Bed bugs for six years in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn

by nobugsonme on August 30, 2011 · 12 comments

in bed bugs, brooklyn, new york city

This story in the Daily News today cites three different tenants who claim their building on 90th Street in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn has had bed bugs for as long as six years.

All claim to have lost significant property and money fighting the problem, and that their landlord has sent in pest control operators to treat but has not responded sufficiently to eliminate the problem.

You have to wonder — as tenant Theresa Odum does — if he is simply trying to get rent stabilized tenants to move out, so new tenants can be charged a higher rent.

Have these tenants called 311? Someone must have — the city has recorded 43 open violations for the property, including a bed bug complaint as recently as 8/16, according to the Daily News.

It remains to be seen if the city will be able to help these tenants get the problem completely resolved.

Bed bugs are treatable. There is absolutely no reason for people to live with them for years.

1 Pete August 30, 2011 at 3:57 pm

This is such a horrific story. What’s even more horrific is the fact that it doesn’t seem as if Odum realises it would have been cheaper to cover her furniture and mattress with bed bug proof covers from “Protect A Bed”. And she keeps buying new furniture which tells me she’s probably not as informed or educated on her situation as much as she should be. I thought landlords were supposed to provide educational materials for their tenants. years is a long time and I could only imagine the state of the aprtments in this place. We may not have a magic bullet for bed bugs but we sure do have proactive education that goes a long way in successfully eliminating BBs. I am so worried about those, and anybody, in such a situation. I hope they can get some real help fast because at this point, the mental trauma is sure to last and affect these peoples lives for many years to come.

2 nobugsonme August 30, 2011 at 6:54 pm

I agree, Pete. It is an awful situation and I hope they get some help.

If the city knows about this (through their violations records), and doesn’t deal with this one, then I won’t hold out a lot of hope for NYC tenants in general.

3 blargg August 31, 2011 at 7:55 am

Bedbug-eradicated apartments are few and far in between, it seems…. I’m never living in an apartment unless a silver bullet is discovered…

4 nobugsonme August 31, 2011 at 10:40 am


I think buildings successfully beat this all the time. It takes a bit of coordination. In this case, it sounds like units are being treated one by one. I wonder if there are other units where no one has come forward. That kind of thing must be managed with inspections.

For what it’s worth, I have heard many such stories of successfully treated buildings — but not via the news, or the Bedbugger forums. Tenants whose landlords manage this problem properly are usually too busy getting on with life to stop in and post us about it.

5 so unsettling August 31, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Actually, I think this outcome is a lot more typical than we realize. I know of many such situations in buildings in my own town. They landlords DO respond and try, but it is difficult for them to control all the variables, especially in places where tenants commonly move in and out. High tenant turnover makes control much more difficult. Without better products to deliver a knock-out blow, the problem just keeps recurring. I don’t think we should be too quick to blame landlords for not playing all the cards right, which is another way of describing coordination. Sometimes there is just too much going on.

6 Pete August 31, 2011 at 3:41 pm

nobugsonme and unsettling,

I agree with both fully. It is a very complicated situation that requires tenants and landlords to come together and, in a lot of cases, they also need the state to assist. The costs are very high as we all know and in the case of a landlord full of tenants on rent control….I assume the landlord’s wallet is not as thick as they would like it to be and that obviously compounds the issue here. One thing that could help is if Insurance Comapnies would band together to create a fully effective and educational bed bug coverage product for consumers. This is a worldwide problem that surely could use the help of renters, home and business owners, local state and government assistance, and the power of Big Corporations. I know the Big Corps., state and government would look at political and fiscal factors as motivation to do something extra on this epidemic as it is the nature of the beast here, so, I’m sure, if carefully devised, they could make money and help save the world from this plague, but that’s just an entirely different can of worms. This is the one time I could honestly say that if I hit the lottery, I would surely donate a huge portion of my winnings ,after taxes of course, to bed bug research.

7 NoanestheticNYC September 1, 2011 at 1:53 am

We moved out of a multiple family dwelling this year and cannot imagine going back any time soon. Landlord’s efforts consisted of 3 20-45 minute baseboard jockey runs and (claimed) visual inspections of surrounding units. I could trap individuals but not locate the infestation in my apartment (we were renting and could not rip out walls, baseboards, cabinets, electrical fixtures, etc). With a single family house we have eliminated ingress except through deliveries and personal exposure of family members and guests. We are currently in detente through a powerful knock-down (which will remain nameless), and with our other protocols we may prevail without having to fumigate. A single fumigation will eat a big chunk of retirement money–our only source of cash. Having a fully isolated living structure and a reliable way (really, ways) for bugs to die when they reach my home is the foundation of mental sanity, together currently impossible in multiple family dwellings. My heart goes out to people who have no other option; the emotional distress and the disparate economic burden make this a humanitarian and thus a justice issue. Pete, if you win that lottery, you’ll be the Gates Foundation for the bedbug fight.

8 Pete September 1, 2011 at 10:55 am


I just heard on the radio today that NYC public schools have gone up from 1,000 reports of bedbugs last year to already 3,600 this year. One school PS 70 in Astoria found the BBs in a closet and parents were NOT notified. It looks like this problem will consume America before the politicians will even care.

9 blargg September 1, 2011 at 2:16 pm

I was really suspicious about this story. They said the bedbugs were in a closet, with evidence of breeding. Why would they be in a closet? Darkness, maybe, but food would be so far away!
Plus, an employee said the problem originated within the school, not from someone coming in with them. Well, either they’re wrong, or those bugs aren’t bedbugs.

10 hello September 9, 2011 at 7:01 am

Hi, I was search about bedbug, and I found this site.
(I can’t speak english well..)
Bedbugs bite me while I travel europe.
I return home in last july. I threw out my clothes and bags upon returning home.
and I freezed my a leather wallet for a weak. (in freezer, -21’C)
Is bedbugs and eggs dead?(in freezed wallet) Do you know?
Sorry my question is not relevant to the article.
Thankyou for reading
this is very helpful site!

11 fancy home with bed bugs September 15, 2011 at 11:04 pm

yes, putting anything in the freezer will kill them… webmd mentions putting furniture outside for any 3 days it will be below 32 degrees farenheight… but as we all know on this site, furniture that could sit outside for 3 days is not furniture that is causing us all this trouble

12 bugged October 9, 2011 at 6:22 pm

Responding to having bedbugs for ‘years’ in a building, and responding also to bedbugs in the closet – ‘how can this be a bedbug’? First, I myself live in a single family house. My son brought bedbugs home from a Europe trip and infested the house. This was 3 years ago, and I am still fighting them! They disappeared for almost a year, then I think what happened is we brought something out of storage, and reinfested the house! So ADVICE: Be very careful bringing anything thing out of containers, plastic bag storage, or your garage. They can live a long time, more than a year without food. And YES, they travel all over the house — every room including closets, bathrooms, kitchens, living areas, and of course the bedrooms. They are programmed to take over- like an invading army! MY SOLUTION on my most recent invasion: My wonderful STEAMER. I steamed the whole house, starting at the ceiling going down to the baseboards. Steamed all the beds, bed frames, and upholstered chairs and couches. I bought my steamer at Lowe’s for less than $100. It is absolutely the best tool for killing and cleaning. The clothes dryer for cleaning and heating your bedding, towels and clothing is the next best tool in your arsenal. Pesticides come last as a finishing layer of protection. I used this on the underside of wooden furniture. Just remember — if your stuff, be it furniture, papers, electronics, etc. is in storage, be very wary about introducing it to your bug-free home. Find a way to treat it before taking it out of storage.

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