Over the last several years the uptick in bed bug infestations across the country have made these pests more than a little newsworthy. That’s why every year at about this time we publish our annual end of year bed bug roundup. It’s an opportunity to highlight a few of the more interesting, and sometimes outlandish, bed bug stories we’ve come across over the last 12 months.
So without further ado, let’s dive into our first news item. We begin with something close to home…
New York’s Worst Buildings for Bed Bugs
Landlords and property owners are legally required to report bed bug infestations to the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Pursuant to Local Law 69 that information is available for public review. This means anyone with an interest in the city’s bed bug activity can do a little research and find out which areas and, indeed, which specific buildings are struggling with a bed bug infestation.
This year we have a dubious top five that includes a building once made famous by Sting on his 2016 album. The Manhattan landmark sits at 57th and 9th in Hell’s Kitchen. Built in 1860 and boasting 10 high-end apartments it’s been ranked fifth in this year’s list of worst buildings for bed bugs in New York City.
The full top five includes:
- 944 42nd St – Brooklyn
- 948 Clarkson Ave – Brooklyn
- 8609 Bay 16th St – Brooklyn
- 1237 1st Ave – Manhattan
- 401 57th St – Manhattan
It looks like Brooklyn is hitting it hard this year.
Baristas, Bed Bugs and Bad Press
It would be difficult to have lived through 2022 without hearing about the Starbucks employee walkouts that have happened across the country. Baristas and other employees have been striking for better wages and the right to unionize. But amidst all the media coverage one complaint from employees at the international coffee chain seemed to get overlooked. Yep. You guessed it. Bed bugs.
Starbucks workers at a New York roastery took to the picket line in October of this year to protest, among other things, unsanitary working conditions. That included bed bugs which had been reported by several employees. The pests were found throughout the building, including the break room where staff were required to leave their personal belongings.
Naturally, employees were concerned about bringing bed bugs home after their shift. Those concerns were only heightened when some members of staff reported discovering bite marks on their arms and torsos. It just goes to show that labor negotiations aren’t always about money.
Amazon Closes Bed Bug Infested Warehouse
From the Big Apple we head South to the Lone Star State.
We tend to think of bed bugs as household pests but businesses aren’t immune to these blood sucking pests. Case in point. Earlier this year an Amazon fulfillment center in Amarillo, Texas was forced to temporarily close their doors when bed bugs were found in the warehouse.
Employees contacted local news outlets to report finding bed bugs in the center, with some staff members saying they were being bitten during their work shifts. Ultimately, Amazon closed the warehouse for inspection and bed bug removal experts were called in to clear the premises. Once the warehouse was cleared of the infestation employees returned to work and business resumed as normal.
It just goes to show that bed bugs can turn up in some pretty surprising places.
Bed Bugs Infest Albuquerque Emergency Shelter
Homeless shelters are often the bridge that helps people in crisis rebuild their lives. They not only provide much needed shelter they help people find jobs, permanent housing and long term stability. But like any environment these shelters are susceptible to bed bug infestations.
That’s just what happened at a shelter in New Mexico. Residents at an Albuquerque homeless shelter began noticing bed bugs crawling on sheets and bedding. Staff were quick to confirm the sitings but were forced to admit that dealing with these types of problems was always difficult.
First, they had to send up a request to the city for pest control assistance. Then they would have to find a way to empty the shelter so the premises could be treated. That could leave their residents back out on the streets.
Bed bugs at homeless shelters and rehabs are an ongoing problem across the country. Too often there is simply not enough money in the budget to cover effective pest control. Moreover the people caught in the middle are already vulnerable and at risk.
Is Nowhere Safe from Bed Bugs?
For our final highlighted story we head to Athens, Georgia. In September of this year The Athens-Clarke Public Library was temporarily closed after bed bugs were found inside the building. A visitor to the library spotted a stray bed bug on the second floor and the infestation was later confirmed by local pest control experts.
Treatments for bed bug infestation were quick and effective and the library reopened to the public without to much of a disruption. But it does show that even the quiet of a public library can be disturbed by a bed bug invasion.
These are just a few of the bed bug encounters to make the news this year. Hopefully we’ll have a quieter 2023. But until then take care.
Published by Scott Palatnik
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