Have your say

Tell us what you think about bed bugs in New York—we hope you will be guided by the simple principles of civility and honesty. And we regret that we will remove reviews of pest control providers even if they appear to be sincere. Thanks for your understanding and support!


  1. Renee

    Okay, I’ll go first. I sent my personal letter for our campaign to my council representative today. It was painless.

    I’ll follow up with a phone call next week.

  2. sue greene


    No one is talking about how bad the bed bug epidemic is in New York. Do these people work with you in your building?
    I was bite about 1 month ago and was scared to death.
    I live with 2 other roommates. They honestly do not care and say they can live with them and they will not give you cancer. Horrified to pass this to anyone else. They actually told my landlord and super that they could live with the bugs, IT’s okay, after i called to complain. They said I can’t believe this is the first time you have dealt with this. It’s common in other countries. They don’t just going tearing down the beautiful castles because of bed bugs. Its not like getting mugged.
    They are not allergic to the bites and either don’t get them or don’t react to them Meanwhile, I have done everything, I can to not spread and eliminate this bug. I am living in plastic and chemicals. 60 days now… They go to work and just carry on like it is nothing. THEY are spreading bugs to there friends, work place and the public.
    After the second pco, I hired the K9 bb dogs to come in an check out the apt, to make sure they were gone. Because before this we had not found a bug and everyone was saying its in my head and i was still getting bit. no bug as evidence. They multiply so fast
    Any how, The dogs found 3 places in my apt and them I caught one in a trap. I thought, I had brought one home from the movie or subway. The dogs hit they were in my roommates room and the living room. i know think they were living with this and don’t feel the bites. I am extremely allergic, so by the time they got to my end of the apt. I knew day one.
    I had to threaten to take my roommates to Housing court to get them to help do the proper prep. One has clutter stacked to the rafters and still did not get rid of one piece of old junk. She had no time to prep. Just moved some of her stuff over to friends. One is on a work visa and wants no trouble.
    Instead of letting me help them clean and inspect there stuff, because now they are just moving, breaking the lease. Not because of the bugs, but because I have been so angry with them.
    They just packed it up tight and are bringing it with them to there new apt. They spend the night at their friends, ride the subway, go to fancy firm and do not have time to clean there clothes and seal in plastic and do all the things need, to not pass on to the public. They are a menace to society. I want these people reprimanded and educate the public.

  3. Renee

    Hi Sue,

    I think that there is actually more information and awareness out there. More people have heard of bedbugs and understand how prevalent they have become in the city. But this does not mean that people will want to talk about it or believe it can happen to them. Bedbugs can be scary, gross and unpleasant. Who wants to think about bedbugs unless they absolutely have to? Many will not really understand until they or someone close to them is affected.

    But sharing information and facts with people can only do good. Even if they don’t completely get it, they will remember what you say and it may help them down the road. You can try to spread of awareness, just do it calmly if you can and matter-of-factly. You can tell people how bedbugs have affected you. But lecturing will not work. Also key is to have low expectations; you shouldn’t be disappointed if people don’t understand or don’t want to discuss it.

    As for your roommates, it can be hard for some people who are not allergic to the bites to help. I hope you can soon put this behind you.

    More education is definitely necessary. We can work on that together, yes? Thanks for your comment. Don’t forget to write your council representative!

    All the best…

  4. paula

    One major problem with this bug is that there is no easy way to rid them. Experts state that 50% of the population do not react to the bites. Out of the 50% that DO react to the bites, I would guess only 50% of THOSE people are attempting to rid them, protect themselves and the spread. There are many thousands of people that are spreading these bugs unknowingly and knowingly. The numbers of reports are way off in that so much of the population not reacting alone….

    Detection of this bug, even by professionals is very very difficult. People have hired PCO’s gotten inspections, come up with nothing and then about a month later when the infestation is really bad, the home owner finally finds a bug. At this point it’s too late, infestation is bad, spread through out the home, car and most likely their job as well. It’s a -very sad and unbelievable situation for todays time.

    In severe infestations, even when you have an experienced PCO, ridding them 100% is very very difficult and many times when you think they are totally gone, they are not. This also continues the spread because by the time the person realizes the bugs are still there (due to no early detection) it’s too late.

    In addition, after families spending all that they have on many pesticides in the home, still getting bit, ridding expensive furniture, belongings, living out of plastic for months and months….it would help the economy greatly IF a reliable pesticide were to come on the market, use it once and that’s it. No more mountains of plastic, furniture going to the dumps, less amounts of pesticides going into the environment. This epidemic is greatly hurting our environment due to resistance and pesticide treatment methods available.

    Lastly and just as important. The psychological impact on people effected is truly devastating. I don’t think it’s just because there are bugs eating at you while you sleep. You it was possible to just treat and be done with it, that would be a God send. The bigger impact is from the living in an infested environment for a long period time during this months of repeated treatments, slowly ridding everything you own due to infestation and/or decluttering for these treatments. The experience is much like going through a fire or flood in the home but much much worse. You yourself is the one ridding, decluttering, walls, floors items get permanently damaged from mishandling from techs and pesticides. This problem sucks every penny out of you and none of it is covered by insurance. I would believe there are many families eventually on the street due to the economics of this. If having to make a choice, I would much rather lose my home, belongings to a fire. It happens in one day, you can collect under insurance and slowly recover your life.

    With this epidemic and how much it has spread, it takes months to rid the bug, then you go to a movie, restaurant, or child comes home from school and it starts all over again. How is a family to recover financially from something that doesn’t end? Having peace and safety from this is now at an end.

    Now for some rambling….How is one to treat non treatable items? Computers, toys, etc…the answer is, unless you get fumigated with vikane, you cannot. You bag these items of 18 months or rid the item. This effects how children learn, people work, everything one does in a normal environment. Shame on the US for having let this get so far and so many people suffering.

    Many “signs” show that my family may have gotten these bugs once again. If this shows to be true, then we are all in big trouble because all I’ve done is shop at the mall and go to eat at some restaurants. I believe that if major steps and changes aren’t made soon, unless we live in a bubble, everyone will be living out of plastic and will have bedbugs unfortunately. The bugs are already in thousands of work places and now even reported on public transportation. In other countries it’s reported to have bed bugs out scurring during the day on trains. How to people NOT bring these things home. They just do, like it or not.

    Yes awareness is critical. Unfortunately, that is just the tip of the iceburg due to politics and the all mighty dollar. I hope there’s a day when some one with the political capabilities is man enough to do the right thing and resolve this.


  5. paula

    —Oh and for those wondering, I’m not in NYC but live in Sussex County NJ. We are in a single family home. The spread of this is wasy out of hand, not just in NYC and major cities. Homeowners don’t have it any easier…Between loses and professional treatments it has cost many many thousands of dollars for single family homes, and then to find after six months of treating, structural fumigation, to get re-infested????? If the government did rescue their own people from a hurricane, what’s the possibility of them doing anything about this????

  6. Renee

    Hi Paula,

    Thank you for your comment. I’m so sorry that you suspect you may be experiencing a reinfestation. I sincerely hope that you will emerge from this fight very soon and I hope that you are receiving the best pest control advice and assistance.

    We are committed to our work in advocating for change in this very complex problem, and we are very mindful of experiences like yours.

    Thanks for sharing them.

  7. PrettyGirl

    Paula said: If the government did rescue their own people from a hurricane, what’s the possibility of them doing anything about this????

    Hurricane Katrina: The government was way too slow to respond to this disaster. And now, those people, almost 2 years after the fact, are living in squalor in crime-rampant trailors gated by fences. These people have no money and nowhere to go. Their communities, after 2 years, are still not rebuilt. This is the government’s response to the crisis. They are forgotten by us, the public, and the government.

    I’m afraid it’s going to be a looooong time before the government does something, if anything at all. Waiting for the government to do something is a waste of time. And the harsh reality is that this is going to get a lot worse before it gets better. I’ve read articles where there are increases of 600-700% of bb cases each year. And these are the ones that people know about.

  8. Renee

    Actually, we don’t think it’s a waste of time or we wouldn’t be doing this. And we’re doing “this” because other cities have shown us that it can be done.

    Don’t lose hope. It may take a while but change will come.

    It’s also important, in order to be effective, to be measured and positive in our approach and keep the focus on what can be done.

    I hope you’ve sent your letter(s) to your representatives, PrettyGirl. Please don’t think it’s a waste of time because we need your help.

  9. PrettyGirl

    I’m sorry you got the wrong impression from what I wrote. I never said that what you are doing is a waste of time. I think what you are doing is great. I think ‘waiting for our government to do something’ is a waste of time. I hope you see the difference. I’m not being sarcastic here and never was. I was just trying to be realistic :)

    And I’m sorry. But I do feel that writing our representatives is a waste of time. For me anyway. I’m just a little nobody, one person. Who is going to listen to me? This is the way I’m thinking and feeling. I’m really all for these blogs and forums on bbs…..really!

    I just wanna say “thank you” for starting this blog. You are trying to do something and that is great.

  10. Renee

    No worries, PG. We’re all in the same community and have the same concerns.

    But, here’s the thing, NYvsBB is not a blog or a forum really. We’re not just here to talk about bed bugs. We’re an advocacy group, and you can be a part of our efforts.

    It is not a waste of time to write. The letters that we are asking people to write for this campaign for a Bed Bug Task Force are being tracked. And, yes, unless there are really a great number of letters, there will be no results. There are legislation proposals out there but they will never make it out of committee until people start to demand action. If everyone takes your view, then we will be here forever trying to make change and getting nowhere. I’m not prepared to be here forever and not get anything done.

    So, why don’t you write a letter anyway, even if you don’t really think it will make a difference? It will take two minutes of your time, it will add to the number of letters that we are tracking, and it will matter. It will matter to us.

  11. monroe

    To Whom It May Concern, I can’t seem to locate anywhere on your site where you can JOIN your group. Could someone please let me know what criteria you’d be looking for for new members? I’d be interested. Thanks, Monroe

  12. Crawledon

    By the way PG, I’ve been told personally from someone at Gale Brewer’s office they they need more letters, that it will make a difference if we write. That’s part of why this group exists, to help mobilize New Yorkers.

    You say you feel like a “little nobody, one person.” Imagine though if we all joined together, we could be a force to be reckoned with!

    So many laws that are in place today are a result of grassroots organizing. Why not us?

  13. Renee

    Oh no, that’s not good. I’m so sorry!

    You can just contact me for anything at all!

    We’ve started a google group to make it easy for people to join us:
    [our google group is no longer active]

    But no one is taking me up on the offer. ;)

    Send me an email, monroe!

    renee at newyorkvsbedbugs dot org

  14. EW

    Can I sue for fraud if my landlord knowingly rented me an NYC apartment infested with bed bugs? While (well-regarded) management firm has taken the efforts to exterminate, they did so only AFTER I reported them and after they feigned ignorance. Three months later—and failed promises of reimbursement for out-of-pocket costs—the bugs still haven’t gone away.
    Thanks for you all of your help!

  15. Renee

    Hi Elizabeth,

    Unfortunately, we still do not have a clear picture of all landlord/tenant issues with regard to bedbugs in NYC. I don’t know the conditions under which NYC landlords face liability for failing to disclose latent defects and whether a bedbug infestation would be considered one. The issues seem to be: a) whether the landlord has a duty to disclose and b) whether you can prove that the landlord deliberately concealed the infestation. Since the rental of already infested apartments is an increasingly common scenario, I’m sure these issues are being tested. Brokers too… although they probably operate under much clearer rules that determine when negligence occurs. I strongly suggest that you consult a lawyer with bedbug litigation experience.

    You may also wish to consult tenant advocates, like http://www.metcouncil.net/

    About the bedbugs though… the reason they may still be around, of course, may be that the infestation is larger than your own apartment, in which case the property management needs to coordinate inspection and treatment. Sometimes people have luck educating their landlords about how things should be done to actually get rid of the bedbugs in the building, not just move them around from apartment to apartment. It may not be something you are willing or able to take on but just want to say that it has worked for others in your situation. Something to consider.

  16. Renee

    Elizabeth, you probably already saw this but in case you haven’t, the recent NYSun article on landlord/tenant bed bug lawsuits referenced a case where the tenant is claiming fraud.

    Because moving is so risky, however, I would still encourage you to find some common ground with your landlord, if that is still possible.

  17. Jessica

    Chicago in the house… Just having my say, and I say I love what you’ve done with the place, Renee.

