Bed bug disclosure bill awaits Governor’s signature; journalists still can’t ID bed bugs!

by nobugsonme on June 25, 2010 · 5 comments

in bed bug disclosure, bed bug laws, bed bug legislation, bed bugs, landlords and tenants, new york, not a bed bug

The Wall Street Journal’s Metropolis blog has a new story on the bed bug disclosure bill currently in front of Governor David Paterson.

The good news is that the New York State Senate and Assembly approved the bill yesterday.
According to Brick Underground, once the Governor signs the bill into law (which usually takes a few months), it will become effective immediately.

We wait, rather impatiently!

The bed bug disclosure bill is good news to renters in New York City, for reasons detailed here.

Meanwhile, the bad news is that journalists do not all know what bed bugs look like.  Take the photo included in the Metropolis piece today:

The would-be “bed bug” is actually this photo: “Bed Bug” by michael.aulia (used under a Creative Commons Attribution license).

Note to the media: flickr is a great source of Creative Commons images, but lots of people tag images as “bed bug” or “bedbug” which are not bed bugs.

For example, this, this, and this.

Although his photos are not Creative Commons licensed, we recommend journalists consult American Museum of Natural History entomologist Lou Sorkin (louento.pix on flickr) and request permission to use his photos of bed bugs.

I note that Metropolis did a better job at illustrating an earlier story on the topic last month, which was also by R. M. Schneiderman.

This may seem like a harmless mistake to some, but you have to remember that the biggest battle in the war against bed bugs is that of awareness: everyone needs to know what bed bugs look like (unfed nymphs, fed nymphs, and adults), and how to identify them.  (More help with that on our bed bug photos page.)

If people are shown images of “bed bugs” in the press which are incorrect, how will they know one when it is staring at them in their own home?

1 spideyjg June 25, 2010 at 9:45 pm

For those playing at home that is an adult varied carpet beetle. Somebody call this reporter a bonehead for me. 😉


2 KillerQueen June 25, 2010 at 11:15 pm


3 nobugsonme June 26, 2010 at 12:15 am

Thanks, Jim!

(Oh, and I think you just did! For what it’s worth, it may be the website staff who engineered this on their own. I don’t really know how things are done in the “big leagues.”)

4 nobugsonme June 28, 2010 at 2:51 am

The WSJ Metropolis article has now been updated with this:

Correction: An earlier version of this story included a photo that was misidentified as a bedbug.

And the photo has been replaced with this classic photo of a first instar nymph feeding by Lou Sorkin.

Comments on this entry are closed.

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: