O’Farrell St., between Hyde and Leavonworth, San Francisco
Some exciting things are happening in California, and have been for some time. Since we’ve been giving a lot of love to Cincinnati lately, I wanted to fill you in on the California scene.

First, Bedbuggers should know we have a friend in California: Dr. Laura Krueger. She’s the Associate Public Health Biologist in the Vector-Borne Disease Section of the California Dept. of Public Health. Laura has commented here a number of times, and has been reading the site for a while. She co-wrote the Guidelines for the Control and Prevention of Bed Bug Infestations in California (February 2007) (click here for a PDF). The California Bed Bug Guidelines were based, in turn, on other similar documents. A footnote tells us: “CDHS adapted these guidelines for bed bug control from the San Francisco Department of Public Health and the Australian Environmental Pest Managers Association.” (Click here for a PDF of the 2nd edition of the Australian Guidelines (June 2007; California based their guidelines on the first edition); the San Francisco Guidelines link is currently down.

The California Bed Bug Guidelines are just that: suggestions, a good plan, for how PCOs, and owners of hotels and multi-unit dwellings should work to prevent and control bed bugs. The Guidelines are not enforceable in and of themselves.

As an example, the Guidelines suggest that PCOs should come a minimum of three times, spaced two weeks apart; that hotel or apartment managers should respond to complaints of bed bugs within 48 hours with a plan of action (and that the plan of action should be executed within 72 hours of the complaint being made); and that tenants should should not remove anything from the infested room until the PCO comes and directs them.

I would argue that some aspects of the guidelines need to be revised. For example, one guideline states that tenants should report bed bugs to the owner or operator “within 24 hours of the pest sighting”. This seems like good advice, but many people are bitten by bed bugs for a long time without actually seeing a pest. PCOs and other professionals are still learning how very stealthy bed bugs can be.

Nevertheless, the Guidelines are impressive and I am grateful that the California Department of Health Services has compiled them.

There have also been some recent positive developments in California in terms of government funding to help those with bed bugs fight the problem. In San Francisco, as the second item down on this page of the Central City SRO Collaborative (CCSRO) website states,

The Central City SRO Collaborative organized with tenants and other community groups to demand funding for subsidies for low-income tenants. At the urging of this activist group, [City of San Francisco] Supervisor Chris Daly got $63,000 in this year’s budget for subsidized laundry and freezing services for low-income tenants with bedbug infestations, a huge public education campaign for tenants and landlords, and 2 annual forums–one for landlords/tenants and one for social service workers/tenants–that will teach public health code, bedbug cleanup, and tenant advocacy.

Let’s pause a moment and reflect on the historical context of this: the hearing happened three months before NYC held its city council hearing on the resale of mattresses (one which has not yet borne fruit), and a good 16 months before Cincinnati’s recent fabled town hall meeting on bed bugs.

This is a wonderful example of how a tenants activist group (CCSRO) helped pressure the city to take action and provide funding for bed bug remediation and public education campaigns. Of special note is that this funding covers assistance to tenants who cannot afford laundry and “freezing services” (love to hear more about where that’s done!) as part of treating their posessions.

And we have also learned that in San Francisco, the Department of Aging and Adult Services (part of Adult Protective Services) can assist, in some cases, with preparation for bed bug treatment for elderly people who have trouble doing this for themselves.

This is something that is much needed, and I hope the provision of such assistance–for elderly people and those with mobility issues–will increase here and everywhere else.

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1 parakeets November 21, 2007 at 5:52 pm

Yes, as early as the First International Bedbug Symposium in Herndon VA in September 2006, they were talking about how San Francisco was taking a lead in the bedbug issue. Good for San Francisco! Even if these are only “guidelines” right now, they can be used as suggested practices and if someone has to go to housing court against an uncooperative landlord, there is something to fall back on that says, in writing, what the standards should be.

2 nomorebugs November 21, 2007 at 7:14 pm

Freezing services? There are now at least two references to freezing services in San Francisco. Anyone know about it?