    I’ll stop back soon and fill you in on what’s going on over at Chicago vs. Bed Bugs. Hey, maybe we can even have a conversation about our activism goals right here on the Have Your Say page!

  18. Renee Corea

    So, we’re using this page for now for discussion. Suggestions for alternatives, or indeed for any changes anywhere, are welcome.

    A draft press release and a draft of the report are owed, by yours truly. Soon.


  19. Jessica

    Renee, if it made any sense for you to mail them to me here in Chicago so I could distribute them for you, I’d do it in a second!

    How are those drafts coming along? I wonder what you’re planning for the press release… I can’t wait to see what you’ll come up with. The possibilities are endless, no? Remember, if you need any help or want to run anything by me, I’m here.

    I took a little time off over the holiday, but I’m back to working on our to-do list over at Chicago vs. Bed Bugs now. My next priority is to draft a letter to send to Illinois Senator Heather Steans. My goal, at least right now, is to make her aware of our organization and our mission, and to let her know that we could really use her help. I chose to start with Senator Steans because she recently worked to amend and reenact a structural pest control bill here in Illinois (!), and because she seems quite involved in health and human services legislation. I’m only hoping to establish contact at this point, but you never know. We’ll see how it goes!

    Okay, Renee and New York vs. Bed Bugs, I’m off to do some work. Happy advocating!

  20. nobugs

    Hi Renee and Jessica!

    I have an architectural suggestion: for the time being, we may not be able to or wish to have a forum.

    But we could consider ways of organizing a discussion on the blog.

    One suggestion is to have — on the Have Your Say page, links to subpages on different current topics. (They could be proposed here.) So for example, in the post above, it could say, “How can we get more people involved?” and this would link to a subpage (we could make subpages not part of the regular nav. menu).

    It would be like a forum, but we’d be starting the threads (though not necessarily declaring the need for a new one; anyone can do that!)

    Just an idea.

    And here’s a brainstorming topic: what do we need to talk about?

    1. How to get more people involved.
    2. ?

    (Please add your own!) :-)

  21. Renee Corea

    Hi Jessica, that sounds really good, and I’d be interested to see that bill. And… I’m working on it! I actually think it’s not going to be bad… definitely will want feedback.

    Nobugs, good ideas. I have a feeling this is not going to work but I hope it does! And someone new joined our group, which always makes me happy. I think she’ll find her way here soon.

    And one thing I want to talk about is how to approach social services providers/agencies/non-profits to join this effort. Because they have to be overwhelmed and if they only talked to each other (and we somehow facilitated that) we could make some progress with the city. Insights, suggestions, etc.

    I really appreciate this, thanks.

  22. Jessica

    Hey Renee and Nobugs!

    Renee, here’s the link to the Structural Pest Control Act Amendment (Bill HB4407; Illinois General Assembly):

    The amendment reenacted the Act itself, because the Act was inadvertently repealed and therefore left at least some areas of structural pest control in the state of Illinois without state regulation for several months. At least that’s what I gather from what I read.

    Nobugs, I really like the idea of organizing this discussion page into a cleaner format with subpages for different topics. If I remember correctly, you did that on Bedbugger before you added the forums, no?

    I just wonder if it might be better to do that when there are more people participating here? Something tells me (and I could be wrong) that visitors might be less likely to jump into an organized discussion than they would to jump into a disorganized, say-what-you-want-where-you-want conversation? I don’t know. I’ve thought about organizing the Discuss page at Chicago vs. Bed Bugs, too, but I hesitate to do so because there are so few people discussing anything at this point. I guess I want to keep it informal until it becomes apparent that the conversations are becoming unmanageable…

    I know you guys have been discussing things elsewhere for awhile, though, and hopefully your advisers will continue to participate now that you’ve moved the discussion to this page. The need for an organized format here might become necessary pretty quickly. Hey, you could always try it out and change it if you need or want to!

    And Renee, my friend and mentor, OF COURSE IT’S GOING TO WORK. It’s just going to take some time, that’s all.

    You will get the help and support you need eventually, I just know it.

    Hugs from Chicago to both of you.

  23. Diane

    I live in jersey city and in Sept of 2008, I rented an apartment, I paid rent from the beginning of the month to hold the apt although I would be moving in on the 15th. little did I know i finally moved in on the 20th and thats when the issues began, I couldnt get the lights turned on becaue the previous tenant owed an enormous utility bill, and the landlord would not assume responsibility. Iwas forced to pay a $500.00 depoist in order to have them turned on, suffice is to say i spent nearly a month because i didnot have themoney. during said time we slept in the apt for several days and were repeatedly bitten by what we thought were mosquitos… after speaking with another tenant I come to find out that they are in fact bed bugs, i immediately contacted the other tenant and the previous tenant who lived there and was confirmed to have moved due to that issue. Suffice is to say, the landlord was aware of the issue and had a PCO in to exterminate another apartment in the buiding but not any others. we have since been battling with this issue, I withheld my rent at one point and invoked my right to use the security act as the information was never sent to me (inclusively the landlord sent me an email stating that I was a month to month tenant, then later insisted that she sent out a lease(48 days after the fact and my complaint)because i invoked my right I was asked to leave once i lived out my security, she sent me an email stating I had said i was moving out and hasnt yet sent me the copy of said email as i requested it from her after her email. Ihavwe had to throw out all my furniture and replaced it, to the tune of 4986.00, which i havent finished paying, and now in order to move or when i move i must discard and replace that too. My children are not sleeping well andits a nightmard, I have decided to sue my landlord for the cost of moving, furniture reimbursement and medical expenses. she stated she is bringing me up on fraudulent charges….any advice?

  24. Renee Corea

    Hi Diane, I’m very sorry for your troubles.

    I think you should consult a lawyer right away. Make sure to keep records, notes and documentation of everything and get competent legal advice as soon as possible.

    As far as moving, I just want to gently warn you that moving bed bugs is very, very easy, even when you throw away everything as you intend to do. So, you should also consult a pest control company to advise you on how to treat your belongings. There is something called commodity fumigation where your stuff is loaded on a truck and treated by professionals. This is reportedly very effective and, perhaps, cheaper than buying everything new. But you need to research the providers. I’m sorry I don’t have a recommendation for you. Research commodity fumigation or Vikane fumigation in New Jersey, or contact the manufacturer of Vikane for a referral, Dow. Thermal treatments, if available, as well as conventional treatments in your new home obviously, are also an option.

    Good luck…

  25. nobugs

    I really like the “Where’s out task force?” box!


    “And one thing I want to talk about is how to approach social services providers/agencies/non-profits to join this effort. Because they have to be overwhelmed and if they only talked to each other (and we somehow facilitated that) we could make some progress with the city. Insights, suggestions, etc.

    Good question.

    I wonder if getting one or a few such folks on board could help us snowball into a larger group discussion? What about Ray Lopez? Have you approached him as to whether he has contacts at other community groups and/or if they feel a discussion with counterparts might be useful? Ray’s org, Little Sisters of the Assumption, may be unique in its hands-on approach, but I suspect some other groups are trying to help. And if they’re not, the interaction would probably be of even more benefit.

    Jessica– yes, the forums at Bedbugger were predated by the “Tales of Woe” threads. Those were blog posts (not pages), and a new one appeared each week. However, they were only on one topic: tell us your problem, ask us questions. And the reason was that BEFORE those T.O.W. threads, people would just post problems and questions in every news post on every topic. It was insane. A total free-for-all.

    I made the suggestion because I have discovered on Bedbugger that many if not most people don’t tend to read comment threads. So they will ask a question in the comment thread that the previous commenter just asked and had answered by someone. But you’re right, there may not be a critical mass just yet.

  26. nobugs

    That’s great, of course. I guess my point was that– to figure out how to approach people in social services and get them on board, it might make sense to ask people in social services.

  27. moussette

    Bed Bugs hate lavender (e.g. lavender oil, lavender pot pourri, lavender air freshener, lavender scented cleaning fluids, lavender scented detergents). Some tenants in my building have gotten bed bugs and bites. Not me. And I’m a very allergic person. I think they stay out of my place because they hate being there, since I’m a lavender maniac.

  28. nobugs


    I am sorry to say that I don’t think lavender will prevent bed bugs biting you or taking up residence in your home. I can say this from experience.

    Experts say many (as many as 70% of people, though we are not certain) do not react to bed bug bites.

    So they may not be in your home yet, or you may have them and not react. I’d encourage you to talk to your landlord about getting a careful professional inspection.

  29. Rich

    Cincinnati’s bed bug conference was a bust. The conference appeared to be an attempt to comoflauge the fact the the local governments have no idea what to do. Their effort to brand bed bugs as “vermin”, thus requiring property owners to shoulder the burden of the cost of treatment, further demonstrated that they are seriously lacking in any formidable policy. To compound the insult, vendors were allowed to set up to sell their bed bug control products at a cost that was embarrassing (17 oz. can of Bedlan: $25.00 + tax). The number of local residents who were present seeking relief of the infestations was comprised of lower income individuals: those who certainly were not capable of spending $25.00 for a can of Bedlam. Another brainstorm of the local government was to require local pest control companies to provide bed bug treatments at reduced costs to public employees (firemen, policemen, to be precise) for bed bug treatments. What a democrat idea! The scope and spread of the problem will not diminish until such time that the “silver bullet” is found. Until then, the levels of infestations will only increase. Perhaps the wasted “bail out” money should have been used to help lower income families treat their bed bug infestations, thereby mimimizing the risk of the spread. Persons with infestations must realize that the majority of mitigating a bed bug infestation rests squarely on their own shoulders: pest control companies may be able to provide effective treatments, but only residents can clean up clutter and launder their personal items. The bugs can be delt with, but it is an ever so tedious and time consuming process. Any questions are welcomed.

  30. Renee Corea

    Hi Rich, thanks for your comment.

    I’m sorry you feel that way about the conference and the local government’s efforts on the issue of bed bugs in Cincinnati.

    We, on the other hand, think that the JBBTF strategic plan is the smartest bed bug policy document we have read. The vermin classification, I will concede, is a bit more complex a decision and certainly has a potential to be a double-edged sword. And I hope the contract for bed bug treatments for fire and police personnel was negotiated, as such things usually are.

    I actually do think that we can slow and eventually stop the spread without a “silver bullet” — infestations can be eradicated more quickly and efficiently so that they do not generate more infestations. But that takes knowledge and money and will.

    I’m sorry that your outlook is so pessimistic, although I confess I am also pessimistic most days. But not today.

    Finally, your statement:

    Persons with infestations must realize that the majority of mitigating a bed bug infestation rests squarely on their own shoulders: pest control companies may be able to provide effective treatments, but only residents can clean up clutter and launder their personal items.

    …as you can imagine, can be entirely reversed:

    Pest control providers must realize that residents can assiduously follow instructions and cooperate with treatment for weeks on end, but bed bugs will not actually be eradicated from the premises unless technicians provide knowledgeable and detailed inspections, targeted applications, all-around smart bed bug management, and actually know what they’re doing in the first place.

    See how that works? There are bad experiences on both sides.

    We’re all in this together, Rich.

    The only enemy is the bed bug.

  31. Rich


    Strategic plans look wonderful on paper…just like President Bush’s “shock and awe” plan for Iraq. Regrettably, implementing what is on paper and achieving the desired results are sometimes at opposite ends of the scale.

    Perhaps Cincinnati did take a turn and “negotiate” prices for bed bug services. When the problem became an issue, the City had a different posture, and deferred to forcing lower pricing.

    Regarding your disagreement about the “silver bullet”, you are encouraged to become familiar with how heavy bed bug infestations are allowed to occur. I find that those who are economically able to pay for the service do so. Those who are not, do not. The ones who don’t have the service generally fall into the lower income family bracket, resulting in the spreading of the insect by “transporting” the insect to their place of employment, restaurants, movie theaters, public transportation, public housing, apartment buildings, and so on. The “silver bullet” will be a treatment that is both effective, and affordable, thereby allowing all persons with infestations the means to take care of the problem in the early stage of the infestation.

    Infestations can be eradicated more quickly if all of those infested could afford the treatment. Efficiency depends upon how quickly treatments begin, and how cooperative the persons are who have the infestation. Dwellings that are not prepared for treatment, and residents who do not follow protocol, will always be a problem. You have to look at a few dogs sometimes, Renee, to figure out how the dogs’ tails wag.

