in the attic, a large icky spider problem in one bedroom, tiny mice in a wall and a black snake that fell out of a closet near the pool table. But we have never found bedbugs!

W.W. “Jerry” Epperson, Jr. is a founder and managing director of Mann, Armistead & Epperson, Ltd., an investment banking and research firm. Jerry is the head of their research efforts and has in excess of thirty years of experience in the publication of hard/soft dollar research which focuses on demographics, consumer products, furnishings (residential and contract) and related issues. More specifically, Jerry’s research in the furnishings industry is recognized on a world-wide basis for its in-depth coverage of suppliers, manufacturers and retailers.

Hollywood Actress Trapped On A Cruise Ship With Bed Bugs: MYBEDBUGLAWYER™ Files Lawsuit

LOS ANGELESJan. 15, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — MYBEDBUGLAWYERTM, the nation’s leading law firm for Bed Bug Litigation has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Connie Flores and her husband Alvin, against Princess Cruises Line over the couple’s horrific exposure in a stateroom infested by bed bugs during a recent cruise from Los Angeles to MexicoConnie Flores is an actress who has recently appeared in the Oscar Nominated Netflix film Marriage Story.MYBEDBUGLAWYER

“Imagine yourself on a cruise at sea with your stateroom infested with bed bugs. There was nowhere to go. We were trapped. We felt helpless. There were bed bugs coming out of the pillows and the mattress, we felt betrayed,” said Mrs. Flores.

Blood can be seen on the pillows while bed bugs crawl under the mattress, as shown by the video the couple recorded. The bed bugs feasted on Connie and her husband as they slept. The bites were so severe that it landed Mrs. Flores in the hospital. Her husband remains traumatized by the entire incident, said Brian Virag, Founder of MYBEDBUGLAWYERTM.2

The emotional suffering, however, continues to be the bigger nightmare for our clients. They continue to relive waking up in the middle of the night imagining bed bugs sucking the blood from their body as they slept, added Virag.

“After this ordeal, I wanted to advocate and bring awareness to people who get exposed to bed bugs. No one should have to go through what we experienced,” said Mrs. Flores.

According to the lawsuit filed in Federal Court in Los Angeles (Case Number 2:19cv09961) by MYBEDBUGLAWYERTM and Law Offices of Aksana Coone (maritime cruise ship injury attorney), the cruise ship knew or should have known of the bed bug infestation and simply failed to protect its passengers from physical and emotional harm. The lawsuit also alleges that the cruise ship’s policies and procedures were inadequate in maintaining the safety of their guests. “They simply were negligent in providing safe premises,” said Virag.

According to Virag, about one in every five Americans has either experienced or knows someone who has experienced bed bugs.

MYBEDBUGLAWYERTM is the only law firm that specializes exclusively in bed bug litigation and has lawsuits pending against Disneyland, the Queen Mary and represents Brazilian Supermodel Sabrina Jales against Hilton Hotels. Virag and his firm have obtained the largest jury verdicts ever recorded in US History for victims of bed bug exposure.

 

Staten Island NYCHA residents file nearly 2,000 roach and bedbug complaints in first 9 months of 2019

Stapleton Houses

Stapleton houses shown on July 10, 2018. Data obtained from the New York City Housing Authority showed Stapleton had the highest number of bedbug and roach complaints of any development on Staten Island. (Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel)

SILIVE | January 14, 2020 | by Paul Liotta

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Staten Islanders residing in developments operated by the New York City Housing Authority filed nearly 2,000 bedbug and roach complaints in the first nine months of last year.

NYCHA data obtained by the Legal Aid Society shows nearly 60,000 such complaints across the city in the same time period. On average, those complaints were closed within 10 days — something the Legal Aid Society’s Attorney-In-Charge of the Civil Law Reform Unit Judith Goldiner pointed to as good news.

To continue addressing the issue and others facing NYCHA tenants, Goldiner called for more funding for the authority, particularly on the state level.

Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-East Shore/South Brooklyn) has advocated for tenants with both city and federal officials. In March, she was accompanied by the regional director for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Lynn Patton, for a tour of the New Lane Area and South Beach NYCHA developments.

