The Staten Island Advance reported today that P.S.16 in Staten Island has a bed bug problem. They’ve had two treatments and the bed bugs persist. And it sounds like a fairly serious problem:
The creepy crawlies have been seen at PS 16 in the borough’s Tompkinsville community for several weeks now and exterminators have already visited the school twice, parents and education officials said.
“But this is still a continuous problem,” Ms. Guzman said. “I don’t know what’s going on. All I know is my child is putting her coat in her bookbag and the school had to get rid of puppets and lots of classroom supplies, even snacks.”
Nevertheless a New York City Department of Education official played it down:
Margie Feinberg, a DOE spokeswoman, said the Department was in the process of analyzing the specimens and that pest control went to the school yesterday.
“This is not a health issue but a nuisance issue,” Ms. Feinberg said. “Bed bugs do not carry disease. They are usually brought into the building on heavy clothing. We are looking into the matter.”
Though not yet known to spread infectious disease, bed bugs are nevertheless a health concern. The World Health Organization sure thinks so.
An even more immediate concern may be the costs of treating for bed bugs carried by so many, including parents whose kids may bring bed bugs home from school, or their landlords.
Back in January, Seth Donlin of the New York City Department of Housing, Preservation, and Development (HPD) told the Daily News,
“The Bronx had the second-lowest number of complaints last year,” said Seth Donlin of the city Department of Housing Preservation and Development, which keeps track of such calls to the city’s 311 hotline.
“It’s the lowest total after Staten Island, which is statistically insignificant,” Donlin said.
So Staten Island had the lowest number of complaints to 311 about bed bugs last year. It sounds like plenty of people in Staten Island are suffering now. One thing bed bugs do well is spread. Quickly.
Unless those bugs took the ferry in to school, or drove over the Verrazano Bridge, they may have come to P.S.16 with someone who lives in Staten Island. You can bet they’re probably going home with someone who lives in Staten Island.