The York Dispatch reports that an apartment building in York, Pennsylvania was shut down by the fire department after someone called them to complain about a bed bug infestation.
A notice on the door of 137 S. Beaver St. said the building ‘constitutes a serious hazard to the health and safety of the occupants because of the infestation of bed bugs.’
The fire department shut down the three-story building on Friday, said Capt. Gil Kimes. He said residents might be able to return on Tuesday or Wednesday once the bed bug problem is resolved.
I appreciate the sentiment behind this — the wish to spare residents the experience of living with bed bugs is admirable.
Unfortunately, it shows a lack of knowledge of bed bugs and their treatment. Unless the entire building is to be treated with heat or Vikane (sulfuryl fluoride) gas fumigation — the only two one-shot treatments for bed bugs that we know of — the building’s bed bug problem will not be “resolved” by Tuesday or Wednesday.
With traditional treatment (pesticide sprays, dusts), the situation may be under more control than at present. Residents may get a good night’s sleep for a few nights. However, if traditional treatment is used, the resident needs to sleep in their beds in order to draw bed bugs out to cross the pesticide and die. If residents evacuate their homes long-term, treatment is not going to work.
I am also very concerned about whether residents were educated about how to avoid taking bed bugs with them to their alternate accommodations. They may currently be bringing bed bugs to relatives’ and friends’ homes, shelters, or local hotels.
I also wonder if York has any agency responsible for inspecting housing (or rental housing in particular) for safety and habitability.