Bed bugs mutate and flourish in NYC, even as complaints drop, experts say

Article originally sourced from: NewsDayLLC

Written by: Sheila Anne on July 21, 2016 7:38 AM

Wacky, Weird but True Bed Bug Facts

If you follow the news and have seen all the attention bed bugs have received in the past few years, you might think you know all there is to know about this pest: They feed on humans while they sleep, they cause itchy, red bumps and they are hard to get rid of! But these pesky insects have a lot of secrets that you might be surprised to learn. Check out these weird and wacky bed bug facts!

We got your good bed bug news and your bad bed bug news.

The good news? Even as news reports say that bed bugs have invaded City Hall, bed bug complaints are way down in NYC. The number of bed bug complaints taken by 311 and forwarded to Housing Preservation and Development, for example, sank from 7,760 for the Jan. 1-May 23 period in 2012 to 3,950 for the same period this year — a drop of almost 50%.

Reports taken by 311 involving the Department of Education (bed bugs are in schools, too) declined from 366 in 2012 during the same time to 205.

And while there was an uptick of violations issued by HPD in fiscal year 2015 to a total of 2,881 — which was 155 over the previous fiscal year, violations have fallen since fiscal year 2011, when 4,451 such orders were issued.

The bad news? Experts say that bed bugs are literally growing thicker skins (“integuments” in entomological parlance) that make them resistant to a common insecticide, and that if complaints are down, it’s because people aren’t complaining and not because the pests are disappearing from our private and public spaces.

“Residents don’t complain to the city about bed bugs any more, but the problem is still acute,” said Glenn Waldorf, a director at Bell Environmental Services, based in Fairfield, N.J. “When people have bed bugs, they want the problem solved: They call respected professionals,” who can respond immediately, rather than wait for city inspectors, Waldorf explained.

The eradication business is booming and particularly robust now that summer has begun, say exterminators. Summer is the season when bed bugs are friskiest and people are on the move, carting the critters with them to infect more places. People sharing homes, cars, bikes and other belongings — often to lessen costs and carbon footprints — is also helping bed bugs hitchhike more proficiently, said Rich Kane, owner of Bed Bug Pest Prep NYC.

Most people have no idea how bed bugs found their way into homes, theaters and offices, and investigations sometimes yield surprising findings."


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