Marsha Stoltz provided a typical regional bed bug news story in The Record Sunday:
Creepy crawly creatures have always been a predictable, if dreaded, part of multi-housing life because of the ease with which they move from unit to unit along shared pipes, wires and cable lines.
Landlords and buildings managers typically address these concerns with monthly inspections and treatments while urging tenants to adopt neater lifestyles and garbage disposal methods.
Now, say area pest control companies, bedbugs have replaced cockroaches and mice at the top of the creature list, and none of these treatments help.
“In New Jersey we’re seeing bedbugs in epidemic proportions,” says Tony Yochum, commercial sales manager for Viking Pest Control with offices in Saddle Brook and throughout northern New Jersey. “They are the cockroach of the new millennium.”
It seems obvious to us Bedbuggers that the problem is spreading rapidly and also that it can be difficult to get rid of bed bugs. But sometimes news articles are more reserved about saying so outright. Sometimes they even seem to state the opposite.
They also often do not mention how easily bed bugs can be transported from place to place:
“You can pick them up at college, a movie theater, in furniture,” [Abarb Pest Service’s George] Forst said. “They spread like wildfire.”
For the general public, it is helpful to consider that bed bugs can come from a wide variety of sources, and travel in all directions.
That kind of talk can make some people paranoid, of course. It is not true that you will encounter bed bugs everywhere you go, nor is it true–having had bed bugs–that you will likely reinfest yourself again and again from random locations once your bed bugs are gone.
It is worth taking precautions against spreading them if you have them, and it’s worth being alert wherever you go, since picking up bed bugs is always a possibility.
Jim McCale, owner of J.P. McCale Pest Management in Boonton is quoted as saying
We also recommend inspecting the units above, below and diagonal to the infected unit, but this can be hard. Residents don’t want other tenants to know.
What I hear from Bedbugger readers is most often that the landlord does not want to inspect all adjacent units (because, after all, they may then have to pay to treat them). Another common complaint is that the landlord will inspect, but some tenants will refuse either inspection or treatment.
We almost never hear of tenants who themselves do not want the landlord to have neighbors’ units inspected. (And anyway, if all adjacent units are being inspected, why would the other tenants need to know which tenant made the original complaint, if the landlord is the one calling for inspections?)
It is true, however, that our readers are self-selecting–they’re the information-seekers and proactive ones. Often this comes of necessity–when people have a bad allergic response to bed bugs, they not only come looking for solutions, they also are willing to do almost anything to get rid of the problem. So I guess many of us Bedbuggers might not be typical clients.