Renee of New York vs. Bed Bugs uncovered a surprise on the New York City Council website: a new bed bug bill, Int. no. 873, calls for the Department of Health to get involved in the bed bug fight in New York City, by
- training PCOs in proper bed bug treatment,
- providing a list of those PCOs to the public,
- training property owners in how to eliminate bed bugs, prevent their spread,
- providing information on the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene website, and
- providing information about bed bugs to 311 callers, and taking reports of bed bug infestations via 311.
The bill does not go into a lot of detail on these steps, for example, I’d love to know more how these training programs will be carried out. It’s essential that the best advice and bed bug expertise will be sought in creating and implementing them.
And what will be done with the reports of bed bug infestations? I hope they’ll be used to track where bed bug infestations occur. Right now, someone in New York City knows which tenants have called 311 to complain about bed bugs. If violations are found, we have a limited degree of access to this information. We have no idea how many tenants in NYC have bed bugs, nor how many homeowners do.
However, despite these questions in my mind, there’s a lot to be hopeful about here. Education of property owners and the general public is crucial to eliminating specific infestations and to reducing the spread of bed bugs in the city. The Department of Health is a very appropriate agency to get involved in this issue. And we’d love to see the city tracking bed bug infestations via 311.
For that reason, I think we all need to get behind this bill. If you’re in New York City, please click over to New York vs. Bed Bugs for more information on what to do, and to join our campaign.
The full text of Intro. 873 follows:
Section 1. Chapter 1 of title 17 of the administrative code of the city of New York is amended by adding a new section 17-194 to read as follows:
§17-194 Bed bug techniques training program. a. The department shall establish a program to train exterminators in the proper techniques to eliminate bed bugs. Upon successful completion of this program, the exterminator shall be considered trained pursuant to this provision, in the proper techniques of bed bug extermination.
b. The department shall establish a program to train property owners in the proper techniques to eliminate bed bugs and to prevent the transfer and spread of any bed bug infestation. Upon successful completion of this program, such owner shall be considered trained pursuant to this provision in the proper techniques of bed bug extermination.
c. Any training programs developed pursuant to this section shall include, but not be limited to, identification of bed bugs and understanding their life cycle, inspection procedures to identify infested areas and furnishings, techniques to prepare infested sites for containment and extermination, encasement techniques, and proper techniques for the moving and disposal of infested furnishings and materials. Any training program should also provide instruction on which techniques and pesticides are inappropriate for bed bug elimination.
d. The department shall make available on its website general information on bed bug awareness, infestation and control.
e. The department shall ensure that a toll-free hotline number, such as the 311 citizen service center, shall be made available to the public for any person seeking to report an incidence of bed bug infestation or to request information on bed bugs.
f. A list of exterminators trained pursuant to this section shall be made available to the public on the department’s website, upon request by calling the 311 citizen service center, and upon request in person at department offices to be located in each of the five boroughs, as determined by the department.
§2. This local law shall take effect ninety days after its enactment, provided, however, that the department of health and mental hygiene shall take any necessary actions to implement this law, including the promulgation of rules, prior to such effective date.