On August 22nd, an entire 18-story apartment building in Dayton, the Biltmore at 210 N. Main St., is being treated for bed bugs with Vikane (sulfuryl fluoride) gas fumigation. Residents will be evacuated for a week (to friends’ homes, or to a local hotel).
The Dayton Daily News reports that this process is only being undertaken after two years of unsuccessful spraying of individual units:
Because the infestation has resisted floor-by-floor fumigation for two years, [Denver-based building owners] Aimco said, the building-wide attack with the deadly gas is now the only option.
Aimco spokeswoman Cindy Duffy said residents should be ready to return Aug. 30. She had no cost estimates for the project, but said the money for the fumigation and relocation would come from Aimco’s operational budget.
Interestingly, last October, AIMCO evacuated a Philadelphia building for thermal treatment. We have not heard any follow-up on that case; it would be interesting to know why Vikane was chosen in the Dayton case.
It’s important to note that when an entire building is treated, residents, management and staff will likely need to be educated about how to avoid bringing in bed bugs again — because if they can be brought in to the building once, they can be brought in again, and again.
Management should also have some continued inspection policy. Some PCOs might want to use additional treatments such as a mechanical dust to nip future infestations in the bud, and methods like caulking to help prevent future infestations from spreading.
However, nothing is more important than making sure residents and staff know how bed bugs spread, how to avoid and spot them, and that they will suffer no repercussions for reporting them swiftly in future.
Future reports of bed bug bites or sightings must be met with swift attention — and not just attention to the unit where the complaint was made.
The Dayton Daily News also notes that
The Biltmore, which receives Department of Housing and Urban Development Section 8 subsidies, isn’t the only apartment building in the area with bedbug problems.
(Incidentally, you may recall that a few weeks ago, HUD told a landlord in Florida that tenants did not have to pay to treat their bed bugs, as the building owner was insisting.)
The Dayton Daily News also illuminated the details of the spread of bed bugs in Dayton:
Tom Hut, a supervisor with Public Health — Dayton & Montgomery County, said he’s receiving a dozen queries a day, mostly from apartment dwellers, about bedbug infestations. That’s a jump from a dozen queries per week in 2008, he said.
This is troubling: if we assume Hut is only getting calls about bed bugs Monday-Friday, that’s still five times as many bed bug queries per week now as in the prior year.
Dayton needs to take bed bugs very seriously.
See the full story in the Dayton Daily News: Bedbug war to empty downtown apartments.
Note: as bbbites and cilecto pointed out in a thread on this story in our Bedbugger Forums, be aware that there’s some odd advice in the Tips for Avoiding Bed Bugs inset, for example, “Regularly launder bedding in very hot water, especially when coming back from a trip.” Unless you travel with your own bedsheets (which we do not recommend), this does not make much sense. For more detailed travel advice, see our Travel FAQs.