Last night the Museum of the City of New York hosted a bed bug program. I’m very grateful to the museum and especially its director of public programs, Ryan J. Carey, for thinking of this problem and asking us to participate in discussing it. But unlike last year’s lecture at the NY Entomological Society, I don’t think I can offer a good recap (participation not being a good vantage point for observation). What I remember distinctly is that Lou talked about the hunger folds of bed bugs (conveniently expandable for taking in lots of blood), and that a certain gentleman from London said something terrible: that “whoever brought them in” should be responsible for eradicating them.
For the record, the landlord is legally responsible in New York City for the eradication of bed bugs. One can go on at length about all the ways that landlords need help in fulfilling this responsibility, and how there is no hope of success when the tenant is not cooperative (or when the pest management professional is not diligent) but, as far as the law, it’s difficult to conceive of the wholesale disaster that bed bugs would be in this city if it were otherwise.
Update: I just recalled that there were some questions in the audience about basic resources — a collection here, but some basic ones specific to the city:
- a NYC Health Department guide on how to select a pest control company (PDF) — see also
- also from DOHMH, a basic bed bug guide, in English and 6 other languages
- and, because the above guide does not include photographs, Lou’s photographs of bed bugs
Update 2: I should say that I like and respect David a lot (exhibit A, B, C, and D), but we
have our disagreements like to argue from time to time. He never forgets to remind me that we only became friends after a strong initial disagreement, about something or other long forgotten.
And here’s commentary about the evening from BrickUnderground. Please note, however, that I am not aware of any new law requiring inspection of adjoining apartments. There is only a stated intention from the Health Department, announced in the summer when the bed bug advisory report was released, to hold landlords (and tenants) to “enhanced expectations” that would specifically involve additional inspections. There have been no further details about the development of such a policy. But we should all be on the lookout for news on that front (and dare we hope, actually press the city about it), as it is very promising.
Update 3: Here is another writeup from Woman Around Town.