Bedbug killers move in

The Jersey Journal
Monday, May 2, 2011

A Jersey City seniors building is about to become a test lab for scientists figuring out the most effective ways to get rid of bedbugs.

Changlu Wang and Richard Cooper, a professor and graduate student at Rutgers University, will be using part of a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to establish an Integrated Pest Management program at Berry Gardens, a seniors-only affordable housing community managed by the Jersey City Housing Authority.

Bedbugs were successfully exterminated there last year, officials said.

Wang, the project's principal investigator from the university's Department of Entomology, and Cooper will have access to 370 apartments and the assistance of an exterminating staff, explained Jersey City Housing Authority Executive Director Maria Maio.

"This initiative will be like a training program on how to effectively deal with bedbugs," said Maio. "We can learn about preventative measures that will cause the least amount of inconvenience to residents."

The pest management program will work toward sustainable bedbug management by combining a mixture of non-chemical and chemical control methods, and encourage community involvement and early detection, officials said.

"Rutgers will track the effectiveness of its IPM program, monitoring all apartments and documenting pesticide usage and changes in management practices periodically over a one-year period," said John Martin, EPA's Press Officer.

Similar programs will be taking place in roughly 50 low-income communities across New Jersey, officials said. This grant is part of a total of $550,000 that the EPA is channeling toward bedbug management.

The program in Jersey City will take 19 months.

"Bedbugs are not limited to low-income housing," Maio said. "If something good comes out of this program, it could help a lot of people."