    I am not as pessimistic as I am frustrated. People use to live in roach infested properties until we were delivered the “silver bullets” that resolved the problem. Termites use to bring some people to tears because of the horror stories that abound from homes destroyed by infestations, until we were, again, delivered the “silver bullet”. Bed bugs will eventually have the same outcome, but I do not see that outcome anytime on the near horizon.

    We are in agreement regarding your comment about trained technicians. Just like any other industry, there are those who will become profiteers when the market will allow them to do so. The one thing the City of Cincinnati had in their plans which I thought was an excellent idea was requiring PCO’s and technicians to be trained and certified in the proper treatment for bed bugs. However, it does not matter how well trained the provider of service is, if a person cannot afford the service, then the infestations will continue.

    We are not in this all together, Renee. There are the haves, and there are the have-nots. Cincinnati’s population consists of many have-nots. The City’s response to the problem was only a well orchastrated response in their effort to save face in the eyes of those watching.

    As it stands now, those with the $$ will be those who rid their homes of bed bugs. I personally provide support to have-nots in an effort to help slow down the problem. I offer what I can, and I do so without expectations of any sort of gratification. Condemnation of being a poor businessman has not caused me to loose any sleep, rather it has given me the ability to sleep better by knowing that I have provide some help to those less fortunate.

    So, let us keep our fingers crossed that Mike Potter and Rick Cooper come up with that “silver bullet” some time soon. In the mean time, should you discover something yourself, I will trust that you will be inclined to share it with all of us. Kindest regards.

  32. Pingback: Good on paper, poverty and silver bullets: not everyone thinks Cincinnati is all that — New York vs Bed Bugs

  33. Dave Glassel

    We are a company in Texas that was contracted by the US Military to provide a product for parasite control to be used in the MidEast. This includes the Bed Bug along with Fleas, Lice and Mites. It provides instant death to the victim using a biological formulation of cedar oil and silane fluids. No nasty chemicals. The hospitality industry is fast finding that there is no alternative to this dynamic product. Apartment dwellers can easily and inexpensively apply this solution with a fogger machine or by spray and eliminate the bed bug issue instantly. The Canadian government has approved this product as the only solution acceptable for use in around human beings. It can be sprayed directly on the bedding or furniture. As you may or may not know, the pyrethroid materials the PCO folks use is not effective on parasites and are very harmful to humans. We currently sell huge volumes of this to folks in New York City and to several of the more prudent Pest Control Operators. The reason we have more parasites now than before is not a difficult question to answer. It is simply because we are not killing them. Since the demise of the organophosphates and carbomates, Dursban and Diazinon, which were nerve gas by products of WWII, we have not been killing the arthropod. The EPA in its wisdom removed these dangerous chemicals from the market at the turn of the century. It had hoped that biological products would replace them. To date, CedarCide Industries appears to be the only company that has produced formulations that are effective. The answer to the Bed Bug dilemma is simple. Start killing them. If everyone would do so rather than trying to control them, the population would diminish rapidly. Anyone that is serious about getting rid of Bed Bugs should be using this BEST YET product. We are available to assist them if they desire.

  34. Rich

    Would be interested in knowing if you have shared your “cedar oil and silane fluids” treatment with Dr. Potter at the University of Kentucky. There are lots of “green” alternatives being introduced in the pest control industry. I have found that some work sometimes, and others don’t work at all. Regarding your comment that we need to begin killing bed bugs…that’s been our objective all along. The “control” occurs when we have completely killed all stages (eggs, in-stars, and adults). You are correct when you state that the removal of such pesticides as organophosphates, bendiocarbs, and the like, decrease PCO’s ability to kill and infestation quickly. Sometimes, though, government can be more of a problem than a help. Lot’s of us “old timers” grew up with chloradane (a mild form of DDT). When the gov’t. decided that it contained to many carcinogens, poof!! It disappeard for use in commercial and residential accounts (although farmers were still allowed to use it). Personally, I think changing the label on the product (making label applications more strict) would have been wiser. After all, there are a lot of people who grew up in households where chlorodane was used on a regular basis, and, to the best of my knowledge, none of us have grown six fingers, an extra leg, and we are alive and kicking…some well into their 80′s, 90′s, and more. Back to the cedar oil application, I think that the actual cause of the oil being fatal to the insect is that it “coats” the exoskeleton of the insect and smothers it. After using our vacuums at a job, we always have to be concerned that we don’t leave any eggs or insects inside the hoses or other internal parts of the vacuum where the insects have been sucked up into. The bugs are very resilient, and their trip through the hose and into the filter will not kill them. If we are not careful, we will risk transporting the insects to other job sites or back to our stores. To prevent transporting them from one location to another, we apply corn starch on an area of flooring, and vacuum the corn starch up. The corn starch will coat the outside of the insect, causing it to smother and die. One of the “green” tools I like to use is diamataceous earth. The product is not a pesticide/insecticide, however when using, you need to exercise care in not to inhale the dust. D-earth, when looked at through a microscope, appears as very fine broken pieces of glass (you can see that if inhaled, it could cause some irritation to the respiratory system). When the insects crawls across an area that has been “dusted” with the d-earth, the d-earth will “scratch” the exoskeleton of the insect, causing the insect to dry-out and die. Very effective. The operative word when using d-earth is “dust”. It needs to be applied so that, after the application, the area treated looks like my end tables and coffee tables after a week of not dusting. Just a light dusting will do the job quite nicely. Too much and the insect will crawl around the “pile” rather than walk through the dust. Again, back to the cedar oil, when fogging with the cedar oil, is there any residual left? Have you been successful in getting the fog into areas such as wall voids, electronics (computers, tv’s, telephones, etc.), and areas such as behind baseboard and door/window moldings and wall paper? Are the fogging applications used on a regular basis to kill eggs that
    hatch and come out after the treatment? Regarding your comment about pyrethroids not being effective on parasites, that is not totally true. In fact, the only parasite that we have problems with is, you guessed it, the bed bug. Pyrethroids, permethrins, and deltamethrins are all effective in treating for ticks and mites. The cause of some strains being resistent (not all strains of bed bugs are resistent to pyrethroids) is that the bed bugs’ ancestors lived overseas (Asia, Europe, or elsewhere). Those countries never ridded themselves of the problem like we did in the USA. After decades of being subjected to those sorts of pesticides, the next generations developed an “immunity” to them. Also, before the airline industry became financially strapped, passenger and cargo compartments were fogged with Vikane (instant death…to insects and humans if breathed) on a regular basis. The fogging helped control the bed bugs that would wonder around inside of planes for extended periods of time, untill finally hitching a ride on someone’s clothing or inside of their luggage. The last of the chloropyrofuss’ and bendiocarbs left our shelves about 5 – 6 years ago. And, we quit using chloropyrofuss’ and bendiocarbs to treat for roaches about 10 years ago (which would also kill any bed bugs that present in addition to the cockroaches we were treating for). Roaches used to be impossible to get rid of until baits, growth regulators, and non-repellants were introduced. But when we started using the baits and other products to treat for cockroaches, the secondary kill effect on the bed bugs was lost…so they begain to multiply. Today, a roach infestation, no matter how large the infestation is, can be mitigated in 90 days or less…gone. So this whole problem with bed bugs didn’t evolve overnight…it has taken about a decade of lots of different things going on to make the right environment for bed bugs to thrive in the USA. So, maybe the EPA, in all of it’s wisdom, out wised itself!! But I am certainly interrested in hearing more about the cedar oil and silane fluids applications. Please feel free to email me at aokbugstore@msn.com.

  35. Renee Corea

    Rich, the comment left by Dave Glassel to which you are now responding was deleted last night by me. I have now restored it, for the sake of clarity in this conversation, but will be posting a comment policy, something I did not want to do, as soon as possible. I had posted a reply to Mr. Glassel which I also deleted. I am opting to keep that deletion intact, for the sake of civility.

  36. Rich


    Your meter of deception should be rewarded. Sometimes civility in the promoting of commerce interferes with ones morality!! Congrats on the restraint.

  37. Renee Corea

    Thanks– I need to stay positive in order to do this work, so I’m officially over this small argument. Dave is free to post a reply here to you if he wishes. We all want to learn more and sort out the things that matter. I opted to not have any rules, other than an obvious no-spam rule.

    The enemy is the bed bug. And whether some of us don’t yet realize it or not, we are in this together.

  38. Rich

    Ref. to Paula’s comment regarding the treatment of computers, toys, etc.

    Those sorts of items can be successfully self-treated, albeit this is a bad time of the year for some items that won’t fit inside of a dryer. This past summer, we had excellant results in shrink-wrapping desk top computers & computer periphial, televisions, and telephones, and placing them out in the direct sun…all day. The temp. was 85 – 89 deg. F., so what resulted was the inside temp. of the shrink-wrapped items reached temps. above the 120 deg. necessary to kill the bugs and eggs. The items need to be exposed to the heat for 4 – 5 hrs. or longer to be effective. Another thing that could be done is to place the items that will fit inside of a dryer, and heat them on a “hot” setting. For lap-tops, telephones, and other items that will fit inside of a dryer, you can purchase a rack (approx. $20.00) that attaches to the front, inside portion of the dryer. A lap top and telephones and other smaller items will sit on the rack. Rather than sell my customers bed bug encasements for pillows, I recommend that they buy an encasement for $6.00 at a local Wal-Mart, and when they launder their bedding (which should be done twice weekly!!), remove the encasement and launder it, too. The pillow can be placed in a dryer, again on a “hot” setting, to kill any insects and insect eggs. Hope this helps.

  39. Renee Corea

    ZOMG! You put electronics in a dryer?!? That is daring, isn’t it? Nothing was damaged?

    Rich, now that the media has focused attention on Cincinnati’s bed bug task force and, well, Cincinnati’s bed bugs, period, is there any effort to restart some of the processes that were begun, allocate monies, or are these things good and dead over there?

  40. Rich


    Actually, electronics are excellant conveyors of heat. If you think about it, electronics get pretty hot inside when in use. As to wheter or not Cincinnati is going to reinstate their inspection process, I have not heard anything. It is unknown to me what they are having their residents do, other than I have read that the city and county are telling people who call in that there is nothing they can do to help them. The city and county’s effort to make the public aware of the growing problem was successful. What killed their other initiatives was, in my opinion, their ideas of shifting the responsibility of treatment to a landlord. Just as recently as yesterday I had occassion to visit an apartment of someone who had just moved in, and they had were complaining to the landlord about bed bugs. When I arrived at the apartment, I was shocked to see that the resident who had just moved in, was the same resident who lived at an apartment complex whose apartment I was in two months ago for the same problem. The last conversation that I had with the landlord was that they were going to tell the person to leave. I suppose the next legal issue that we will hear about is whether or not a landlord can refuse to rent to someone who has a bed bug infestation. That will be interesting!!

  41. Renee Corea

    Well, that will be more than interesting, I agree.

    But not unprecedented. Historically, there have been measures of this type. But it would be very short-sighted to try to implement them without proportionate education and assistance.

    I worry about where we’re headed. And I strongly disagree with you about the landlord issue, as we’ve discussed before, but greatly appreciate the conversation.

  42. Rich

    Are you stating that you believe that a landlord should be the responsible party for paying for a bed bug treatment? If so, how do you arive at that conclusion?

  43. Renee Corea

    My primary concern is with the eradication of bed bug infestations. In multi-unit housing, only the coordinated inspection and treatment of all affected apartments (and continued monitoring of still-unaffected adjacent apartments), at the same time, will eradicate an infestation. This, I believe, is well-established and needs no elaboration, but I’m happy to discuss it more.

    Who can put into play such a coordinated attack? Let’s just concentrate on the overriding precondition: coordinated inspection and treatment. The owner of the property is the one who is uniquely positioned to make this happen.

    Now, of course, what are the reasons for treatment failure and what are the challenges? How can we incentivize people to do what is required (all parties)? How can we support those who cannot afford treatment (this category includes both property owners and tenants, unfortunately)? These are the hard questions.

    But there is no doubt in my mind that assigning responsibility for eradication to the tenant will result (does result! this needs only the most cursory googling of news stories to establish) in a) unreported infestations, b) infestations that are made worse by ineffective and misguided self-treatment, c) infestations that spread and cannot be controlled because even if the tenant in apartment 3A hires a competent and knowledgeable PMP to eradicate his infestation, he can do nothing about (he has no legal authority, no rights of access, no means of compelling any actions) the bed bugs in apartments 2A and 4A.

