Of course, the words “bed bug task force” and in and of themselves do not mean anything.
We aren’t sure exactly sure what’s happening in the Twin Cities yet, but according to this article in the Star-Tribune Saturday about bed bugs in the area,
More than 140 landlords recently attended the first meeting of a bedbug task force, and all but five said they’d had problems with the pests. Three years ago, Plunkett’s Pest Removal had three cases all year. Now it has three full-time exterminators tackling nothing but bedbug problems. At Adams Pest Control, bedbug complaints have increased 25 percent in just a year.
At the very least, it sounds like over 140 landlords met to gain and share information about bed bugs, which in and of itself is not a bad thing. Whether local officials or agencies are involved or not is another question.
I would welcome any further information on this event and the task force!
Seek, and ye may find.
I was able to track down the sponsors of this meeting — the Minnesota Multi-Housing Association. I contacted them and received an email back from Mary Rippe, the MHA President. She agreed to let me quote the email on Bedbugger:
Following is some information about MHA and our Task Force –
The Minnesota Multi Housing Association (MHA) is a non-profit trade
association of multi-housing owners and managers. MHA formed a
ten-member Task Force in early 2008 to serve as an information exchange
and to help prepare resources to proactively deal with the issue. The
goals of the group were to help develop guidance on how to respond,
courses of action to take, communication tools and education. One
result of these endeavors was a half-day seminar with 140 in attendance
on the following topics: how widespread is the problem; how to identify
bed bugs, treatment options and costs, and communication with residents.
We continue to plan further seminars, find additional resources and
provide necessary information.
MARY RIPPE, PRESIDENT
MN Multi Housing Association (MHA)
1600 W 82nd Street, Suite 110, Bloomington, MN 55431
Direct: (952) 548.2208 or Main: (952) 854.8500
Visit MHA online at www.mmha.com
Thanks to Mary Rippe for the information!
This Minnesota “task force” is not a Bed Bug Task Force along the lines of the Cincinnati/Hamilton County or Toronto models — a partnership which may include city health and housing authorities, bed bug experts, and others (something New York vs. Bed Bugs would like to have happen in NYC too).
However, I think it is really important for landlords to discuss bed bugs and how to deal with them. Landlord blogs and websites have discussed bed bugs. And a meeting for landlords was held in Cincinnati (pre-dating the city’s bed bug task force).
This article describes the meeting of landlords / apartment managers in Cincinnati, in April 2007, where lawyer Kevin Brewer and entomologist Dr. Susan Jones (a bed bug expert) discussed the issue of blaming tenants — a conversation that demonstrates how crucial it is for landlords and lawyers to fully understand how bed bugs spread, and why. I encourage you to follow that click above and read the exchange quoted.
The Jones-Brewer conversation demonstrates how crucial it is for landlords to hear about bed bugs from people who really know bed bugs, and from a variety of perspectives: an entomologist familiar with the latest bed bug research, as well as a lawyer who knows the local laws and how they related to bed bugs. Bed bugs are different than other pests, and the legal and practical rules that apply to cockroaches, mice, and rats, do not necessarily work with bed bugs.
As for the MHA, if we can judge by other recent events, they seem to be getting good advice. On a Chicago vs. Bed Bugs discussion of this event, Renee of New York vs. Bed Bugs shared this PDF of a prior MHA session on bed bugs, featuring entomologist Dr. Steven Kells (who is, like Dr. Michael Potter and Dr. Susan Jones who participated in the Cincinnati conference, one of the most knowledgeable people in the country about bed bugs). So it looks like landlords attending the MHA events on bed bugs are in good hands.