Bed bugs in the news in Chicago; State of Illinois Department of Public Health takes action on bed bugs

by bedbugger on February 27, 2009 · 1 comment

in bed bugs, chicago, illinois

The State of Illinois is beginning to recognize the severity of its bed bug problem. It issued a press release Tuesday which noted that

“The Illinois Department of Public Health is seeing an increase in the number of calls from the public and from local health departments about bed bug infestations,” said Dr. Damon T. Arnold, state public health director. “To help reduce this problem, I encourage everyone to learn the signs of bed bug infestations, how the bugs spread, what you can do to prevent getting them and what to do if you find bed bugs.”

And the Illinois State Department of Public Health website now contains information on bed bug prevention and control.

As is often the case, I am not 100% thrilled with everything here (for example, only reddish-brown 1/4″ adults and not translucent 1/32“ nymphs are mentioned in the section on what bed bugs look like).

However, I am glad to see Illinois Public Health providing bed bug information on their website and specifically making this invitation to the public on it:

For more information, contact the Illinois Department of Public Health, Division of Environmental Health, 525 W. Jefferson St., Springfield, IL 62761, 217-782-5830, TTY (hearing-impaired use only) 800-547-0466.

I am glad Illinois recognizes the health significance of this pest. As anyone who has had bed bugs will tell you: though not yet known to transmit disease, bed bugs most certainly are a health problem.

And I am glad they want to hear from people who need more information about bed bugs. I hope some of you will take them up on that! And I hope Illinois will take further steps to combat bed bugs and educate people about them.

The Chicago Tribune ran two stories on bed bugs yesterday. ”Bed Bugs and Beyond Disgusting“ covered the spread of bed bugs in the City, and notes that bed bugs are prompting some changes in Chicago. Much more help is needed.

Two tidbits:

“Five years ago, it wasn’t an issue,” said Arturo DelAngel, who works the complaint hot line at the Metropolitan Tenants Organization. “Now it’s bedbugs all the time, every day.”


Prompted by an outcry from angry, itchy citizens, city officials next month will train 45 building inspectors to spot the critters. A coalition that includes the Metropolitan Tenants Organization, the Safer Pest Control Project and Ald. Joe Moore’s (49th) office is lobbying for a coordinated response that would educate school nurses, establish citywide tracking and launch an aggressive public-awareness campaign.

While training inspectors to recognize bed bugs is not nearly enough of an action plan, it is a start, and we applaud the City of Chicago taking steps to fight bed bugs.

The second, related story in the Trib advised readers on what to do if they have bed bugs. The answer?

What to if you have an infestation:

  • Call your landlord
  • Call 311, make sure you get a “reference number” so you can track the disposition
  • Call your alderman’s office
  • Talk to your neighbors
  • Hire a qualified exterminator

And among the ”additional resources“ suggested (The Metropolitan Tenants Organization also prominent), the article pointed readers to:

Chicago vs. Bedbugs, a community organizing group

We congratulate our friend Jessica Kevan, Founder of Chicago vs. Bed Bugs, on the good press!

1 CHERYL LIFSCHULTZ December 17, 2009 at 11:48 am

thank you all for doing these reports,when i was little here in chicago, people used to just go and burn the mattresses right out in the alleys , today it seems as far as public health –we are going backwards or something, also when people had tb or the like it was up to them to notify others and actually put out quarantine signs until area was safe —whats going on today???–there is no honor for our fellowman—yet–smokers are being hung everyday through media and separating smokers from non is great, but—leave it at that–its not contagious nor is it for everyone–$$$$$$ millions of $ being spent on forbading it-and making all kinds of $$ through it-you see what iam trying to say-where does the priority lye—(pestulance vs smoking)—stopping the spreading of diseases or picking on preferencial individual s choices,????

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