Bed Bugs a Problem in Homes, Not City Offices
WTOP.com (Washington, DC)
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
WASHINGTON - There's good news and bad news about bed bugs in
First, the good news.
It was recently reported that bed bugs were found at a D.C.
Department of Health office on North Capitol Street. However,
Gerard Brown, program manager for Vector and Rodent Control for the
Department, says, "It was not an infestation, it was one bed
The Department of Health's Vital Records Division gets many
visitors seeking birth certificates and death records and Brown
says the bug was found in a public waiting area, likely carried in
on a visitor's clothing.
"An office building is not an ideal place for bed bugs," he
Bed bugs are mostly nocturnal and they prefer quiet, undisturbed
And now the bad news.
"It's not getting any better," says Brown.
"Now bed bugs are starting to spread in single family homes. First
it was hotels, then it started spreading to apartment buildings and
then homeless shelters and now we get calls from private
Brown estimates the cost of ridding a two- to three-bedroom house
of bed bugs could be $1,500 to $2,000.
Hotel operators and owners of apartment buildings tend to be very
aggressive when bed bugs are first spotted because, according to
Brown, they want to curb the problem before it gets more
Bed bugs are parasites that feed on human blood. Although they
don't spread disease, they can cause skin rashes.
Bed bugs remain largely a city problem. Both Fairfax and Montgomery
counties report few problems with bed bugs.
There have been just 15 complaints filed with the Fairfax County
Health Department in 2012 and 21 in Montgomery County, rates that
pest control experts say are normal.
If properly treated, infestation can be curbed, but the Department
of Public Health says some citizens, particularly senior citizens,
aren't properly reporting bed bug infestations.
"They don't like to notify management because they sometimes are
embarrassed," Brown says.
Some people believe that bed bugs are a product of poverty or dirty
"That's not true. A bed bug can pop up anywhere."