    In reality, given these conditions, we know that the property owners will pass on the higher expenses to tenants and/or will eventually seek other relief. Personally, I favor a) consideration of financial assistance to landlords in order to carry out bed bug eradication treatments (either through direct subsidies, tax relief or social enterprise pest control providers), and b) a robust public education campaign so that everyone learns about bed bugs, how and why they spread and what is necessary to eradicate them.

    Needless to say, there is absolutely no money for (a) and no public will for even the cheapest methods of achieving (b).

    So, we’ll be here for a long time.

  44. nobugs

    Just dropping a note to say I sent a letter to my city council rep this week. It was easy, and as I said on Bedbugger.com, felt like getting a load off my chest.

    It’s not the first time I’ve written/called city council members, mayors, state reps or senators on the bed bug issue. But I think it’s important to do it. They need to hear why the issue is important, from people who have experienced it.

  45. Pingback: Contact your elected officials — tell them about bed bugs : Got bed bugs? Bedbugger.com

  46. Rich

    Renee: We agree on the landlord coordinating the scheduled treatments, but disagree on making the landlord the scapegoat for paying. Without getting into a lot of “mush”, the problem with a lot of low-income residents who receive free treatments is…since it’s free, they don’t follow the treatment protocol and do what they are supposed to. We also agree on the fact that some PMP’s are not treating for the bed bugs correctly. But, once again, you can’t treat what’s not accessible. I have actually had landlords go into the property and do the work themselves because they couldn’t get their tenant to cooperate.

    Bedbugger: In Ohio, our state legislature passed a law regarding “bed bug awareness”. It was funded with approximately $300,000.00 of taxpayer money. What did the taxpayer get? A couple of new government jobs created that were given to political cronies who provide no service to the taxpayer at all.

    Not being negative, just frustrated!!

  47. Renee Corea

    Rich, was that bill passed? I thought that was still in the state legislature.

    How would a landlord coordinate treatments and inspections that he is not paying for? Three infested apartments (at a certain point in the evolution of a building-wide infestation) with two of them hiring independent PMPs, and the third apartment not yet aware of the infestation. Who is going to inspect the rest of the apartments on the affected floors? The floor above and below? Who will pay? Who is responsible for that apartment with the unidentified infestation?

    However, it’s quite obvious that even where the landlord is clearly responsible, it doesn’t by a long shot mean that the correct steps will be taken. That is why education is necessary so that most of the people who will eventually do the right thing will know what to do sooner rather than later. Those who cannot be compelled to do what is necessary will always be a problem. I have no answer to that.

    Nobugs, thanks for this note and for reminding your readers of the importance of contacting their elected representatives. Unfortunately, this is what must be done; we must talk to politicians and public servants and really anyone who will listen. If there were a different way to get a public education campaign, we’d be on it, but we have to do the hard work of persuading people one by one that this is necessary.

  48. Michael

    Wrote and spoke w/Quinn’s office. They are aware of it, but I couldn’t gauge their concern.

  49. Rich

    I thought it passed, but you may be right. I forget the bill number and actually lost track of it. To the best of my recollection, the bill was supposed to be used to disemminate info regarding bed bugs, and they were going to hire several people to staff an office to answer questions over the telephone.

    Regarding the coordination of treatements by a landlord: If treatments were going to be performed, the landlord could deliver notices to the tenants, but I, as a PCO, would also have all the names and telephone numbers of the customers, and follow-up by calling to confirm the treatment. I see your point if there are going to be multiple companies performing treatments for different tenants. As a landlord, I most probably would attmept to coordinate treatment to be performed by a single company, explaining to the tenants that they may be less inconvenieced rather than having people tripping all over each other. Inspections would probably be absorbed my the landlord. Should an unsuspecting tenant be found to have an infestation, then, as a landlord, I would make the tenant responsible for the cost of the treatment. Sounds harsh, but thinking back to the fire example, ask yourself who would be responsible for any loss incurred by a tenant in a unit where the fire didn’t originate. However the logistics were laid out, it would be a real challenge if the building had a lot of apartments.

    In what situation do you feel that a landlord would be “clearly responsible”? The only situation I can think of is if the landlord had a tenant move-out, knew that the tenant had an infestation, did not perform treatments, and re-rented the infested unit to another tenant. If that were the situation, I think a landlord should be submerged in a tank of bed bugs and held there for 48 hours or longer! In my opinion, that is negligence on the part of the landlord, and they should be responsible for all costs associated with the new tenants’ infestation (treatment, cleaning of personal items, medical bills, cost of replacement of disposed property, and punitive damages as well).

    I applaud your efforts to make the public more aware of the seriousness of the bed bug problem. A lot of effort has been made, but I always have people ask me if bed bugs are for real, or if all of the things they are hearing being fabricated. I suppose their could be a long-term campaign initiated. For example, inserts could be placed in monthly utility bills, credit card bills, etc. After people continued to see the inserts on a monthly basis, then they may take an interest and look into the issue further. Billboards and bench advertising could be taken out. PSA’s could be made on a regular basis. Just normal marketing: keep your name (bed bug) in front of people all of the time, and they will eventually begin to associate with it.

  50. nobugs


    Another problem with landlords passing the costs of treatment on to tenants is that this is an incentive for tenants to ignore their own bed bug problems, because reporting them means paying to get rid of them. Many people feel forced to put up with this problem because they cannot afford the cost of treatment.

    Unfortunately, this means the bed bugs continue to spread to other tenants, who then resent having to pay for bed bugs caused by a neighbor. Entire buildings of infested units are easily created in this way– when one person simply can’t pay for treatment.

    You can say, “have the landlord evict them,” but it’s a dominoes problem.

    Add to these folks who can’t pay, those who won’t pay, and so cause their neighbors to become infested.

    Those neighbors are arguably less “responsible” than the landlord. They are paying for their apartments and did not bring bed bugs in.

    Determining without a doubt who is to blame — the first tenant to bring bed bugs in — is usually impossible. If more than one unit is infested, making every tenant responsible for their own bed bugs is not really more “fair” than making the landlord responsible. And it is a whole lot less practical.

  51. Rich


    Why do you feel that the landlord should pay for something that they are not responsible for causing? The most common answer I hear is that the landlord can afford to pay. Rubbish.

    True, when a lot of people first know they have bed bugs, they will “drag their feet” or, do nothing at all. Those people should be placed in the same bed bug tank that I alluded to above. True again, other tenants will be upset about having to pay for bed bugs that were caused by another tenant. If you agree that the tenant that didn’t cause the problem shouldn’t have to pay for a treatment, how is it that you think it is not a problem to make the landlord pay for treatments? The landlord, unless given the example in my previous post, is not responsible for a tenant unknowingly bringing bed bugs into his building.

    If a landlord finds out that a tenant is infected, then the landlord should require immediate treatment. If the tenant fails to do so, then they should be evicted. A landlord is responsible for is protecting the health and welfare of the other building occupants. Which doesn’t mean if somene has a cold, the landlord should go buy all of the building occupants cold medicine.

    And you’re right about the domino effect. But, people have to learn to act resposibly, and be accountable for their actions. It would be irresponsible for a landlord to allow an infested tenant to continue to live in the building, if the tenant wasn’t going to cooperate and have treatments performed. If the tenant couldn’t afford the treatments, it would be a decision of the landlord, and the landlord alone, as to whether or not they wanted to pay for the treatments themselves, or evict the tenant. If I had a situation where I had to make a decision like that, I would make certain that the decision would be applied to all, and not just to certain tenants. In other words, if I liked Jill but not Jack, and Jack and Jill had bed bugs, I wouldn’t pay for Jill’s treatment and evict Jack; I would evict them both. Once a landlord makes a decision on how they are going to handle the problem, they should make the same decision from there on.

  52. Mindbugger


    Sent off my letter to the Speaker, using the form, with several paragraphs of my personal experience.

    Keep up this important work.


  53. Renee Corea

    Rich, I meant clearly responsible as in the law is clear and they are responsible for keeping the premises free of pests and of conditions conducive to pests under the landlord/tenant laws of the jurisdiction in question, as in, for example, New York City. Some of these ethical questions are tricky but, in our city, landlords (with some unclear exceptions that we’re still trying to track down) are just plain responsible under law. That’s all I meant. Ethically, both landlords and tenants have obligations to each other (especially in move-in/move-out situations and when bed bugs are spreading in a building and one or both fail to notify the other of an infestation) but I was speaking of the legal responsibilities that have already been sorted out in many jurisdictions like ours. The inserts is a good idea, I wonder if any public agencies could be persuaded to do that.

    Nobugs, thanks for advising your readers.

    Mindbugger, awesome, thanks! And thanks for the encouragement.

  54. nobugs


    I would defer to Renee’s point which is that this blog focuses on New York City, and under the laws here, landlords are responsible for treating for bed bugs.

    If you want to discuss the laws in other cities, I am willing to continue the discussion in the Bedbugger Forums, but it feels like an off-topic discussion here, given the NYC focus of this blog, and I apologize to everyone if I have carried it along too far here.

  55. Renee Corea

    While achieving specific bed bug policy objectives in New York City is in fact our only reason for being here at New York vs Bed Bugs, strategically we have chosen to approach these policy questions from the standpoint of observation and commentary on the bed bug policies in other cities. This comparative approach has worked well for us and is one of our strongest assets. We’re not advocates with resources or influence; we’re the people who know the issues inside out, or at least we certainly try very hard to analyze the issues correctly so that we can support our advocacy work. If we were only to talk about NYC, if would be very difficult for us to illustrate how and why we’ve arrived at our conclusions and recommendations.

    Therefore, this conversation with Rich has been instructive for us and we welcome this type of exchange. Rich and I have some serious disagreements but we can still talk about these issues and benefit mutually from the exchange. Anyone in our very small readership who finds these comments would also, I think, find them interesting.

    I have in fact pointed Rich toward the bedbugger site and bedbugger forums before because I think all professionals would want to participate in that very large and very robust community of informed and intelligent people that includes both bed bug experts and smart, engaged people who have direct experience and knowledge of bed bug infestations and provide unequaled support to those who are affected by bed bugs.

    We also swiftly point people to bedbugger when their questions tend to the practical matters of eradicating bed bugs.

    Bedbugger is an independent website that is unrelated to New York vs Bed Bugs.

  56. Rich

    Many apologies if I have misinformed readers. As I am located in Ohio (no jokes accepted about our lackluster performances in the BCS’s) our landlord laws regarding pest control responsibilities appear to be different. In southwestern Ohio, which is where I am located, we have lots of problems with ants…pavement and odorous house ants, to be exact. They are more of a nuisance than anything else. Some landlords will pay for treatment, most won’t. I believe that the only pest control Ohio landlords are responsible for is for vermin (rodents, roaches, bats, racoons, opposums). If NY requires a landlord to provide service for all pests, perhaps I should move my business to NY!!! I would be curious to know what some of the pest control companies charge for their services. What type of fees are you being charged for bed bug treatments? It is clearer to me now knowing that in NY the laws require the landlord to pay for bed bug treatments. And it is clearer to me why some landlords are looking for the least expensive service available. I understand the points from both sides, landlord and tenant. I suppose a lanlord could increase his rents to cover the cost of treatments. Probably not a solution that tenants would like. But tenants need to understand that being a landlord is a business. Business decisions have to be made to keep the business profitable. And should the business not remain profitable, then it will fail. Slumlords will always take and not put back into their properties. Perhaps the people should consider the reputation of the property owner before they move-in to a building. Regardless, the bed bug problem will persist (good or bad landlord) until the “silver bullet” is discovered.

  57. nobugs


    Thanks for clarifying that we can continue to go down that road. I am very happy to continue with the conversation on this site.


    I also understand and sympathize with both landlord and tenant perspectives on this issue, believe it or not. I am very sympathetic towards landlords, and would personally argue for assistance for landlords in paying for treatment. I just feel it is impractical — for the reasons I stated — for tenants to be held liable for treatment.

    If your reasoning is based on the idea that “landlords should not have to pay for treatment when someone else is responsible for bringing bed bugs in,” this should apply equally to tenants who got bed bugs from a neighbor, don’t you think? Unfortunately, identifying the person to blame really is very difficult in many cases and not practical.

