Brooklyn school being decontaminated after exterminator allegedly soaks classrooms, desks, books with pesticides

by nobugsonme on October 27, 2010 · 7 comments

in bed bugs, bed bugs in schools, new york city

Yes, I said “exterminator.”

Teachers claim a contractor hired by the city to perform bed bug treatments at P.S. 197 in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn “soaked” classrooms, covering desks, books, and the floor with liquid pesticides.

That does not sound right.

Teachers and parents are concerned because they don’t even know which pesticides were used. reports that:

‘Exterminating fluid was found in the rooms, on the teachers’ desks, on the children’s desks, on their books, on the floor, and it had an odor to it,’ said Lucille Mauro, a teacher.

Eyewitness News’ cameras were not allowed inside the building, but a teacher provided a photo of one of five classrooms that were soaked with a liquid bed bug killing chemical.

‘Who ever exterminated it was negligently exterminating the room and all the materials that I have are now in the garbage,’ said Ellie Salman, a teacher.

The Department of Education hired a private contractor, listed on its website as Joe’s Extermination Company.

They paid just under $100,000 for the services.

The Teachers’ Union says decontamination and replacing lost materials is going to cost twice that much.

Is the city really hiring contractors who don’t know how to safely and effectively treat for bed bugs?

Can we get that Bed Bug Czar already?

1 Ci Lecto October 27, 2010 at 6:57 am

It’s unfortunate that we seem to have too few people (in pest control any in very field) who are diligent about doing things right. Whether it’s BB eradication, lead abatement or tiling a floor, the knowledge is “out there”, yet most craftspeople don’t seem to care to pick it up.

This reminds me of a story from the ’80s: The City of New York had a list of contractors who were considered “qualified” to remove asbestos for City. One by one, contractors were found to violate safety, labor or financial standards and they were removed from the list. Eventually, the list was empty, at which the City felt it had no choice, but to let “everyone” back into the game.

I’d bet that stories like this one are in the back of consumers’ minds (be they landlord or tenant) as they prepare to pay the big bucks and do the back breaking labor: “Do my partners know what they’re doing? Will they live up to their end of this deal?”

Ultimately, we need to develop solutions that can be applied safely and with reasonable effectiveness, by anyone. This may mean new chemicals, but perhaps new methods and tools for applying existing ones.

2 Ci Lecto October 27, 2010 at 7:00 am

…and notice a common thread running through the cases that get attention: Unions. This is one of the cases where the advantages of being organized become apparent.

3 CarpathianPeasant October 27, 2010 at 10:01 am

Well I, personally, yesterday, just passed on the word to two small government offices remotely interested that some pest control companies do use professional vacuuming equipment.

This is a small break through for a few people. The only indication I have so far found is none other than here:

4 CarpathianPeasant October 27, 2010 at 10:04 am

I don’t think unions are a factor in the reply above.

5 Winston O. Buggy October 27, 2010 at 12:40 pm

For the record the $100,000 was not for this job but rather the citywide contract for bed bug control on schools, so poor reporting there. Many reputable firms did not respond to
the bid as typically it was of a low bid nature. Of course none of this vindicates the offending sprayer if it was indeed as seems.

6 Bugbuster October 27, 2010 at 4:28 pm

The original job posting was offering $30,000. Can you imagine what that would have yielded? Someone call KQ on this, please!

7 nobugsonme October 28, 2010 at 1:57 am

HI Winston,

Thanks for clarifying that. The article said it was for a number of schools, but that’s not really the same as a citywide contract.

That sounds like a lot of work for any firm.

Would that $100K have covered a set number of jobs, or an unlimited number of jobs during a period of time?

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