“In the 2018-2019 State Budget, we invested $250 million to improve conditions at NYCHA including mold, lead, bug infestation,” Malliotakis wrote in an email Monday. “The real question is what is NYCHA doing with the money because we can’t keep throwing more money into a blackhole.”

Malliotakis, HUD head tour borough NYCHA buildings, call conditions a ‘national disaster’

Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-East Shore-Staten Island) and Lynn Patton, regional head of Housing and Urban Development, visited the New Lane Senior Center in Rosebank on Friday, March 22, 2019. (Staten Island Advance/ Kristin Dalton)

State Sen. Diane Savino (D-North Shore/Brooklyn) echoed Malliotakis’ concerns about NYCHA management. Neither elected official said whether they would heed the call for more state funding to the housing authority.

“My colleagues and I, year after year, led the charge for increased funding for NYCHA,” Savino said. “This is a continuous management problem — just like with mold and faulty pipes. NYCHA needs to take these quality of life and health issues more seriously.”

Assemblyman Michael Cusick (D-Mid-Island) said he believes the insect infestations are “emblematic of decades-old challenges facing the housing complexes.”

“While I am encouraged that NYCHA has decreased the time it takes to address these infestations, I will continue to support increased funding and accountability for NYCHA in Albany,” he said.

Up until Sept. 4, Staten Islanders residing in NYCHA developments filed 1,839 complaints, and had average wait times of about eight days. Of those complaints, 143 were for bedbugs, according to the data.

Both the Cassidy-Lafayette and South Beach NYCHA developments had high levels of bedbug complaints. Of the 119 complaints at Cassidy-Lafayette, 40 were for bedbugs. Of the 188 complaints at South Beach, 35 were for bedbugs.

The remainder of the borough’s NYCHA developments had the following numbers:

  • Berry — 169 complaints, 9 for bedbugs
  • Mariners Harbor — 176 complaints, 11 for bedbugs
  • New Lane Area — 102 complaints, 11 for bedbugs
  • Richmond Terrace — 187 complaints, one for bedbugs
  • Todt Hill — 189 complaints, 10 for bedbugs
  • West Brighton I & II — 205 complaints, 11 for bedbugs

State Sen. Andrew Lanza (R-Staten Island) said he would consider increased state funding, but that NYCHA would first need to prove that management of its facilities is “on the right track.”

A NYCHA spokeswoman said their internal numbers show improvements to closed bedbug and roach work orders, and the time it takes to close bedbug orders, something she attributed to its new Integrated Pest Management system.

However, that system has also contributed to the increased wait time for roach complaints. Visits take longer, but result in fewer complaints due to increased prevention efforts, according to NYCHA.

Instead of simply spraying for roaches, exterminators are taking more care at developments by looking for holes, caulking and vacuuming. Bedbug wait times were not affected by these changes, because NYCHA treats them and rats as emergencies.

“NYCHA is working closely with the Federal Monitor on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques and a Pest Action Plan, as per the January 2019 agreement,” NYCHA spokeswoman Rochel Leah Goldblatt said.

In January 2019, the city reached a deal with HUD that allowed the department to install a monitor overseeing NYCHA’s management and required the city to make an additional investment of $2 billion over five years.

City estimates have put NYCHA’s capital need just over $30 billion.

Assemblyman Charles Fall (D-North Shore) said financial support is needed from all levels of government.

“No one wants their mother, brother, or child living in the horrendous conditions that are described by NYCHA residents; nor should we as elected officials want this for our constituents,” Fall said.

“Furthermore, we must ensure that NYCHA is held accountable; meaning all funds must be allocated sensibly and utilized to dramatically transform the shameful living conditions residents continue to describe.”

Miami Ranked As A Top 50 City For Bed Bugs: Orkin

PATCH | January 13, 2020 | by Paul Scicchitano

Washington, D.C., ranked as the most bed bug-treated city in the country, according to Orkin.

