Cincinnati’s health department got almost 11 times as many requests for help with bed bugs in 2008 compared with 2007 (the number jumped from 70 to 750). And the Cincinnati Enquirer reports today that they’ve now ceased inspecting for bed bugs.
We knew this was coming when the 2009 budget did not include the $291K needed for this purpose. The City is trying to find this money from other sources.
Health officials said the best way to combat the city’s bed bug problem was to raise awareness, and now the whole world knows about the area’s resurgent pests.
But awareness is only one factor in the fight against bed bugs.
MSNBC also notes that while 15% of Cincinnati residents has had bed bugs, only 31% are using licensed pest control specialists to get rid of them. It is important to understand that licensed PCOs are not necessarily experienced or knowledgeable about bed bugs. You’d be surprised by how many licensed PCOs still don’t “get” bed bugs. And don’t forget that even knowledgeable PCOs may be stymied in their bed bug treatment by the inability to treat neighboring units in buildings. (This may come down to money, tenants’ or landlords’ refusals to have inspections or treatment of adjacent units.)
Inadequate or incomplete bed bug treatment (which likely includes most self-treatment, and probably a lot of professional treatment as well) is likely a key factor in why more than 10 times as many people called the Cincinnati health department in 2008 compared with 2007.
It’s really hard to get rid of bed bugs even if you know what you’re doing.
Public education and the willingness to receive such reports likely accounts for some of it too: how many more people suffered from bed bugs, vs. how many more called the city about the problem (where they might have kept it to themselves).
But come on, Cincinnati!
Don’t you realize citizens and city alike will have much worse financial problems if in 2009, you see a rise in bed bug cases?
And come on, news media!
Let’s put two and two together. It isn’t enough to be the city that understands the depth of its bed bug problem. They also have to come through with more than awareness: cold hard cash, legislation, action.