Local News 12 in Cincinnati had a new segment on bed bugs on Monday. That city has declared their bed bug epidemic to be a huge problem, and started throwing energy, time, and resources into solving it as best they can. They appear to fully understand what a difficult task that is. But they’re starting with public education.
They’ve started a bed bug hotline for “tips and information,” and people are asked to completely encase infested items in plastic before disposing of them. Residents can call to have infested items picked up curbside by a dedicated sanitation crew that knows what they’re picking up.
Dale Grigsby, Cincinnati Health Department: “Get the stuff as clean as you can, cracks and crevices of the mattresses and box springs, the best thing you can do is wrap them, completely encase them in some sort of a plastic, zippered liner, bed bugs can’t feed if they can’t get out, and that’s where they harbor.”
I note that even though Cincinnati officials remind us that bed bugs do not spread disease, the Cincinnati Health Department is a key player in this campaign.
Residents are also being warned about the dangers of used and rented furniture.
And one woman’s story reminds us how easily bed bugs may travel home with us. Pamela Mackey believes she got them from a hospital where she spent two days at her husband’s bedside; apparently, it came home in a sealed envelope:
After staying by her husbands bedside for a few days at University Hospital recently, Pamela Mackey says she returned home, and opened the admissions packet to find something she didn’t want to see.
Pamela Mackey, Bond Hill: “Took out a letter and unbeknownst to me there was a little critter…and my dismay I crushed this little critter and blood everywhere.”
Mackey says the critter was a bedbug, and while she contacted the hospital to tell them she’s still…
“Angry because I had brought something into my home that previously had not occupied my space.”
Click to view the video. For anyone in Cincinnati who’s reading this, you probably know more than we do! But just in case, the bed bug hotline for Cincinnati residents only is (513) 591-6000. (If you’re not in Cincinnati, please don’t use that number. Seek the services of a qualified PCO, read our FAQs, and come to the forum if you have questions!)
I am very impressed with the way the government in Cincinnati is trying to work on this. I seriously hope that the news reports will focus on treatment options, as well as furniture disposal, which seems to be a major focus. It is essential to get a hold on bed bug refuse in order to halt the spread. However, good bed bug treatment, from experienced PCOs who know bed bugs, is also essential. It’s important that people know how to find a good PCO, and also know about the dangers of self-treating this difficult pest situation. Other tips might also help Cincinnati residents solve their bed bug issues more swiftly.
Cincinnati is still the only city in the US that is taking action on such a large scale. And there is still so much more that can be done. Mayor Bloomberg, are you listening? I’ll bet you a bucket of diatomaceous earth that New York City’s got more bed bugs per capita than Cincinnati. It’s a bet I hate to win, but I think my odds are good. Why are we waiting, New Yorkers?