    In some localities, another approach is taken: if one tenant alone has bed bugs, they are required to pay for treatment, whereas a multi-unit bed bug problem is the landlord’s responsibility. This appears to be common in many areas of Canada. The problem here is that often the first person to notice or complain about bed bugs is not the first person in the building to have them. And again, the incentive is to put off complaining until someone else does, thus spreading the problem further. It can be very hard to see who is doing this, when they’re doing it; identifying and evicting such tenants is not necessarily possible.

    Another law applies in Jersey City: landlords there must pay for two and only two treatments. If a bed bug issue persists after the second treatment, tenants then have to kick in and pay. Again, I see this as setting up a bad situation: many bed bug cases take more than two spray treatments to abate.

    If a tenant gets those two treatments and the problem does not go away, they either have to choose to continue treatment and pay for it themselves, or ignore the problem. Evicting those who choose not to treat is not easy. It might take a long time before it was visually obvious that the apartment was still infested. Many tenants would move out rather than deal with the problem. Many would also put up with it whether by choice or necessity (lack of ability to pay). Meanwhile, the problem spreads.

    In Jersey City, if tenant #2 has bed bugs and does not notice or report them, bed bugs can keep going over to tenant #1 (who did report and got treatment). So tenant #1 will have to pay even though they cooperated and tried to solve the problem. If tenant #2 continues to have a problem which is not detected or reported, tenant #1 may continue paying for treatments indefinitely.

    I understand your response is to evict the non-reporting tenant, but we often hear of serious bed bug cases that go undetected or unreported. Unless careful inspections are carried out of the whole building, regularly, there’s no way to be sure the problem is not coming from elsewhere in the building. Careful human inspections take hours per unit, we are told. Dog inspections are a possibility but few landlords seem to be doing this proactively.

    As for the NYC situation, landlords often cannot adjust rent — it is my understanding that most apartments under $2000 are rent stabilized, and the rent can only go up a certain amount per year. There’s an allowance for improvements (eg if landlord puts in a new appliance, rent can be raised), but I doubt this extends to services like pest control. (I stress I am not an expert on that.)

    And as for avoiding slumlords, sadly, we have a housing shortage here in nyc, and prospective tenants really do not have a lot of choices. It also is quite difficult to identify which buildings have had bed bug infestations, and how well or poorly the landlord has responded to these.

    I apologize for going on again, at such length, but these are obviously complex issues. I think it is important for us to all to continue to think carefully about the possible ramifications of different bed bug policies, and not to oversimplify them. We have to recognize that no policy is perfect, and have to balance ideals and practicality as best we can.

  58. Rich


    I hear your frustration and share it. The issue of treatment cost is going to be a battle for some time. If NY requires the landlord to pay for the treatment, then the landlord will have to cover his treatment expense just as he/she covers their mortgage expense, insurance expense, maintenance expense, etc.: through the price charged for rent.

    Moreover, you are right. If I lived in an apartment and was infested because of another tenant, I would be rightly angered.

    So what is the solution? Perhaps having on-going inspections performed by canines, as they can detect the bugs much sooner than someone performing a visual inspection can. I am presently considering the use of a canine in my operation.

    Nevertheless, you, as an individual, can know what the early signs of an infestation are, and take the necessary steps to control the problem before it gets out of control. DO NOT EXPECT OUR GOVERNMENT TO ADDRESS THIS PROBLEM!! When we have a government that will spend our tax dollars on funding abortions in other countries, we need to ask ourselves why we would think our government would give a hoot about bed bugs in this country. Anytime we allow our government to get involved in anything, ____________ (you can fill in the blank). So, let us leave the political arena and get back to the issue at hand.

    A law requiring a landlord to pay for two treatments is as useful as taking an aspirin for a broken leg. The only time two treatments will work is if there are only a few (1, 2, or 3) bed bugs present, a female hasn’t began laying eggs, and the bed bugs hiding place is found, treated, and the bugs are killed.

    Your scenario about tenant #1 and #2 is well taken. It frequently occurs, and for the reasons cited.

    Not being from the big apple, I am not familiar with rents being stabilized. It would seem that, with such an extensive problem, there would be some concessions given that would allow an increase in rent to offset the landlords new cost. Of course, there would be the issue of slumlords collecting the increased rents and not using the additional income for what it was intended. I know you will say, “Hey, you just said above not to let the government get involved”, but maybe a sales tax could be earmarked for bed bug inspections and treatments. Please don’t clobber me too hard, because I’m not familiar with what the sales tax is in NY. I’m just throwing things out as thought provocative suggestions.

    You are right again when you state the problem is complex, and it is going to continue to grow. You need to apply what you know to taking care of yourself. Sounds selfish, but right now, it is the only ball game in town. Try to find a local bug man that will provide you with the products you need to self-treat at a reasonable price. If you do self-treat, FOLLOW THE LABEL DIRECTIONS. Too many people will use the rationale, “if it says one ounce per finished gallon, I’ll use four ounces and get rid of the bugs quicker”. A sure recipe for killing yourself instead of the bed bugs!! Follow the bed bug protocol and take every step necessary to protect yourself.

    As much as Renee may disagree, we will have to suffer through this until the “silver bullet” arrives. It is my belief that if a solution is not found soon, and the problem starts impacting those who make the laws regarding what pesticide formulations can be used, there will be new, effective products introduced to the pest control industry containing pesticides that are presently banned. In the mean time, stick with what has been working. But whatever you do, stay safe!!

  59. Renee Corea

    Rich, I missed a part of your comment here that discussed the provenance of bed bugs in the United States. As you know, these issues have not been rigorously studied by scientists (but they will be, rather soon). So it’s a stretch to say we know the mechanisms of the resurgence. And, on the other hand, we do know that bed bugs were never eradicated in the United States, as has been suggested. Just didn’t happen, sorry. There may have been a very low rate of infestation, but there were certainly bed bugs in the United States in all the decades that they were thought to have been eradicated.

    This is important to me, personally, and to our group, because we are working very hard to reduce the stigma of bed bugs. When people associate bed bugs with filth, or assign an ethnic or national provenance, without evidence, to the resurgence, they reinforce the stigma and make it harder for all of us to fight against bed bugs. Plus, it’s just not good science and not good history. We await evidence. Until then, it’s best to be cautious and to posit any explanation as one of many possibilities. And to keep our eye on the ball. Bed bugs are here, these are all the challenges they pose, how do we ensure that we don’t make the same mistakes we’ve made before?

  60. Pingback: Bed bugs in Washington, D.C.? Yes! And growing in number daily. : Got bed bugs? Bedbugger.com

  61. Pingback: Washington, D.C. to have bed bug public education campaign (before NYC does) — New York vs Bed Bugs

  62. Cathy

    Renee, this is a wonderful site, thank you. I agree that something must be done on a government level to address this problem.

    I don’t have bedbugs where I live now, but from November 2004-2006 I lived in a building on West 49th Street in NYC where I battled bedbugs for the entire length of my tenancy. There were pigeons roosting on ledges in our building. I believe, and it would have to be supported by scientists, that pigeons roosting on buildings can harbor bugs that then feed on humans as well. I don’t think they’re species specific. After I moved out (yes, that is a great way to get rent-stabilized tenants to leave), the landlord treated the building in its entirety. I know the entire block was infested, so I cannot say if the treatment worked. Especially since pige0ns still roost there, and for sure no measures have been taken to seal conduits between apartments.

  63. Renee Corea

    Hi Cathy, thanks.

    I’m not unfortunately up on host-switching and the other cimicids and birds. I should read more about this. I’m sorry you went through all that for so long. I hope the bugs are in the past for you. Thank for your kind comment. We’re trying!

  64. Kyungja suh

    Dear, Renee

    I live in a coop and found out that we have some kind of bugs which kept on biting one of my daughter’s body and the terminator said that we have bed bugs. I was so upset because she got it from her school and brought it home.
    I putted all the beds outside of the terrace and cleaned the most wearing clothes and all bed sheets, etc. But I still found out that this bugs were biting. You know What I did was I bought a hair dryer, and try to kill the bed bugs all around the beds and most of clothes every days… We also did not sleep on the beds and slept on the couch and kept on using hair dryer to kill, and mostly, it’s gone now. I don’t think we have it anymore.
    Well, I just want to share that what I have used. I also, bought bed bug spray at the home depot and kept on spray all around the bed areas, too.
    This coop that I live is very strict and told us to treated by specialist which cost $3-400. As a single mother, this was too expensive for us.
    I bought a hair dryer which cost $9.00 at the regular store which made to kill the bugs day by days instead using chemicals in my home. I hope my advise help others.

  65. Renee Corea

    Hi Kyungja suh, thank you for your comment. Our standard advice is to get a competent and experienced pest control professional to solve the problem. It’s the safest, most responsible advice.

    Given the numbers of people who have experienced this problem, we can expect that there will be many stories of people getting rid of bed bugs with self-treatment method A or method B. However, this does not mean that those methods should be recommended to others by people like us. And this is for this reason: many people waste valuable time trying to solve the problem themselves. Also, they can move bed bugs around, cause them to disperse if they don’t know what they are doing. The heat of a blow dryer might be helpful (if it gets hot enough and if it’s safe, but we don’t really know), but not the blast. If you somehow manage to splinter a bed bug population and you are now faced with multiple harborage sites, your infestation is much, much harder to control. This is just what we’ve learned, not being professionals ourselves!

    We do know that many people cannot afford an experienced pest control person. This is a great challenge. I might recommend to people who must self-treat to consider a steamer. I would feel like I was still being responsible in recommending steam self-treatments. I can pull down expert sources and how-to information. I can’t do that for hair dryers.

    Also, moving to the couch is one of the classic errors that people make. Bed bugs will continue to seek their human hosts as they are not easily deterred. So, what usually happens is that it’s not long before the couch is infested. And, sadly, getting rid of bed bugs in couches is extremely difficult. So, the standard advice is, don’t move to the couch.

    However, I’m very glad your bed bug problem is over.

  66. Rich

    I noticed that Sen. Schumer is getting over $1,000,000.00 for the study of grape genetics…and a bunch more money for other such “prudent” expenditures. It’s very unfortunate that none of our elected officials feel the need to fund bed bug research and treatment projects. Perhaps the grape research will entice bed bugs to suck on grapes instead of the Senator’s constituents.

  67. Renee Corea

    USDA is funding some research at NCSU. There may be other projects we’re not aware of. It’s not nearly enough of course. However, if there ever were any congressional appropriations for bed bugs, half the country would be up in arms. We saw this dynamic play out last year with the congressional bed bug bill for hotel inspections (and I have to say we do not have a position on that bill and this should not be construed as support). Things will need to be much worse, sadly, before people think this is worthy.

  68. Rich

    $2 million for astronomy training in Hawaii, $162k for rodent control in Hawaii, $469k for a fruit fly facility in Hawaii, $238k for education programs at the Polynesian Voyaging Society (this is for the study on how the Polynesians sailed around the Hawaiin Islands and settled before the 16th century), new vehicles, building renovations, a study for mice, a railway system from Las Vegas to California, money given to Mayor Cedric Glover (Shreveport, LA) for the purchase of Harley Davidson motorcycles, $143k for a natural history program at Las Vegas history museaum, $190k for the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, $200k for tattoo removal, $819k for studying catfish genetics, $1.7 million for honey bee research (I actually agree with the research, since the honey bees have been dwindling in population over the past decade…it’s the amount that I think could be reduced…and used for BED BUG research), $1million to battle MORMON CRICKETS in Utah, $250k for the Montana Sheep Institute, $1.8 million for SWINE ODOR & MANURE management, $2.2 million for BUILDINGS AT THE CENTER FOR GRAPE GENETICS (Sen Chuck Schumer from NY included this one…doesn’t he know anything about the bed bug problems you folks are having?), $200k for improving blueberry production and efficiency, $5 million for salaries at the Sugarbeet Disease and Oncology Labs, $300k for research in shellfish technologies…and the list goes on.

    I don’t think our elected officials are in touch with the problems that their constituents are having…other than losing their jobs, their homes, and their minds over all of the money being used for the things mentioned above.

    Perhaps it’s time that we make our elected officials start listening to our voices. A planned bed bug protest on Sen. Schumer’s office may help get his attention and help him steer some of that money to help in your battle with bed bugs.

  69. Renee Corea

    Rich, you’re making me laugh of course, but I still think that to most people, bed bugs are sadly seen as a frivolous concern that they insist should be handled privately– they see no role for government intervention.

