New York Mayor Bloomberg signs Bed Bug Advisory Board legislation

by nobugsonme on March 19, 2009 · 6 comments

in bed bug laws, bed bug legislation, bed bugs, new york, new york city, new york city council

Excellent news!

This is the New York City Council’s press release containing Mayor Bloomberg’s remarks on Int. 57a, which he signed yesterday:


Remarks by Mayor Bloomberg at a Public Hearing on Local Laws

“The third bill before me is Introductory Number 57-A, sponsored by Speaker Quinn and Council Members Brewer, Foster, Gentile, Gerson, Gonzalez, James, Mark-Viverito, Martinez, Mendez, Nelson, Palma, Sanders, Weprin, White, Koppell, Liu, Recchia, Sears, Vallone, Garodnick, Jackson, Avella, Arroyo, Dickens, Mealy, Lappin, Stewart, Rivera, and Gennaro. Introductory Number 57-A establishes a Bed Bug Advisory Board.

“Bed bugs are small insects that often hide in cracks in furniture, floors, or walls and are usually active at night. The physical impact to those living with bed bugs may start with painless bites which can later turn in to large, itchy welts. These bites are a great nuisance and can have a negative impact on the quality of life of New Yorkers.

“Bed bugs have resurfaced in New York City in recent years and we are not alone. Urban centers throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe are experiencing a resurgence in bed bugs. In response, we have instituted a multi-pronged approach to address the issue which includes: prevention through public education, creation of guidelines and protocols for residents, health care providers, businesses, and pest management professionals, and a systematic response to bed bug complaints.

“Despite all of our efforts, there is currently inadequate data to understand the full extent of the bed bug problem in the City. The creation of the Bed Bug Advisory Board, comprised of experts in the pest management, entomology, and public health fields and representatives from the Departments of Health and Mental Hygiene, Consumer Affairs, Sanitation, Information Technology and Telecommunications, and Housing Preservation and Development will examine the bed bug problem in further detail, systematically evaluate, study, identify and develop appropriate strategies to control and eradicate the bed bug problem in the City. The Advisory Board will report back their findings to the Mayor and the Speaker within nine months of their appointment.

“I would like to thank the commissioners and staff of the Departments of Health & Mental Hygiene, Consumer Affairs, Sanitation, Information, Technology & Telecommunications and Housing Preservation & Development for their work in this bill. I would also like to thank the Council for approving this legislation.”

Update (3/19):

Responses from the New York Times City Room blog‘s Jennifer 8 Lee and Roy Edroso on the Village Voice’s Running Scared blog.

Update (3/20):

You can download and view a video of the signing here. It’s a long video, but the three or so minute bit which is relevant to Intro. 57a comes in at about 8:42 (so you can let it run and leave the room for a few minutes!)

It’s worth watching the video, because there is a lot there that is not contained in the text announcement on A lot. For example:

Mayor Bloomberg tells people not to buy used mattresses (!), and also asks Gale Brewer why bed bugs came back (she answers “no more DDT;” Bloomberg quips, “Thanks, Rachel Carson!”) In fact, as we know, we can’t blame Rachel Carson for the resurgence of bed bugs: it is a complex issue and bringing back DDT would not necessarily be a help to bed bug sufferers, since bed bugs began to show resistance to DDT in the 1940s. (See this post for more.)

Council Member Gale Brewer thanks city agency officials from HPD (for the HPD bed bug seminars — she says “close to 1000 people” every single HPD bed bug seminar), DoIT (for making it possible to track 311 bed bug-related calls — this year she says there have been 22,000 bed bug information requests and 9,000+ requests for a bed bug inspection from HPD) and DCA.

Outside of city agencies, Brewer thanks wonderful bed bug advocate Renee Corea (of New York vs. Bed Bugs), entomologist Dr. Lou Sorkin, Pest Control Operator Jeff Eisenberg of Pest Away, Gary Carter and Ray Lopez from Little Sisters of the Assumption, Cornell (Cornell entomologist Dr. Jody Gangloff-Kaufmann testified at the hearing), and the Dept. of Health.

Mayor Bloomberg also points out that bed bugs are a problem everywhere and he has had friends who have had them. That is an important statement for the mayor to make.

1 Winston O. Buggy March 20, 2009 at 10:07 am

I have just now received a communique from the BBLF, Bed Bug Liberation Front, and they are not going to take this lying around. Through their spokesbug Sy Mex they have expressed concern over this legislation but are relying on city bureaucracy and budget cuts to buy them time to build better and wider resistance. “We were here living in caves as humans evolved and we will be here when they return” Sy said. In the meantime they are planing to lobby in Albany and Washington for stricter fear based pest management restrictions and over regulation.

2 nobugsonme March 20, 2009 at 2:58 pm

Just added link to and notes on the video of the signing, which is actually really worth watching if you could not be there.

3 crawledon March 21, 2009 at 1:37 pm

Hi Nobugs,

I seem to not be able to open to the bill signing link…what opens up is a bunch of text.

4 nobugsonme March 21, 2009 at 8:49 pm

Hi crawledon!

Sorry you had trouble.

I am sure there are many media players for WIN, Mac, and Linux, which will play this clip, which is in .asx format. For many people, this probably happens automatically, as it did for me.

I use a Mac and have a free, open source media player called VLC. You can download it here for Mac (or WIN) if you’re having trouble playing the file.

5 Alex April 7, 2009 at 12:27 am

I recall reading / hearing from a professional that lanlords or building management are required to provide such services of bedbug extermination. Is this true and if so, who can I reach out to to file a complaint incase my landlord fails to provide the required services ?

6 nobugsonme April 7, 2009 at 1:06 am

Hi Alex,

If you are in NYC, you can call 311. Unfortunately, we hear they have so many bed bug complaints that right now, they are not keeping up with all requests for inspections. Still, it is a resource. You call 311, file a bed bug complaint, and (hopefully) HPD sends out an inspector. If you get an inspector, we hear some of them need to see really obvious signs or even bed bugs (as opposed to only obvious signs).

Good luck and let us know how it goes. Hopefully the landlord will respond appropriately without your needing to call 311.

Come to the forums if you need support!

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