NH Bed Bugs: grassroots community organizing against bed bugs

by nobugsonme on June 24, 2009 · 8 comments

in bed bug treatment, bed bugs

A new group, NH Bed Bugs, has formed in New Hampshire. And their website indicates that they mean business:

Mission : To help New Hampshire communities stay bedbug free.

We are a group of community organizers, college and university staff and students, not for profit leaders, local business owners, teachers, health workers, local officials, church members, volunteers, and more.

We come from many different backgrounds, but we all have one thing in common: the desire to help keep NH bedbug free!

And they’re not just talking about it, either.

NH Bed Bugs is currently working to get an affordable housing building with 20 units, Manchester, New Hampshire’s Langdon Mill Apartments, bed bug free.

The NH Bed Bugs website states,

There’s a bedbug infestation at Manchester’s Langdon Mill Apartments, located on West Brook Street. The 20-unit building houses a veritable United Nations, including people from Somalia, Sudan, Bosnia and native Granite Staters. The tenants, the landlord, and the building and health departments have all tried to correct this problem. However, they cannot solve it alone. Our community needs your help.

And wow again: tenants, the building and health departments, and local organizers are working together to fight bed bugs. Simple, but genius.

WMUR reports that

After years and thousands of dollars spent fighting bedbugs in vain, every tenant in the Langdon Mills apartment building will be move out for a few weeks to rid the building of bedbugs and educate residents about how to keep them out.

The tiny creatures thrive on human blood and have made a global resurgence, WMUR News 9’s Jean Mackin reported.

“The tenants have a tendency, if they see a mattress on the side of the road or sofas that are still in good shape, they bring them into the units. The infestation comes in with the furniture most of the time,” said Dick Anagnost, a landlord and developer.

In late July or early August, tenants will be relocated for two or three weeks. Infested furniture in the 20 units will be destroyed, clothing and linens cleaned and tenants will be educated on how to keep the bed bugs out for good.

The city and volunteer organizations came up with the plan after a young mother said she was afraid to expose her baby to the bedbugs.

“Because one individual was fearful of bringing a newborn into that situation, mobilized people to do something,” said Paul Crawford, of the Granite State Organizing Project.


So what about throwing out all that infested furniture? We know that furniture can often be treated and kept. However, the NH Bed Bugs website suggests that “severely infested” furniture is being disposed of:

In order to successfully rid Langdon Mill Apartments of bed bugs, we need to coordinate the chemical treatment with the disposal of severely infested furniture and household items, the laundering of all clothing, and the re-supply of new furniture and household items that are free of bed bugs and their eggs. Without a coordinated set of community actions, each individual action will be in vain. Please help.

Who is behind all this? The NH Bed Bugs press page lists contacts at The Granite State Organizing Project and the American Friends Service Committee. These are substantial organizations.

The The Granite State Organizing Project New Hampshire website tells us,

The Granite State Organizing Project includes religious, labor, and community organizations rooted in faith and democratic values. We unite to strenghten our voice in decisons that shape our communities by taking issue-oriented actions. By doing so we broaden and deepen our own organizations and leadership, build community, and promote a just society.

We agree wholeheartedly with the spirit behind this effort; as the NH Bed Bugs website says of the Langdon Mill Apartments project,

Without a coordinated set of community actions, each individual action will be in vain.

That is never more true than when you’re fighting bed bugs.

I look forward to hearing more about NH Bed Bugs and their fight at Langdon Mill Apartments.

And I wish them every success!

You can read more about NH Bed Bugs and the Langdon MIll Apartments project and donate time or goods here. You can see an article and the video from WMUR about the plans for Langdon Mill here.

1 Andrew Baird, B.C.E. June 24, 2009 at 10:34 am

Wow, they need to go speak to the nearest department of Entomology at a university. All that for bedbugs!?! It would be easier and cheaper just to put them up in a hotel for a few days, with new clothes and everything non-living left behind, and fumigate the building. Apartments are generally a little too frugal when it comes to pest control……………….

2 nobugsonme June 24, 2009 at 3:02 pm


Vikane gas (or similar) fumigation of the entire building, or thermal treatment, would be easier. My assumption is that the cost was prohibitive. This is an “affordable housing” building.

I assume also that they have gotten advice from an entomologist, but I hope to get more information from the NH Bed Bugs folks about that.

3 persona-non-bugga June 24, 2009 at 6:32 pm

This is phenomenal. I wish them great success and applaud their will and effort to make such a difference.

On their home page, they say they accept donations of gently used items. I wonder if they’ve considered how to manage the risk that comes with that. I hope yes.

4 Renee June 24, 2009 at 9:36 pm

That’s very interesting and encouraging. There is a New Hampshire Public Radio story from a year ago about bed bugs in a Manchester building — while the building address is not identified, the management company is the same, so it could possibly be the same building. They spent $15,000 then on what they describe as a process of emptying the contents of the apartments and fumigating them, but may well not have been fumigation; in any case, it failed.

The used goods solicitation is very worrying.

5 nobugsonme June 25, 2009 at 1:07 am


Agreed! This is not a risk to take lightly. I have reached out to them in hopes of interviewing someone involved with the project, and I would like to ask them about these concerns.


So sorry you fell into the spam filter with the pharmaceutical riff raff and other fluff!
You’re right– that looks like it may be the same building. Evacuating and dealing with furniture is one thing, but it is important the entire structure is definitely bed bug free at the end of this process.

There’s a lot which can go wrong. They need a lot of know-how and a lot of luck and I hope they have heaps of both.

6 nobugsonme September 14, 2009 at 12:26 am

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