    We are hopeful that research is nevertheless underway in a handful of universities.

  70. george rotramel

    Hello Renee:

    Your question, “What is he talking about?” was forwarded to me.

    As a scientist, I’m not in the business of encouraging or discouraging (‘depressing’, as you put it) people; I’m just interested in facts and what they mean. As a consultant, I’m in the business of keeping my clients from having problems, and failing that, helping where I can. You can call this ‘CYA’. So is advising someone to pack two chutes when they go skydiving.

    You go on to say that ‘to address this problem’ is ‘not a meaningful phrase in this context’. It is if you understand the context, and that’s the reason for this note.

    I wrote the article for pest management professionals, not for the general public. It assumes considerable basic knowledge of bed bugs, their biology/ecology and issues surrounding the chemistry and behavior of insecticides.

    If I had been writing for your site or some other piece for the general public I probably would have lead with “Bed bugs are not a problem you can deal with on your own. You need to work with a professional.” That is not an attempt to promote the pest control industry. It is a fact. If you are a lay person and you ignore my advice and solve your own bed bug problem, terrific. Somebody has to win the lottery. But statistics say I’m right. And the key word is “with”. We don’t have tools that are good enough for either the pest manager to say, “I don’t have to bother talking with the customer about this” or for the customer to say, “I can just let the exterminator spray or whatever and forget about it.” Ongoing communication and cooperation are essential to getting the job done.

    Now as to why I suggested that a pest management company should collect and retain bug samples and why doing this can help to ‘address the problem’:

    First there is a huge problem with resistance to pyrethrins, pyrethroids and other chemical classes among bed bugs. This resistance comes in several forms, more than one of which can exist in any given bed bug population. Second, bed bug populations evolve extremely rapidly, colonies I observed long ago in Dr. Usinger’s lab at Berkeley shifted their host preferences in only a few generations. Third, bed bug populations hybridize readily. When they have no other choice, males and females of different strains and even different species can mate with each other and produce viable offspring. Fourth, several different strains can be present in different parts of the same structure at the same time; the bugs in 201 may be susceptible to a given pesticide while those in 405 are not. Fifth, and most important, a repellent insecticide— perhaps applied by an impatient owner/tenant— can drive bugs deep into a structure for several weeks to months after which they will reappear, giving the impression that the structure has been attacked by a new strain of bugs when it has not…or, a new strain of bugs may come into a structure and give the impression that control has failed, when it has not.

    Taken together, points one through four mean that any bed bug infestation has the potential to be, or soon become, much harder to kill than any population the customer or the pest management company have had to deal with before. These points also mean that published research on bed bug resistance says nothing about whether, how and to what extent any given bed bug population will be susceptible to the material(s) that are used against it. “That was then, this is now.”

    When the fifth situation occurs…bugs biting again after several weeks/months of no activity, it is important to know whether or not you are dealing with the same population; both in order to choose the right insecticide (avoid resistance) and in order to determine whether or not the first treatment(s) just didn’t get to all the bugs. This is ‘CYA’ in your parlance. It is “Just getting the facts’, in mine. Remember, I’m not proposing a big research program here. Nobody needs to even look at any of the bugs until the problem arises. And even then, if no litigation is involved, it may make sense just to retreat paying attention to areas that might have been light spots before, and/or switch to a product that is likely to get around all of the known resistance issues (something that requires a case-by-case analysis). By the way, as an aid to those with some entomological experience, I’ve posted a pictorial key to bed bug identification in the “Pest Identification” section at GeorgeRotramel.com.

    To sum up, I think we all need to focus on bed bugs as the enemy; not their human victims (homeowners/tenants/hotel guests and their provenance), not the property managers/owners, not the pest management companies, and not the pesticide manufacturers.

    We’ll get further in this effort by spending less time mapping bed bug infestations and researching/discussing the history of bed bug problems around the world before 1990, and more time encouraging training and education of everyone involved; especially property managers. If we can put $35 million of presumably ‘stimulus funds’ against the emerald ash borer, surely we can fund research and training for bed bug surveillance and management tools and methods. At a minimum, very multiunit building and institution should have an educated ‘bed bug’ coordinator; one person whose job— in addition to all their other duties — is to be the ‘go to guy or girl’ for their tenants/residents, and the contact person between their organization and their pest management contractor. One of this person’s most important tasks would be to insure that rooms/apartments are prepared before treatment and the pest management company has access to all infested and adjacent rooms/apartments every time they come to inspect or do a treatment.

    The good news is our bed bug problem is forcing us to go from ‘spray and pray’ to integrated pest management (IPM) whether we want to or not. We can’t control the bugs unless we coordinate (integrate) the activities and functions of all of the people involved. Once these systems are in place and habits are learned they can be extended to include problems with roaches, ants, mice, and our other urban pests.

    I support what you are trying to accomplish in New York and have suggested to my friends here in Chicago that we work toward the same goals here. Meanwhile, whenever you wonder “What is he talking about?” Just ask. We’re all in this together and the more trained entomologists you talk with the better.

    Best regards,
    George Rotramel

  71. Pingback: What is he talking about? — New York vs Bed Bugs

  72. Renee Corea

    Hi Dr. Rotramel,

    Thank you for your note.

    I thought your article was a how-to on avoiding responsibility for professional failure. And here you tell me the intention was quite the opposite. It was really about how to achieve control of bed bug infestations.

    I am skeptical of the utility of genetic investigations for the purposes you indicate in the normal course of events in treating an intractable infestation. Only the after-the-fact benefits, to the pest management professional in litigation or a contract dispute, not the bed bug sufferer, are apparent to me.

    I understand the strategies of litigation defense. I don’t have to appreciate them. As for your suggestion that we are all in this together, that may be so, and we hope that the realization will sink in for more and more people, but the interests of pest management professionals and bed bug sufferers are plainly often in conflict.

    If you want to make good on your expressed interest in advocating for bed bug control policies in Chicago, I would encourage you to contact my colleague, Jessica Kevan, to offer your expertise and assistance.


    PS: I’m sorry that you don’t like my writing on the history of bed bugs. It’s my special project and not for everyone.

  73. Rich

    Getting pretty ugly, ladies and gentlemen! :>) I followed both of your thoughts, and here’s my 2 cents. Nobody can realize the frustration of having bed bugs, unless you have, or had them. Nobody can realize the frustration of a pco, unless you are a pco. Nobody can realize the frustration of those performing the research, unless you’re performing the research.

    Anyway, I saw where the feds are having a bed bug summit next month in Washington. Keep your fingers crossed that it wasn’t a lobyist who owns a pest control company that arranged the summit.

    To Renee: I made the effort to apply to my state for $350k of porkulus money they are getting to fund a “Bed Bug Awareness” program. I had to apply under their heading of “Educational”. Included in the program description was an amount “earmarked” (thought they’d like the “earmarked” terminology since they are familiar with it) for the treatment of bed bugs to econonically disadvantaged families. Being the optimist that I am, I have been working on the logistics of establishing a “hot line”, seminar locations, and the coordination of local press and media to direct those interested to the program.

    Since Chuckie Schumer is now blasting AIG and wanting to make himself out to be a warrior for the people, perhaps you should tap his shoulder for assistance with your efforts.

    Good luck!

  74. Renee Corea

    Sorry, Rich, I think ugly is too strong a word. You’re just getting the impression of a conflict because there is disagreement. I certainly intend no hostility.

  75. GC

    I in NYC and I have been actively fighting bedbugs in my apartment for 2-3 weeks now. I got chemicals from a pest control store and did a treatment of my bedroom and living room, but did not finish the entire apt due to the toxicity/smell and also because of my cat. One week later I prepped then treated my entire apartment with Cedarcide Best Yet. Now one week later I find myself with new bites.

    I know you are all professionals and may be reluctant to advise a certain course of treatment, but please help! I am going to try and have the landlord’s exterminator come in, but that may not happen til for a couple weeks due to their schedule. regardless, can you please recommend some products on the market I can use, hopefully something that will not be harmful to my cat. Don’t have money to stay in a hotel, don’t want to infest any friends.
    I’ve done a bit of reading, I have a few questions if you can please let me know your thoughts.

    How many treatments over what kind of a timeframe to eradicate eggs/nymhps/adults; the entire cycle in my apartment? I get the feeling that once or twice doesn’t do it, even if I had been more thorough the first time around. (I will have to speak more with my building management about the rest of the building, if they have many complaints, and if they are treating the other units).

    Have you gotten any others reviews/feedback about Cedarcide Best Yet because I am about to desperately order another gallon or two at $75ea to obsessively spray for a month or two.

    Some other sites have reviews/listings about successful eradications with first a spray to kill, and then application of of a residual powder. Do you recommend this and do you know of any eco/pet friendly products? Even though I was to manage to find alternative housing for my household for the professional spraying, I get the idea that I should follow-up for some time afterwards myself using something.

    Again, any feedback about Cedarcide?

    Please just give me your opinions/advice- I understand that every scenario is different.


  76. GC


    I did read the 3 prior postings about Cedarcide, but the main one was by the CEO Dave Glassel. Any reviews/ feedback from an unrelated source?

  77. Rich

    I’ve not read any reports regarding Cedarcide, other than the one from Mr. Glassel.

    Does anybody know which strain of bed bugs you folks in NY have? In Ohio, we’ve been tremendously successful in treating with various pesticides/insectices and steam treating. There are some strains, though, that have built up an immunity to most of the products we use. I’m thinking that NY is battling one of those strains.

  78. Renee Corea

    Hi GC,

    I am not a professional. The reason that you need to notify and work with your building management is precisely because your neighbors may have bed bugs, your infestation may be an indication of an infestation that is spreading, or your infestation may itself spread to other apartments. So, a coordinated approach is the only approach. If you do your own thing and your neighbors do their own thing, and there is no communication and no systematic inspection (of all adjoining apartments, even the ones where the tenants do not complain of bites), it will be very hard to contain much less eradicate this infestation.

    With traditional treatments (and you would have to class low-toxicity and “eco/pet friendly products” as traditional treatments), you will likely need multiple treatments to eradicate an infestation because hidden bed bugs and eggs will remain. So, persistent treatments until all bed bugs have been killed is usually necessary.

    Please note that I know of no impartial reviews of Cedarcide products and no scientific testing on its effectiveness. Such information is not available to the public.

    My best advice is to:

    1. notify the landlord and speak to the pest management company about your concerns with pesticides; see what the PMP recommends or what course of action they recommend for your apartment; PMPs can certainly treat with “eco” products that may make you feel more secure — these products are not likely to have any significant residual action and so inspections (thorough, professional inspections) and treatments should be repeated at suitable intervals until all the bed bugs are gone (every two weeks is a general rule of thumb, but consult the PMP); a combination of tools and approaches, including steam, dusts and low-toxicity products may be recommended by the PMP
    2. investigate thermal treatment; it is available in NYC even for individual apartments and may work in 1 or 2 treatments and may not require supplementary traditional treatment — I’m not sure how ‘mature’ this industry is in NYC and you should try to investigate the most experienced thermal providers
    3. if you absolutely insist on treating yourself, consider steam treatments — read this faq on bedbugger and read the documentation linked to — you have to learn about how to do it effectively and safely, same with dusts, do not just buy products and tools without educating yourself on precautions and best practices — you can get additional advice in the bedbugger forums

    Good luck.

  79. GC

    Thank you very much for your advice. I spoke with my management co. agent and told her I have bedbugs. I requested a professional treatment and I scheduled an appointment at the earliest available which is this Friday afternoon. I asked the agent if anyone in my building was having these problems- I told her that I had read that infestation tended to spread within the building. I told her I was afraid that if my neighbors had it and did not treat, I would just get them back even if a managed to kill the ones in my apartment. She told me that the ‘G’ line in my building had the problem but not my line- she was referring to units in vetical line. I live on the ‘F’ line! I told her that perhaps it would be the most cost effective in the long run to inspect and treat the neighboring units from me at the same time time that my apt would be treated. Not at l sure that she was not just trying to put me off, but she said that she would speak to the PCO about it. I am somewhat surprised that she told me that the problem was already in the building.
    I was referred to Bug Off Pest Control Center http://www.bugoffpccenter.com. This place happens to be the store I went to when I originally verified I had Bedbugs and bought what the owner recommended. I am assuming he will use the same or similar on Friday. Permacide, then areosol cans of Bedlam and Cyfluthin (sp?). He has to do a better job than I did on my first round of spraying.
    I asked the PCO Andy if he should just come back for a second treatment tow weeks afer Friday. he said that the way he does his job, he rarely needs to go back twice! He was very busy and not really into answering my various questions. He had told me on my first visit that he supplies the professionals in NYC and that he also taught classes on the such. If he is good as he says he is than I will only be happy.
    Regardless of the short-term outcome, I intend to form a regular maintenance plan for myself. I looked into some of the dry steamer on the links provided- wow, they are quite pricy. I will have to research more on which is the best for the price if I decide to get one.
    I’m wondering if there are any eco/pet friendly products that I can just use for my regular cleaning of my floorboards. I do have cracks and crevices and I have become pretty obsessed about that problem.
    I will try to update with what happens during the next few weeks!