Washington, D.C., ranked as the most bed bug-treated city in the country, according to Orkin. (Via Shutterstock)

MIAMI, FL — It’s the two words no homeowners want to hear: bed bugs. Orkin, the pest control and protection service, recently released its annual rankings of the 50 most bed bug-treated cities in the nation, and Miami finished in 32nd place.It’s good/bad news for our city as Miami improved from its 35th ranking on last year’s list. Tampa ranked 34th and Orlando ranked 36th.

The rankings were based on metro areas where Orkin performed the most bed bug treatments from Dec. 1, 2018, to Nov. 30, 2019. Both residential and commercial treatments were included.

For the last three years, Baltimore was the No. 1 city in the nation for bed bugs; but its nearby neighbor, Washington, D.C., took the top spot in 2020.

Here are the top 10 cities overall:

  • Washington, D.C.
  • Baltimore
  • Chicago
  • Los Angeles
  • Columbus, Ohio
  • New York
  • Detroit
  • Cincinnati
  • Indianapolis
  • Atlanta

“While bed bugs have not been found to transmit any diseases to humans, they can be an elusive threat to households,” said Chelle Hartzer, an Orkin entomologist who was referenced in a press release for the rankings. “They are excellent hitchhikers, and they reproduce quickly, which make it nearly impossible to prevent bed bugs.”

A description for the blood-sucking bugs on the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website sounds like something from a Stephen King novel: “parasitic insects that feed solely on the blood of people and animals while they sleep.”

The reddish-brown bugs are typically 4 to 5 millimeters in length, or the size of Abraham Lincoln’s head on a penny. The creatures are also known for multiplying incredibly quickly, as females can deposit one to five eggs a day in the right conditions.

Orkin provides a range of tips to prevent bed bugs from inhabiting your home.

  • Inspect your home for signs of bed bugs regularly. Check the places where bed bugs hide during the day, including mattress tags and seams, and behind baseboards, headboards, electrical outlets and picture frames.
  • Decrease clutter around your home to make it easier to spot bed bugs on your own or during professional inspections.
  • Inspect your residence regularly — when you move in, after a trip, when a service worker visits or after guests stay overnight.
  • Examine all secondhand furniture before bringing it inside your home. This is a common way for bed bugs to be introduced into homes.
  • Wash and dry your bed linens often, using the hottest temperature allowed for the fabric.

 

Washington, D.C. Is the Bed Bug Capital of the U.S.

a close up of an animal: Bed bug Cimex lectularius. (Photo by: Edwin Remsburg/VW Pics via Getty Images)

© Edwin Remsburg/VW Pics/Universal Images Group via Getty Bed bug Cimex lectularius. (Photo by: Edwin Remsburg/VW Pics via Getty Images)

Baltimore was ranked No. 1 for three straight years before falling to No. 2 on Orkin’s annual list this year, according to a Monday news release from the company. Washington was ranked No. 2 last year.

Chelle Hartzer, an Orkin staff entomologist, tells U.S. News that Washington and Baltimore were “probably pretty close last year.” Possible reasons for the two cities consistently being ranked so high are their size and the amount of domestic and international travel in and out of them, she said.

“The more people you have, the more prevalent these pests can be,” Hartzer adds.

A bed bugs-focused information page on Washington’s Department of Health website notes that the insects were extinct decades ago, but that an increase in global travel and the discontinued use of “caustic” insecticides due to healthy-living initiatives have allowed the pests to have a resurgence.

“Now, our nation is much more habitable for the bed bugs,” according to the webpage.

The office of Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser did not respond to a request for comment from U.S. News.

Orkin bases its list on data from the 50 metro areas where it performed the most best bug treatments from Dec. 1, 2018 to Nov. 30, 2019. Rounding out the top 10 were Chicago; Los Angeles; Columbus, Ohio; New York; Detroit; Cincinnati; Indianapolis and Atlanta.

“While bed bugs have not been found to transmit any diseases to humans, they can be an elusive threat to households,” Hartzer said in a written statement. “They are excellent hitchhikers, and they reproduce quickly which make it nearly impossible to prevent bed bugs. Sanitation has nothing to do with where you’ll find them.”

In its news release, Orkin warned that signs of bed bugs could include “small black spots indicating bed bug feces or nymph bed bugs in places such as mattress seams, bed frames and furniture.” The company recommended that people inspect their homes regularly, decrease clutter, examine secondhand furniture and frequently wash bed linens with hot water.

