In the latest round in the Big Apple’s battle against bedbugs, on Tuesday the city launched Bed Bug Portal, a website to help Harlemites coping with the pests. The site will provide information on how to recognize the bloodsucking insects, prevent infestations, select an extermination company and treat the problem. It will also include bedbug facts and tips about donating or buying used items, such as furniture or apparel.
“New York City is taking another swat at bedbugs today,” said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, in a statement, noting that one of the biggest problems for the spread of bedbugs is incorrect information.
Last July, the City Council made $500,000 available to create the bedbug information site and to hire a specialized staff to deal with the issue.
The Department of Housing Preservation and Development and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, along with Ms. Quinn, were also involved with the new resources for bedbug protection. They have created a new model to respond to bedbug complaints in residential buildings—landlords are now required to inspect and treat units adjacent to infestations, use licensed exterminators and also use other treatments beyond chemical pesticides. Property owners who do not comply with the new rules will be subject to fines. The New York Post first reported the city’s new real estate guidelines for dealing with bedbugs.
In the fiscal year ended June 30, 2010, the city tracked more than 31,700 bedbug-related 311 calls—a 20% rise over the prior year.
“The new website offers a simple one stop shop for bedbug information, and the new protocols developed in partnership with the health department provide a clear roadmap to landlords,” said housing development Deputy Commissioner Vito Mustaciuolo, in a statement.