New York Bed Bugs

Bed Bugs In New York

The Big Apple is getting infested! There are bed bugs in New York and there are taking over. Get the facts on these nocturnal pests and how one can get rid of them quickly and permanently.

“Sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite?”

It’s no joke; millions of people living in New York and its surrounding cities aren’t sleeping tight because bed bugs are biting.These seed-size insects are feasting on the blood of helpless sleepers and infesting hotels, offices, luxury condos to dilapidated, multi-family homes, from public schools to theaters to department stores.

Bed Bug Facts

Once believed to be eradicated in the United States during the 1950s, bed bugs are making a big comeback in many states, including New York City. Entomologists say the pests are reappearing due to an increases in international travel and the ban on certain bug pesticides, like DDT, that were once used to treat bed bugs.

Flat, reddish-brown and wingless, the common bed bugs tend to hide in mattress where their victims sleep and are attracted to carbon dioxide and body heat. Though they are are not strictly nocturnal, they are most active at night which explains why they attack when most of the victims are sleeping.

While bed bug bites can cause redness, itching and allergic reactions in some people, however according to Mayo Clinic, there are no evidence to suggest that bed bugs transmit disease.

Evidences also suggest that the typical life span of a bed bug is about 12 to 18 months and they are able to live for several months without feeding on a host.

Bed Bug Statistics in New York

According to a new 2012 report in PR Newswire, New York City has been named the third most bed bug infested cities in the United States.

The list below shows the top 15 most heavily infested US cities.

  1. Philadelphia
  2. Cincinnati
  3. New York City
  4. Chicago
  5. Detroit
  6. Washington, D.C.
  7. Columbus, Ohio
  8. San Francisco
  9. Denver
  10. New Haven, Conn.
  11. Dallas
  12. Houston
  13. Indianapolis
  14. Miami
  15. Cleveland

In a report revealed by the New York’s Education Department, there were a record of 1,019 confirmed cases of bed bugs in the 2009-10 school year – an 88 percent increase from the previous school year.

The online travel site, TripAdvisor, where travelers post reviews said it has seen a 12 percent increase in New York City posts referencing to bed bugs. (The site compared the first eight months of 2010 with the same period the previous year.)

In 2009, New York City Health Department found more than 6 percent of New Yorkers, or one in 15 adults said they had battled the pests in the past year.

Bed bug complaints to New York City housing officials skyrocketed to almost 11,000 in 2009, up from fewer than 500 in 2004; city officials recorded a 240 percent spike in bed bug violations in private rental housing from 2006 to 2009.

Bed Bugs in New York

Similarly, in another report by the New York City Bed Bug Advisory Board, dated April 2010, they reported that:

  1. Private residential rental housing violations data in New York City show a greater than 240% rise in bed bug violations from 2006 – 2009, from 1,193 to 4,084 violations.
  2. In 2009, 311 received 33,772 bed bug-related inquiries, up from 21,922 in 2008, an increase of 54%.
  3. There were 426 confirmed bed bug cases resulting in treatment in 243 New York City public schools in FY 2009, twice as many as the preceding year.

Bed Bug Responsibilities For Tenants and Landlords Living in New York

There are laws in place that help protect tenants from negligent landlords. The Warranty of Habitability for NYC states that landlords must keep the premises in adequate condition. They also must provide insect and pest control. A judge, however, can rule that the tenant is at fault for the infestation and the landlord does not have to provide professional extermination.

The New York City Housing Maintenance Code also addresses the problem of infestations. It states that the landlord must provide mandatory extermination for any infestation. However, in smaller multiple-dwelling buildings, the lease can state that the tenant must take care of infestations.

This information should not be regarded as legal advice. As always, you should consult a professional in any legal matters. If you find yourself in a position of possible dispute, you need to contact a lawyer. There are many who specialize in tenant/landlord relationships. They will be able to help you.

The New York City Rent Guidelines Board has also published the necessary forms for the new bed bug tenant disclosure law (New York City Administrative Code ยง 27-2018.1) which mandates a notice of one-year bed bug infestation history be given to new tenants. The notices are required of all property owners offering residential leases:

Tenants who are affected by bed bugs can also read the helpful advice provided by the Metropolitan Tenants Organization and New York City Council.

How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs

To get rid of bed bugs, it will unquestionably be a hard and demanding task since it often requires more than one treatment, and several months, to fully eliminate them.

New York Bed Bugs
“New York has Bed Bugs. Protect Yourself” image credit: JMazzolaa 

If you suspect bed bugs are in your home, the first, and most obviously option, is to seek the help of a professional bed bug exterminator. They have the invested knowledge, training and equipments to help guarantee the success of the extermination of bed bugs.

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Other options are also available for those who want to tackled the bed bugs themselves. Since bed bugs can hide anywhere from your bed to couches to furnitures, a thorough search followed by intensive cleaning with vacuum, heating and using pesticides and bed bug proof mattress covers can help eliminate the problem.

At the same time, experts recommend that to prevent bed bugs from spreading, you should also not pick up any discard furnitures from the street which can be a direct route to bringing an infestation back to your home.

Additional Resources:

Bed Bugs Travel Prevention Tips
Information on how to prevent bed bugs from hitchhiking to your home.

New York City Bed Bugs
Bed bug mangement for New York City residents.

Cornell University Bed Bug Guide
Guidelines for prevention and managment of bed bugs in shelters and group living facilities.

Bed Bugs FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions on bed bugs from the National Pest Management Association.

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