Bed Bug Panic Subsides, Along with Complaints and Violations
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Bedbugs taking over New York City? Scratch that.
Make no mistake, the irritating little critters are still crawling
all over the place. But new numbers obtained by NBC New York
suggest the panic has subsided and the battle against the
blood-sucking critters is headed in the right direction.
Complaints to the city's Department of Housing, Preservation and
Development are down 12 percent, from 9,029 in this fiscal year to
date, compared with 10,241 for the same period in the previous
Violations against landlords are down 19 percent., from 3,559 to
2,893. And bedbug-related calls to 311 are down 17 percent, from
8,736 to 7,245. The fiscal year begins in July.
"I think the hysteria has gone down," said Natalie Raben of M&M
Environmental, a pest remediation firm.
She said the company is still receiving the same number of
bedbug-related calls as last year, but the tone of the callers has
changed from panic to acceptance.
"People have gotten used to bedbugs. It's not as shocking anymore,"
One Lower Manhattan resident, who asked not to be identified,
recently hired a bug-sniffing dog to confirm that in fact, he and
his wife do have bedbugs.
But he said that after researching what to do, they decided they
don't need to spend thousands of dollars or throw away their
clothes. High heat dryers can treat the bedding. And a thorough
cleaning and inspection can manage the rest.
The tenant added, "I liken it to a mosquito bite -- which are
nagging but it's not the end of the world."
Of course, not everyone feels that way.
You can still find thousands of New Yorkers creeped out by the
tenaciously hungry insects, and other experts predict another
bedbug boom this summer, following the mildest winter in
Still, for the first time in awhile, the numbers at least seem to
be heading ever so slightly in the right direction.