According to the Stamford Advocate, that city’s health department expects last year’s 85 reported cases of bed bugs will be surpassed this year. (Remember, those are just the cases that get reported to the health department):
“It’s going up and it’s going to continue to go up,” said Mike Kraynak, director of health inspections.
As a New Yorker, I am intrigued to hear a public official express concern that the bed bug problem is growing, though it so obviously is.
And here’s the law in Stamford:
If a bed bug case is reported in rented housing, the city requires landlords to exterminate until the problem is resolved, Kraynak said. First, a resident must find a bed bug and take it to the city as evidence. If a lab worker confirms it is a bed bug, the city sends an extermination order. Usually, if the apartment is six units or less, the city requires the entire building be treated. In larger complexes, the city requires treating only the affected unit and those surrounding it.
I haven’t heard of other cities which invite residents to bring a sample in.
In New York, in stark contrast, we hear inspectors (if they turn up to inspect following a bed bug complaint) like to see them harboring in the “natural habitat” of your home (in daylight, of course, and in plain view). Oh, and we’re told they often expect the resident to be able to find them. As you can imagine, the wily bed bugs don’t always cooperate.
Stamford has some other things going for it, too:
Kraynak said residents must report a bed-bug problem, but a few preventive measures are in place. [City Health Inspector Amy] Lehaney works to educate neighborhood associations. And the health department provides information, including examples of the insects, at its front desk in the government center.
For those who don’t have a problem, Kraynak recommends caution.
“Don’t pick up a mattress from the sidewalk,” he said. “It’s against the law to sell used mattresses. And when you go into a hotel room, check the bedding and make sure you don’t see signs of an infestation.”
So Stamford is educating residents, helping walk-ins learn to identify bed bugs, and it’s also illegal to sell used mattresses in Stamford?
In New York, officials turn a blind eye as the used mattress trade works overtime. There sure are a lot of mattresses on the curbside right now. I’m sure it saves New York City a lot of money in terms of garbage collection when those scavengers come and pick them up for re-sale.
I could not find anything about bed bugs by searching on the Stamford Health Inspections website at this time, but it sounds like they have some good policies in place so far. Let’s hope they do even more to fight the spread of bed bugs in Stamford.