Even as misery loves company, so far it would seem that ground zero for bed bugs in San Francisco are in downtown. It’s still not a very wide spread problem and I don’t see the blogging or social networking chatter about it.

3 Winston O. Buggy November 21, 2007 at 7:35 pm

Hats off or is it mattress covers to the folks in SF. I have a comment or two
on their guide but is a good start and certainly is addressing many of the myriad
of issues that must be tackled. As far as NYC politics it’s not just the balloons
with hot air. Freezing has been used in Europe especially in the UK with a patented system called Cryonite. From what I’ve heard it is a tool but usually involves chemical applications as well. Hot or cold the little devils are in the detailing, moldings and other crevices.

4 nobugsonme November 22, 2007 at 2:44 am

Anon and Winston,

The freezing referred to in this article appears to be freezing of belongings, not of the rooms themselves. The grant appeared to be about helping tenants with their side of treatment, rather than paying for treatment itself which the SRO hotel was responsible for. So I assume in this case, they’re not talking about Cryonite, but some kind of rent-a-freezer type service. Which we definitely need to know about.

Laura Krueger will probably see this after the holidays, and she may know folks in SF who can fill us in.

We have heard of Cryonite, and apparently Terminex has used freezing technology (cryonite or otherwise) in the US, including (apparently) at the U of Texas at Dallas. hopelessnomo comments on it in this thread.

5 kraystone November 22, 2007 at 3:37 am

I can’t login as kraystone…

I stay 4 blocks away from where the photo was taken. In fact, another friend who got bedbugs are located 2 blocks away from there. Another infestation which I heard of occurs just opposite my laundromat, 1 block away. Not sure if their situation had been solved but I haven’t got a bite for 17 days, hooray!!!

6 nobugsonme November 22, 2007 at 4:39 am

That’s awesome, kraystone! I mean the 17 days. 🙂

7 Kevin M. Kirby June 16, 2008 at 4:14 pm

The San Francisco health dept. took one look at my collection of 1000+ books and tapes, made an unsuccessful inspection of the mattress, and advised me to donate all my possessions to charity. Meanwhile, the flat-wallet bedbugs show up every night in wee hours to become blood-red hot dogs by dawn. If not for the heart palpitations, anxiety and stark sleeplessness, I’d also believe that this was really no trouble at all.

Of course, the Mission District is “supervised” in a slightly different manner than the more civilized regions of the city. Apparently, the insect kingdom finds a welcome home in this cipher of a neighborhood.

8 nobugsonme June 16, 2008 at 4:42 pm

Kevin,
I am troubled by your repeated reports that you showed the Dept of Public Health inspector bed bugs and were told there were no signs.

Months back we had another reader who lived in a SF SRO who had similar reports.

9 Andee March 24, 2009 at 6:27 pm

From what I have seen, this freezing thing is not that amazing! because these bugs get into not just beds, it’s everything. They get into clothes, carpet, you name it there they are! Pesticides are the best thing to use!!!

10 nobugsonme March 25, 2009 at 1:25 am

Andee,

Actually thermal heat and vikane gas are probably better, though they can be costly. Pesticides typically take a number of careful treatments, whereas (done properly) vikane and thermal can be one-shot deals.

These two methods were not as widespread when the post above was written (2007).

Please come to the Bedbugger Forums for an active community to get support and share ideas: http://bedbugger.com/forum/

11 MattFrank April 21, 2009 at 6:50 pm

I am looking for an expert to testify at trial about bedbugs and the proper handling and extermination of them. Preferably someone in California or even better, Los Angeles.
Thank you.

12 nobugsonme April 22, 2009 at 12:41 am

Matt,

You might get in touch with Crane or Pestec, both pest control firms in San Francisco who have received a lot of media attention. If this is too far, they may be able to recommend entomologists in LA.

13 lizzie April 25, 2009 at 2:08 am

Very interesting reading. How do we get the powers that be on the job here in Hamilton canada?

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