“The key to preventing a bed bug infestation is early detection,” Hartzer added in the release. “When one or more bed bugs enter a space, we call it an introduction. During an introduction, bed bugs probably haven’t started reproducing yet, but they could soon. Vigilance is key to stopping bed bugs before infestation levels.”

Copyright 2020 U.S. News & World Report

NYC public housing residents log 60,000 complaints for bedbugs and roaches

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS JAN 12, 2020  by Michael Gartland

The Grant Houses in Harlem had the most overall creepy crawler complaints with 981 — 877 of which were for roaches.

The Grant Houses in Harlem had the most overall creepy crawler complaints with 981 — 877 of which were for roaches. (New York Daily News Illustration)

Welcome to Bed Bug City.

Over the last two years, New York City Housing Authority residents filed approximately 200,000 complaints pleading for relief from bedbug and roach infestations, NYCHA data shows.

The Grant Houses in Harlem had the most overall creepy complaints over the first nine months of 2019 with 1,000 — 894 of which were for roaches.

The Pomonok Houses in Queens had the highest number of bedbug work orders during that period at 156. The Wagner Houses and Grant Houses didn’t trail far behind with 129 and 106 bedbug jobs for each complex respectively.

The Pomonok Houses in Queens had 156 bedbug cases - the most in the first first nine months of 2019.

The Pomonok Houses in Queens had 156 bedbug cases – the most in the first first nine months of 2019. (Theodore Parisienne/for New York Daily News) 

The statistics on roach and bedbug complaints between Jan. and Sept. 2019 came through a Freedom of Information request filed with NYCHA by the Legal Aid Society, which shared the data with the Daily News. The agency also shared data on insect complaints from 2018.

Tyrone Bell, tenant association president at the St. Nicholas Houses in Harlem, said people haven’t complained to him about bedbugs, but he wasn’t surprised that his complex had the 5th highest number of gripes, given other issues there like rats, mold and faulty elevators.

“There are plenty of problems,” he said. “This development needs a lot of work.”

Judith Goldiner, Legal Aid’s attorney-in-charge of civil law reform, described the number of infestation work orders as “troubling,” and cited it as just another reason she and others are calling on Albany to put $2 billion in additional funding toward NYCHA.

The Wagner Houses on First Ave. in Manhattan had 129 bedbug cases in the first nine months of last year.

The Wagner Houses on First Ave. in Manhattan had 129 bedbug cases in the first nine months of last year. (Andrew Savulich/New York Daily News)

The bug numbers were not all bad news though, according to Goldiner.

On average it took NYCHA about nine days to fully address the complaints — a detail she views as a good sign.

“This is a clear byproduct of more staff on the ground and resources,” she explained. “With the legislature now in session, we again call for increased funding for public housing authorities to address these problems and others facing tenants.”

A NYCHA spokeswoman pointed to a downward trend over the last two years when it comes to critter complaints, noting that the authority has hired 20 new exterminators over the last year.

Bedbug beefs dipped from 12,220 in 2018 to 10,343 in 2019; and closed work orders for roaches dipped from 87,400 in 2018 to 84,516 last year. The time it took, on average, to address bedbugs also went down from 13.3 days in 2018 to 9.7 days in 2019, but roach complaints took slightly longer in 2019, about a day more on average.

“Our trends show an improvement in closed bedbug and roach work orders,” said NYCHA spokeswoman Rochel Goldblatt. She noted that the longer times for roach remediation stem from NYCHA’s new Integrated Pest Management system, which places an emphasis on more than band-aid solutions.

Instead of spraying for roaches, exterminators are looking for holes, caulking and vacuuming,” she said. “The bedbugs weren’t affected by the above trend because we treat them like an emergency and try to schedule them as soon as possible. This was updated in our system in July 2019, making rats and bedbugs a higher priority.”

The advocates’ ask for more state cash — at the beginning of this Albany legislative session — is part of a broader push to increase NYCHA funding. Tenant advocates are also demanding a $1 billion increase in NYCHA funding in the city budget and a $6 billion increase on the federal level.

