bed bug registries

by nobugsonme on November 18, 2006 · 3 comments

in bed bugs, information and help

The most comprehensive list (albeit in a simple format) of bedbug infestations that I have seen is on Caitlin’s blog.

A number of people have started their own registries which, a step above a text list, are interactive: you type in the address, it gets mapped.

Some of these, like the BedBugRegistry, which covers addresses in North America, will allow you to look at the resulting reports (there is a space for maps, but it does not seem to be active yet). This NYC one, Bedbug Project, allows you to click arrows on a map and see the addresses reported. But it isn’t being publicized yet, from what I can see, so I don’t think they have a lot of addresses yet.

The third site, Bedbug City, had some limitations. I wanted to like it, but when you input your address, it only creates a marker on the map. When you click those markers, you expect to see the addresses, but they’re hidden. I assume this was done to protect the site author from lawsuits. I am not a lawyer, however, I think a disclaimer (stating that the data was input by site visitors and that the owner of the site was not responsible for their accuracy, which cannot be verified) should do the same. (Perhaps a lawyer could correct me.)

Honestly, if I go to a bed bug map, I want to be able to see where in my neighborhood the infestations are, and I mean exactly where. The visual effect of “wow, lots of bugs in Midtown” doesn’t do it for me. Also, from a data collection perspective, if you’re asking people to rate their infestations, you need to clarify what that means (rating on a scale of 1-10 is pretty subjective; who knows how bad an infestation is? What are we comparing ours to?) I do like the concept of rating severity. In my experience, asking visitors how many bugs they see within a one week or one month period is a good indicator. I’d check first with an entmologist to see what they thought.

It strikes me that we need one comprehensive database. I think each of these sites has potential, but it would be great if there was one people could really get behind. Because we need one place, not many.

We need the people who put it out to be really clear about their goals and purposes, and to have transparency (if I enter my address, I should be able to see other addresses). Some of the sites above make their goals clear, others don’t.

I do think this can be done by individuals, especially if the government agencies are slow to come up with a database of their own.

1 parakeets November 22, 2006 at 2:23 pm has a lot of entries naming hotels with bedbugs and most of those hotel names are not on these registries yet. At the bedbug convention, a speaker said that they researched what kind of occupants had stayed in hotels rooms that had bedbugs. It turned out infected rooms had a high rate of airline pilots and crew staying in them. So obviously travel relates to bedbugs, not economic status.

I’m scared to list my address on any bedbug registry since I rent in a small building. My management company/landlord are totally mum about bedbugs. I don’t want to be evicted until I am bedbug-free, because at this point I believe bedbugs will come with me wherever I move. It’s one thing to be infested here, but I can’t bring them somewhere else.

2 nobugsonme November 23, 2006 at 12:28 am

HI Parakeets,
I understand. This is a real problem.
We need to get to a place where the concern is on the spread of the bed bugs, and not on blaming people for spreading the bed bugs. We’re not there yet, sadly.
I do hope everyone who can will use the registry.

3 Dirtworks November 26, 2006 at 11:01 am

Surely I can understand your embarassment and caution — yet you have rights.

There are tennants rights organizations – in Cambridge there is something called “The Eviction Free Zone” (EFZ) which advocates for tennants. Of course, this is Cambridge MA (the so called People’s Republic of Cambridge!) but tennants have rights.

Personally, I think a big name funder is necessary. Possibly several.

I’d suggest someone go after Craig Newmark (founder of Craig’s List).

Other people I would target are NPR people to get the word out (again and again and again!) Try Bruce Gellerman from Living On Earth.

Anyone called Ralph Nader?

With AIDS there was the gay community which was already organized around gay rights and likely became much more organized as a result of AIDS – but remember how long it took them.

I’m sort of casting about here – but an affinity group (larger than what is here on YGroups and the Blogs) must be formed or found to leverage the Anti – BedBug message. How will this happen when people become so exhausted (and may be not taken seriously because they sound crazed – because these bugs, combined with institutional inertia, truly make people crazy!)

And because the BB epidemic tends to affect “marginalized” people (for the most part that is what it sounds like to me, with the exception of a famous SNL performer) on the whole, marginalized people don’t get organized except around sheer numbers – and when this happens, it will just be too late.

Kudos to everyone who reads, writes, talks about this horrible thing.

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