  80. Rich


    Your pest guy must have the “silver bullet” if he rarely has to retreat a second time.

    I would CAUTION you in your self-treatments. Be extremely careful so as to avoid poisoning yourself.

    First, have you encased your mattress and box springs? If not, you really want to do so. The only 100% control encasements are the “Protect-A-Bed” encasements. The others have proven to fail, allowing the bed bugs to escape through the zippers. If you can’t find any at a reasonable price, contact me with the length, width, and thickness of your bedding; I’ll see what I can do for your. Encasements need to be kept on the bedding for at least FIFTEEN months, making certain as to not puncture, or rip, the encasements. I would also caution you about changing where you sleep. The bugs will find you wherevery you go, thereby spreading the infestation into other areas of your home.

    Second, move your bed away from the walls so that the legs of the bed are the only thing contacting anything. Remove any skirts on the bed, and remove everything from beneath the bed. Lightly ‘DUST’ beneath and around the bed (paying attention to the bed legs) with diatamaceous earth. Vacuum up, and reapply weekly. If you can’t find the small bulb dusters or the d-earth, you can contact me.

    Third, I would suggest using the Bedlam insecticide for crack and crevice applications to your furniture, door frames, window frames, baseboards, etc. Do so WEEKLY.

    Fourth, launder your bed clothes twice weekly…in hot water at temps of 120 deg. or hotter. Place your pillows in a dryer on a hot setting (twice weekly, as you do your laundry) for 25 – 30 minutes.

    If you haven’t removed items from the infested room and laundered them, begin doing so, being careful to bag and remove only the items you are going to be laundering immediately. After laundering, place the items in a ‘SEALABLE’ plastic storage bags, and do not store them in the infested rooms. Picutures, what nots, etc., need to be stored in sealable plastic bags, also. When I say “sealable”, I’m refering to the clothing bags that look like giant, zip-lock sandwich bags. Placing them in a large bag and using twist ties will not do the job.

    Also, when you vacuum, and at the completion of the vacuuming, place some corn starch on the floor. Vacuum the corn starch up, and then remove and dispose of the bag. The corn starch will “coat” any bugs that my be lodged inside of the vacuum and that did not make it all the way to the bag. When the bug gets the “corn starch coat”, it will result in the bug suffocating and dieing.

    You should be able to find the Bedlam insecticide for around $11.00/can. Small bulb-dusters cost around $7.00. D-earh (must be the FOOD QUALITY grade) is very inexpensive, also. Wear a paper respirator suitable for dusts and pesticides when you are applying/treating with the products.


    Twice weekly-launder bed clothing/place pillows in hot dryer.

    Once weekly-dust and treat cracks and crevices.

    See if you can get your pest control company to tank some Gentrol IGR when they are treating, also. Gentrol is an insect growth regulator, and after two – three generations, will render the females sterile.

    You should get some relief if you follow this program. Can’t comment about getting rid of them totally, that would depend upon the treatment plan performed in the entirety of the building you reside in. But once you have them under control, you could cut back on the CRACK AND CREVICE portion of your treatment to once every 2 – 4 weeks, depending on the level of infestation that resides in your building. As long as the bed bugs are present in the building, I would use the d-earth weekly. That way if some did find their way back into your apartment, you would have the d-earth barrier to protect you.

    Hope this helps, and if you have any questions, I’d be glad to help you.

  81. GC

    Thank you so much for your email!

    A few questions-
    I have encased the box spring and mattress- after I sprayed both thoroughly with Permacide- in separate covers that I bought from the pest man on my first visit. The brand name for the covers is ‘Mattress Safe, Inc” and it says on the cover that it is independently bed bug certifed.?! Their website is http://www.mattresssafe.com. I hope I did buy something that does not work.

    My box spring used to have sheets/bedskirt on it (no longer!) but it does lie directly on the floor a bit away from the wall. Is this something I should change in the near future- buy a non-wood/fabric/hollow bedframe?

    After I bag all my miscellaneous non-clothing items and bag them, should I be spraying them in the bag? After the PCO comes on Friday and does his treatment and everything dries, I will be unbagging those items, right?
    Books that I have on my desk in the living room- can I clean any clutter but leave them to be sprayed? Since I can’t have each individual item treated, I’m worried that after the treatment I will open the bags and re-infest. Can I leave some out to be sprayed? My desk is a solid wood board on 4 metal legs that are hollow but sealed on both ends.
    The 2 closets in the apt entrance way are on the opposite ends of my apt from my bedroom. Those have been sprayed with Permacide then a week later with Cedarcide. I did not empty them though- I should empty every single closet in my apartment? What should I do with the few boxes containing files, old schoolbooks+ that are stored on the top shelf of my hallway closets? should I be bagging or spraying?
    Can I ever take anything out of the plastic bag if it is not an item that could be laundered? or is it better to do it soon after the treatment so anything falling out/crawling will die? Then I would need to follow-up spray again anyway for new hatches, no?

    I laundered and or dried every single item of loose clothing- most of which are still bagged, but some clothes were placed back in a few drawers after the units/ room had been emptied, vacuumed and sprayed with Permacide, floors cracks with Intruder HPX. Do I need to relaunder those cloths in the drawers or can I bag them?
    What about the clothes hanging in my closets? Before, I had emptied/cleaned all the shelves, floor, walls and then sprayed pretty much most of any surface with Permacide. The following week I did the same but bombed with Cedarcide. My closet is wide so I was able to leave clothes hanging in the center and spray all the areas around. Do I need to dry clean/wash all the hanging clothes?
    I read on the label that Permacide can be sprayed on fabric a long as it dries before use. What do you think about this product?

    A week after the PCO does his treatment, I will follow-up as you recommend.
    Any thoughts on the aresol spray Intruder HPX (sp?) for cracks and crevices- correctly, that was the third product the PCO had given me on my first visit.
    After all the chemicals to be sprayed this may be a moot question, but is D-earth okay for my cat? Should I do this follow-up for my entire apartment as recommended or just for my bedroom? I will also spray my sofa regularly- should I use Bedlam?

    I have only been washing bedding weekly. Will change to twice weekly. Do the bed bugs lay eggs on comforters and pillows? Maybe after drying I should not use pillowcovers?

    I think that’s way enough for tonight! Sorry for the endless Q’s!

    My boyfriend found out that his cousin who lives in the Bronx in a house has bed bugs and I had a lengthy convo with her today. She took her bed bug specimum to a dermatologist who said he was pretty sure it was, but would send it to the lab to idenitify the bb. Don’t really know but she is supposed to get results tomorrow- I will let you know if they are specific about bb type? !!

  82. Rich


    Lots of questions, but I’ll give it a shot!

    Matress Safe is not a good encasement. Protect-A-Beds are the only encasements that are 100% bed bug and bed bug bite proof.

    You really don’t want to spray your mattress and box springs before you encase them. Although you may think they are dry, they may not be, and could cause a mold/allergy problem later.

    Any wood bedframe will work. Just try to keep a “dusting” of d-earth beneath the bed, and around the legs.

    No need to spray items you place in zipp-lock bags. Keep them bagged, and once the temps get up to 82 + degrees, place the bags in the direct sunlight for 4 – 5 hours. Keep everything bagged untill you certain the the infestation is mitigated. Otherwise, you will have to go through the exercise, again.

    Books don’t get sprayed. Bag, sit in the sun.

    I would empty everything in the closets. If they are clean and do not need laudered, place them in a HOT dryer for 30 – 40 minutes, remove and bag in zipp-lock bags.

    The desk can be both steam treated and crack and crevice treated with Bedlam.

    Permacide and Cedarcide are not my weapons of choice. We’ve been having success with Gentrol IGR, Demand CS, Kicker, Suspend SC, Cynoff EC, Bedlam, and diatamaceous earth.

    Items such as boxes can be shrink wrapped. I don’t know if you have a Lowe’s or Home Depot in your area, but both are home improvement centers and sell shrink wrap in rolls (about $20.00 a roll). The roll is about 18″ wide. Wrap tightly and tape using a commercial duct tape. Once the entire box is wrapped, use a hair dryer to help “shrink” the material. Keep wrapped, sit out in the sun for 4 – 5 hours (82 + deg.), and keep wrapped until infestation is mitigated.

    Once again, any clothing not needing laundered can be placed in a hot dryer for 30 – 40 minutes, and then rebagged.

    Regarding Permacide, I’m not familiar with it. I’m not an advocate of spraying pesticides on clothing or items that you come in contact with on a regular frequency, i.e., sofas, chairs.

    I believe the Intruder HPX would work. It’s a flushing agent and would most probably zap the bugs. Wear a respirator. The odor is much stronger than the odor for Bedlam.

    If you place your pillows and comforters in the dryer twice weekly, you should be alright. I’d maybe think about bagging the comforter, and using a lighter weight blacket that can be washed twice weekly.

    Yes, the bed bugs can lay their eggs on comforters and pillows. That’s why you want to lauder or heat treat (dryer) twice weekly, because you will kill the eggs before they have the chance to gestate and hatch.

    There are lot’s of pics on line of bed bugs. A small optical magnifying glass is sufficient to identify them. I’m only familiar with two types of bed bugs: the lectilauris cimicide, and the lectilauris hemi??? (pardon my spelling). the later is generally found in tropical areas. The cimicide is the bed bug we are having the problems with. There are suppose to be several different strains, some being resistant to permithrims.

    There is also a bat bug, which looks very similar to the bed bug. If looked at very closely, they differ in their eye placement and antennae. And yes, they feed on bats, but once the bats leave a roosting area, any bat bugs left behind can enter into an area and begin feeding on humans. The good thing about bat bugs (if there is such a thing as “good”), is that they can easily be mitigated, unlike their cousins the bed bugs.

    So, I hope I answered all of your questions (wheewww!! ;>) Patience and deligence is what you need when dealing with bed bugs.

    Don’t forget to ask your bug man to tank some Gentrol during his next visit. He may moan a little and say it won’t be useful because Gentrol is a non-repellant, and he will be using a repellant. But, should his repellant not kill a female before she lays eggs, and she comes in contact with the Gentrol, 2 – 3 generations later the Gentrol will interrupt the reproductive cycle and render the females sterile. So, whatever you do, DON’T LICK THE BASEBOARDS!! (I’m just teasing)

  83. Renee Corea

    Hi GC and Rich,

    I have some thoughts.

    This guy, Andy — though I don’t much like him based on what you’ve said, GC — is the pest control person you should be consulting. Andy should be giving GC written and verbal instructions, and should be recommending the inspection of adjoining apartments. If he does neither of those things, he is not much of a rock star, right?

    But I know what this is like, GC, you do what you can with the resources you have and you can’t pick and choose. So, I understand completely. And I understand you’ve already asked him questions and he has not responded to them.

    But. Here’s the thing. If you start using pesticides yourself, and making decisions about what to bag or not, when to unbag it, what to apply yourself and how and where to apply it, etc. without consulting your pest control provider about the protocol that he actually intends to deploy in your apartment, you may actually sabotage his work. That would not be good, would it? Shouldn’t you first at least hear what he’s going to do? I would call him again and ask for written instructions. What does this guy Andy want you to do? Does he want you to bag non-washables or not (not everyone does)? Use Bedlam yourself or not (not everyone does)? Spread DE around or not (you get the idea)? Why would you do anything without discussing it with him? He’s the professional. If you do not trust him, then maybe you should talk to your apartment manager about that?

    I don’t have the resources to fact check consumer information and pest control advice (which is only one of the multiple reasons why we don’t do that here), but I want to clarify one thing, or rather, point you to more information. Rich, I believe the information you have on encasements is either not quite right or perhaps outdated; I’m referring to your statement about Mattress Safe encasements.