Fiscal hawks describe such outlays as ill-advised given NYCHA’s track record of wasteful spending.

“NYCHA hasn’t been fundamentally reformed,” said E.J. McMahon, research director for the Empire Center for Public Policy.

State Sen. Zellnor Myrie (D- Brooklyn) agreed, but only so much. He said NYCHA deserves blame for past fiscal mismanagement, but added that it doesn’t mean government should continue to underfund it.

He pointed out that $2 billion is just a fraction of the more than $30 billion NYCHA now needs.

“It would not meet the entire deficit,” he said.

‘You’re better off sleeping in your car’: How Paris is plagued by scourge of bed bugs

THE LOCAL | January 10, 2020

The bed bug infestation that is worsening across France has left hoteliers and residents in Paris struggling to find a remedy to a problem that leaves them often out of pocket and out of home.

If the last thing on your mind when staying at a glitzy Paris hotel is having to worry about getting bitten by critters, think again.

A Paris hotel group head has admitted that even high-end hotels in the French capital are affected by a pest infestation that’s getting worse across France.

France’s bed bug problem has seen the number of cases go from 180,000 to 400,000 in just two years.

In 2018 alone, there were 100,000 bed bug infestations in Paris, according to the French Union for Pest Control (CS3D), a scourge that is now also affecting the capital’s hotel industry.

As one TripAdvisor user commented about their stay in a Paris hotel last November: “Bed bugs, no handling of the matter and no treatment. You’re better off sleeping in your car”.

“It’s traumatizing hotel managers, we talk about it among ourselves, but timidly” Jean-Marc D’Orx, general president of Ile-de-France’s Hotel Union, told Le Parisien.

“The hotelier is a victim in this kind of case. It’s not that the hotel is dirty, but it has welcomed people who have brought the bed bugs with them.

“When a room is infested, you have to change all the bedding, the mattress, the bed frame, it can cost anywhere from €300 to €10,000 depending on the category of the hotel.

Aside from these big financial losses (not fully covered by insurance according to D’Orx) and the effect bed bugs can have on a hotel’s reputation, hotel managers also have to close their establishment until new beds have been delivered and pest controls carried out.

In fact, since 2018 any landlord with a rental property in France that’s found to have bed bugs or any other parasite infestation (cockroaches, rats etc), has to cease letting it out, or face a fine of €50,000 to €100,000 for not doing so.

“In Canada, pest control treatments are mandatory when a tenant departs, but unfortunately this is not the case in France,” French housing and social inclusion group Si Toit Lien told Le Monde.

This has resulted in countless unwitting tenants in France having to deal with a serious health and housing problem from the moment they move into their new home.

According to the French Union for Pest Control, 92 percent of French people have at some point found pests in their homes.

But bed bugs – called ‘punaises de lit’ in French – aren’t just being found in beds.

“It’s horrible, even when you’re sure they’re gone you see them everywhere,” a north American reader in Paris who asked to remain anonymous told The Local.

“The cinemas have a problem with them so you start avoiding places.

“You throw out everything that’s part of your bed including the mattress, even though they say all you need to do is wash beddings at 90degrees and it should be fine.

“The pest control guy I got was great. It cost €450 for him to come three times to fumigate. The main problem at my place was the carpet.

“So on top of the cost of fumigation there’s also the expense of staying a night or several nights at a hotel, which often has to happen.

“The fumigator told me bed bugs were by far his biggest business, way above cockroaches and mites, and that he couldn’t keep up with demand despite not advertising.

“The French blame Americans for bringing them over…I got them from an American friend who travels a lot. Bastard.”

The Local’s Paris based editor Ben McPartland said: “A neighbour in my block just dumper their mattress in the street after realising it was teaming with bed bugs. They were everywhere. It was stomach-churning.”

Bed bugs are 7mm-long insects that feed on human blood, usually at night. Their bites can result in skin rashes, allergic reactions and psychological trauma for the person trying to sleep.

After having almost disappeared in the 1950s, bed bugs (Latin name Cimex lectularius) have proliferated in France in recent years.

 

 

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