There’s a new organization fighting bed bugs in Center County, Pennsylvania — the Center Region Bed Bug Coalition.
This coalition appears to have sprung out of a need perceived by local housing providers for more education about the problem (for landlords and tenants).
The coalition is a joint effort by State College, Centre Region property owners and managers, commercial pest management operators, Penn State Entomology Extension and Penn State Housing to provide education about treatment and prevention of bed bug infestations.
The CRBBC held its first educational event yesterday, April 21, 2010 — a workshop called “Landlords vs. Bed Bugs.” According to this description,
Local apartment managers, fraternity house operators and housing officials will learn and discuss potential litigation issues, cost implications and warning signs caused by the tiny insects. They will also talk about what to do when faced with an infestation.
Penn State professor of Entomology Ed Rajotte, assistant director of Penn State Housing David Manos and pest control operator Keith Hamilton will give talks on numerous bed bug issues. Topics include the effects of bed bugs on a financial, legal and entomological level.
A panel of local rental managers will also discuss experiences handling infestations and share stories of litigation in civil suits regarding bed bugs. The event will be an opportunity for local housing operators to team up to keep bed bugs from spreading throughout the area.
I know it’s too late for anyone in the State College region to attend; however, I know you’ll be interested to know about this new coalition.
At the event, which was attended by “dozens,” according to this WJAC news report (and accompanying video), Penn State Entomologist Dr. Ed Rajotte stressed the economic implications of a bed bug infestation:
At the Centre Region Bed Bug Coalition’s first public seminar Wednesday morning, Dr. Ed Rajotte said bed bug infestations can become costly if not addressed immediately.
“Not only is it a health problem, lots of times there’s litigation around bedbug infestations,” said Rajotte. “If there’s good protocols for managing bedbugs in place, then they have a very good defense to go forward with.”
Professor Rajotte is correct — bed bugs are a health problem. And they are costly; a good bed bug management plan could save those who pay for treatments (or potential lawsuits) lots of money.
I am not sure about the reporter’s statement in that video that in “the next hotel room you stay in, there is a one in three chance there are bed bugs inside.”
I am also not sure about the implication in this news report that bed bugs first appeared in Penn State dorms and then spread all over State College.
They may have been identified first in the college, or may have been taken seriously first in the college, but I’d be interested in the basis for the claim that they actually infested the college dorms first.
This could all be of the journalist’s invention, or there may be more information we are not aware of, in which case, we’d love to hear more.
More on the new coalition and the local bed bug problems from a March, 2010 article in the Center Daily Times.