We’ve been following the saga in Cincinnati, the first city in the USA to declare war on bed bugs.
This story from WLWT.com (channel 5) on Thursday indicates that the city is surprised by the persistence of bed bugs. It focuses on Cincinnati resident Samuel Blackmon.
On Friday, Blackmon showed off his apartment to some guests: City Councilman Chris Monzel, Ohio Rep. Dale Mallory and News 5’s Michelle Hopkins.
“It’s horrible. It gives me the creeps. I get chills every time I think about it,” Mallory said.
“I’ve got to buy all new furniture. I don’t know how I’m going to do it,” Blackmon said.
In his bathtub, more dead bugs. Blackmon said they are falling from his ceiling.
Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority bosses said Blackmon’s apartment was treated a month ago.
“We are committed, and we have been successful in reducing the numbers dramatically of infestations,” director Donald Troendle said.
Troendle said his agency’s spent $500,000 to get rid of the bugs, but Blackmon’s apartment showed that it hadn’t worked.
Blackmon’s apartment “was treated a month ago.” But since he lives in a multi-unit building, a high-rise called Stanley Rowe with many infested units, treatment must be aggressive, persistent, and will probably take many weeks of follow-ups, spaced around 2 weeks apart. All infested units must be treated as aggressively. Frankly, in such circumstances, the whole building may need treatment if there really is to be an end to the problem.
The confusion and surprise the officials feel is not unusual. But what is unusual in Cincinnati, is that there does seem to be an awareness and recognition that more is needed:
“This is just totally unacceptable to be occuring in public housing,” Monzel said. “What we really need to do is look at attacking the problem, from inspections to cleaning to reinspections, to make sure these folks are living in places that are free of bedbugs.”
“These are folks who have lived a good life. They don’t deserve to have the last years of their lives eaten by bedbugs,” Monzel said.
Monzel and Mallory said they did this inspection to bring more light to the bedbug problem in public housing.
They said they’re both working to get more money and resources to stamp out the problem.
One reader pointed out that Cincinnati officials were not listening closely enough to local entomologists and pest control experts. If that’s true, now would be a good time to do so. Was Mr. Blackmon’s apartment treated once, a month ago? Twice? I could have told Cincinnati officials that this would not be enough under the circumstances. Aren’t they working with a PCO who can tell them the same thing?
Mr. Blackmon’s situation is horrifying and tragic. But the fact that officials are persisting with trying to find a solution, is a positive thing. That the local media is reporting on the persistence of the problem “despite treatment” is good. What they need to be saying is that everyone with bed bugs will need persistent, aggressive, repeated treatments.
And no one is immune: Another recent story from WLWT news tells us those in “luxury” $1000-a-month rentals at Union Station Apartments in West Chester as just as much in need of help as those in public housing.