The Chattanoogan reports that the Bradley County Commission (local government in Bradley County, Tennessee) considered whether to track bed bug infestations in response to a local non-profit’s request.
During Monday’s Bradley County Commission meeting, Commissioner Lisa Stanbery said that a local non-profit organization contacted her to tell her about a growing problem with bed bugs. According to Commissioner Stanbery, The Caring Place has had three families come in who have been affected by bed bug infestations. Commissioner Stanbery said The Caring Place asked if a tracking system could be put in place so that citizens looking to move into a new rental property can rest assured that bed bugs have not been found in their potential apartment.
Tracking bed bug infestations is not a particularly new idea, though it has not been fully implemented by any governments yet (to my knowledge). Tracking infestations is part of the new plan for fighting bed bugs in New York City, and may be part of the city’s to-be-implemented Bed Bug Portal.
At least one Commissioner was dead set against the idea:
‘I think we ought to let everybody take care of their own mess,’ said Commissioner Howard Thompson. ‘All that is is nastiness.’
Commissioner Stanbery replied that waiting until it becomes a serious problem is much more costly, but Commissioner Thompson wasn’t sold. ‘I’ve been dealing with bed bugs all my life,’ he said. ‘All you have to do is clean your bedroom and clean your house.’
Howard Thompson must have had a hard life indeed if he has been “dealing with bed bugs” all his life, since by most other accounts, very few people in the USA (and indeed, most everywhere, it appears) had to deal with them at all between the time DDT became widely available in the decades after World War II, and when the pest started to bounce back in the late 1990s.
In fact, this comment suggests that Howard Thompson may be confusing bed bugs (a bloodsucking insect which can travel easily on belongings and clothing, and which can infest even the cleanest of homes) with dust mites (which can be controlled through cleaning).
Bed bugs are unlike dust mites in that someone else’s “mess” can quickly and easily become your own.
The article suggests the Bradley Commission will be revisiting the issue, hopefully armed with more information for any Commissioners who may be blissfully ignorant about bed bugs.