Down in Washington, the EPA is holding its second National Bedbug Summit, which gathers the brightest minds in the pest control business to brainstorm solutions to the pestilence that has caused nightmares for so many New Yorkers. For two days, attendees will "review the current bed bug problem and identify and prioritize further actions to address the problem." And to make sure NYC's voice is heard, several City Council members have sent a letter to the EPA asking for help here on the front lines.
In the letter—which was signed by Speaker Christine Quinn, Gale Brewer, Rosie Mendez, and Maria del Carmen Arroyo—the Council members call on the EPA to "conduct further research and development of effective pesticides to use on bed bugs." Citing a recent study by entomologists at Ohio State University, the letter notes that these insidious little bastards have become immune to certain pesticides. And funding for research into new insecticides is scarce, because bed bugs don't carry disease, making them less of a priority.
The Council members also want the EPA to strengthen regulations for how pesticides are used. "Currently, the EPA only regulates pesticides, not the manner in which pesticides are used," the letter says. "Pesticide-only approaches to bed bugs do not work. Strengthening these regulations will result in more appropriate pest management procedures that can influence the rising number of bed bugs." They also want the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to allocate additional resources for bed bug extermination. Pest control services currently come out of the maintenance budget; the City Council wants HUD to allocate separate funds for pest control.
Here in NYC, the Health Department is about to release survey findings "on a
public data portal" that reports the prevalence of bed bugs at the neighborhood level, which means you'll soon know exactly which real estate markets are most desirable to upwardly mobile parasites.