    This page on bedbugger (a site that does provide this type of consumer information) contains a discussion between the editor, the entomologist who tested Mattress Safe and the entomologist who helped design Protect a Bed encasements and conducted tests of Protect a Bed, Mattress Safe and several other encasements. My reading of this, and having just been to the Mattress Safe website where I sort of skimmed their test data summary, is that Mattress Safe encasements are designed for bed bug control, tested for all the relevant qualities (breach, bite-through, etc.) and that they are indeed suitable for their intended purpose.

    It should be very clear, however, that as a matter of policy we do not endorse or recommend pest control products, providers, or services here.

    Finally, I just think reasonable people may disagree on pest control protocols for bed bugs. I thank Rich for caring and trying to help, but other people may come along and decide that this is what they should be doing, any of the recommended things, and those steps may be wrong for their own situation.

    So, I’d feel better if we got back to the policy stuff…

  84. Rich


    I regret to hear that you seem to think you know more about bed bug protocol than I. I have successfully treated over 100 bed bug infestations: how many have you managed to mitigate? If GC’s bug man isn’t providing her with the same protocol, then he is not treating her apartment to rid the infestation. If he is not taking the time to answer her questions, I would wonder why not. In the past we have discussed “responsible” pest control companies. You should reflect back upon that conversation.

    Regarding Bedlam and Diatamaceous Earth: both products are sold over-the-counter, and, although an excellant product for the treatment of bed bugs and roaches, D-Earth is not even a pesticide. The use of either product would certainly not “sabotage” GC’s bug man’s treatment. If anything, it would supplement and expedite the mitigation of the infestation. Month long intervals in the treatment of bed bugs is not going to mitigate the infestation, especially if the strain of bed bugs is resistant to the pesticide being used. Bed bugs have shown no resistence to either Bedlam or d-earth.

    Bagging items is a common and necessary protocol. To leave items unbagged in an infested apartment will only prolong, and possibly worsen, the infestation. The use of repellants will “run” the bugs from treated areas, causing them to seek “safe” harborage in untreated areas, i.e., closets and drawers full of clothes. The removal and bagging of items takes these “safe” harborages away from the bug, making treatments more effective, and mitigation achieved more quickly.

    Regarding the Mattress Safe encasements: There are lots of encasements that are labeled for use for bed bugs: this goes back to the “me, too” marketing. Mattress Safe was an encasement I previously used, until Rick Cooper concluded his research on bed bug encasements. Mattress Safe was found to be the second best encasement, but, it still allows bed bugs to escape through the zipper. Protect-A-Bed encasements were the only encasements found to be 100% bed bug proof. I invite you to view the videos on my web site that show the research Mr. Cooper performed on encasements. You may also visit YouTube and search for “bed bug encasement research”; you will find the same videos there. The videos are actually quite profound to watch and see how the bugs can “squeeze” through the zippers. Being interrested in getting rid of a bed bug infestation for a customer as quickly as possible, I use the Protect-A-Bed encasements exclusively.

    Discussions with Andy would be encouraged. The fact is, Andy may very will give the same instructions as I provided. To suggest or imply that my help to GC may be wrong, or sabotaging a treatment plan, is doing GC a great disservice. Other than thermal remediation or fumigation with Vikane, there is only one clear cut protocol for dealing with bed bugs. Unfortunately, there are pest control companies who look upon this pest as a means of extending their source of revenue. A $5.00 bag of D-earth, a $7.00 bulb duster, an $11.00 can of Bedlam, and $30.00 spent on zipper-lock clothing bags go a very long way in mitigating a bed bug infestation. It sure beats paying hundreds of dollars to a pest control company that recommends otherwise.

    I do not look for endorsements, I earn them. The demand for bed bug treatments and the recommendations of my customers has proven to be endorsement enough.

    To GC: Now that you are confused, I would suggest that you contact an entomology department, preferabley at the University of Kentucky. There you will be able to find acceptable protocols for the treatment of bed bugs. I recommend UK as that is where Dr. Potter (the leading expert in the nation on bed bugs) is located. Any new information on bed bugs would probably be found there. Also, you mentioned about getting a steamer. Household steamers generally only reach temps of 120 – 140 degress. That temp is usually not the temp that is delivered at the tip of the steamer. Temps at the tip of the steamer that are less than 120 deg. will not kill the bug. Our commercial vapor steamers reach temps of 300 – 340 deg., with the temp at the tip being around 200 + deg. When steam treating, we need to treat the surface very slowly to make certain that the insect and egg are in contact with the heat long enough to be effective: kind of like running your hand over an open candle; too quick, and nothing; if you go slowly, you get burnt. So household steamers, although reaching inside temps of 120 – 140 deg, may not deliver temps at the tip high enough to be effective. Check before you invest in one, and if you find one, remember to treat “slowly”. You can check the temp at the tip by placing a meat thermometer about 1 – 2 inches from the tip. If you’re not getting the desired temps, then the treatment will not be effective.

    My purpose for providing you with help was certainly not intended to cause you any confusion or inconvenience. I stumbled across this web site in my constant search for new information regarding bed bugs and the treatment of bed bugs. Becoming aware of the problem that NY is having, and reading about some of the alarming stories, I took an interest in the site. Renee’s “awareness” program should be applauded. I only wish that I were located in NY so I could share more and offer the people in NY more than just providing on-line information. I spend hours every day (including Sat’s and Sun’s) fielding calls from distressed customers with bed bug infestations. As I told Renee in the past, I’ve been ridiculed at times by my peers for not taking advantage of this “goose that laid the golden egg”; I actually been told that I am a bad businessman. But seeing what impact these bugs are having on people’s lives has caused me to place helping people first, and making it business second. I truly wish you well. Good luck.

  85. Renee Corea

    Oh, for the love of God, Rich. I’ll tell you how many infestations I have treated, zero. Zero! I am not a professional. I’ve stated that here numerous times. And I’m also not characterizing your knowledge of pest control in any way. And not saying that you did not help GC.

    This prescriptive stuff is not what we’re about. And I most definitely do believe that this is not a one size fits all situation.

    Further, it doesn’t take a lot to push me. Do you really think your protocol is infallible? That there is only one good protocol to control bed bugs? Really, Gentrol? Suspend? Having the customer supplement with products, perhaps overapplying them, perhaps using them incorrectly? Bagging non-washables and creating a reinfestation risk? Do I really have to tell you that reasonable people (real professionals, not someone like me) may disagree? How would you feel if another professional told a customer of yours to tell you specifically not to use Gentrol because there is one unpublished study that suggests hydroprene not only doesn’t work but may have a negative effect? I bet you’d not be very pleased, because you like it and it’s one of your tools.

    Did you read the link I provided? Richard Cooper said that he was later provided with an encasement from Mattress Safe that solves the zipper problem by using a clasp. It may or may not be an inferior design solution, but if the customer closes the zipper properly, it works. The Protect a Bed encasements reportedly disallow some user error in closing the zipper from becoming a factor. This does not mean that Mattress Safe encasements are not effective and will let bed bugs escape through the zipper. Neither encasement will be worth anything if it tears or is installed improperly.

    This isn’t about you!

  86. GC

    Thank you so much for your responses. I am just glad that I was able to get the feeling of support from these emails.
    I understand concerns about recommendations regarding treatment and products, as one thing I do understand clearly is that there are many factors and variables involved. Whatever the treatment or instruments used- it is clear that the process has to be comprehensive. What I did get from the begining of my interaction on this site was the sureness that I needed to contact my landlord’s agent and a professional PCO, as well as the need to communicate with them.
    Thank you for addressing my questions- I will not consider the info I got as strict practice but will use it to gain more knowledge and understanding on this subject.
    I found a bed bug registry online and got a clearer picture of the level of investation New York City is currently facing. Bed bugs are everywhere, in every neighborhood in Manhattan. And I am sure only a few who suffer register there or call 311. From someone who only recently even became aware of the scope of this problem, I thank you for advocating and pushing to bring knowledge and change to our city. There must be so many more worse off than me with even less resources!
    This truly is an invasive, destructive, and tiring ordeal, to say the least.!

  87. Renee Corea

    I hope you will solve your problem soon, GC. Yes, things are tough for many people, but bed bugs are absolutely beatable and I hope that you are optimistic and confident.

    Very best wishes,

  88. Tavia Anderson

    My situation is like on that was explained above. This is my situation: I rented a house in Oct. 2008 and in Dec. 2008 my oldest daughter came to me and stated to me that she was being bit by something and I contacted the landlord during the second week in Dec. and explained to him that my daughter was being bitten by something and he stated to me “I have no problem getting the house exterminated.” He then went on to say caught me a bug and I will come and get it and take it to the exterminator. I feel that he knew that it was a bed bug infestation in the house just due to his statement. I stated to him that my daughter was being bit by something. I also asked him back in Dec. did his previous tenants ever complain about being bit and he stated “no,” well that is not true I found the previous tentants and she as well as, her kids stated that the landlord knew and that at least once a week he would come and spray raid and use bombs. She rented the house from Jan. – June 2008, but left her things in the house until Sept. 2008. I did not confrim what the bugs were until April 2008 and indeed it was BED BUGS. I called the landlord and he stated to me “save the bug and I will come and get it and take it to the exterminator.” Again he did not come and get the BED BUG. On Mayb 11, 2009 a BED BUG tried to bit me the back of my ear and again I called the landlord and he at that time told me to call and exterminator. I have lost all of my kids clothes, bedding and a lot of items due to him promising to steam clean and he never did. What can I do about this. Four out of my five children were bitten and my four year old nephew was bitten so badly that he had to be treated for and infection. Please help!!!!!!

  89. Tavia Anderson

    The exterminator stated to me that the fecal matter that is in my daughter’s room is about a years worth or more. He told the landlord that there was no way that I brought the BED BUGS there. Is there any way that I can e-mail you some pictures of the fecal matter.

  90. Renee Corea

    Tavia, there is someone who has offered to talk to you. Please email me at renee at newyorkvsbedbugs dot org (replace the at and the dot) for his number and email me the pictures as well if you like. Tell me when you write what city you are in. Are you in NY?

  91. jim

    I am a tortured prisoner in my own home. I woke up today with reds spots/welts on my under arms, wrists and arms, forehead and neck. The sniffing dogs won’t be here until Monday, but I know what they will find. So, what can I do until then. I cover myself in calamine lotion. I’m sleeping on my couch tonight. Who knows if that makes any difference. I feel like a pariah, afraid to tell anyone for fear they will avoid me entirely. I teach a children’s class. Can I responsibly be with them knowing what I know?

  92. Renee Corea

    Hi Jim,

    I’m not sure that calamine lotion is your best bet as it can dry your skin. Aloe vera and topical hydrocortisone creams from the drugstore seem to be helpful to some people. If you go to the doctor they can give you a prescription for something better. Not scratching is difficult but it really helps.

    You can responsibly be with anyone as long as you take precautions with your personal effects and clothing. This involves drying clothes at high temperature and isolating in plastic bags. You can learn how to manage your clothing and how to isolate your bed (so that bed bugs are not in or on it and cannot crawl onto it) if you need relief from the bites until you can get a pest control company in to your home. Not everyone can really isolate their beds really well but you can learn about it and try it if you need some temporary relief. I suggest you read the FAQs at bedbugger.com and at NYS IPM Program/Cornell.

  93. Tavia Anderson

    Renee I am so sorry that I never had the opportunity to get the pictures emailed to you or get the chance to speak to the person that agreed to speak to me. I moved to a new house and have been here for 2 months now and have not experience any bed bugs bites. I sued that landlord on Oct. 23, 2009 in small claims and won the damages. It was not the amount that I thought that I should have received, but at least I stood up to him and let him know that he can not rent people bed bug infested houses. Oh and he did rent this house to another family.

  94. Tavia Anderson

    Renee one more thing, I want to know legally can I list this house on-line as being infested with bed bugs and not be sued by the landlord?

  95. Rich

    To Jim:

    Not a good idea to switch your sleeping places…the bugs will follow you, will infest your sofa, and unfortunately, there is nothing within reasonable cost that can be done to successfully treat an infested sofa; it will have to be thrown out. There are ways to treat your bed that will provide minimal ways that the bugs can get to you. Once you accomplish removing yourself from their menu, you will also accomplish keeping the population from growing; the female has to have a blood meal before she can lay any eggs. Good luck.

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