Bed bugs lead to evacuation of York, Pennsylvania apartment building

by nobugsonme on August 10, 2010 · 4 comments

in bed bug treatment, bed bugs, pennsylvania

The York Dispatch reports that an apartment building in York, Pennsylvania was shut down by the fire department after someone called them to complain about a bed bug infestation.

A notice on the door of 137 S. Beaver St. said the building ‘constitutes a serious hazard to the health and safety of the occupants because of the infestation of bed bugs.’

The fire department shut down the three-story building on Friday, said Capt. Gil Kimes. He said residents might be able to return on Tuesday or Wednesday once the bed bug problem is resolved.

I appreciate the sentiment behind this — the wish to spare residents the experience of living with bed bugs is admirable.

Unfortunately, it shows a lack of knowledge of bed bugs and their treatment. Unless the entire building is to be treated with heat or Vikane (sulfuryl fluoride) gas fumigation — the only two one-shot treatments for bed bugs that we know of — the building’s bed bug problem will not be “resolved” by Tuesday or Wednesday.

With traditional treatment (pesticide sprays, dusts), the situation may be under more control than at present. Residents may get a good night’s sleep for a few nights. However, if traditional treatment is used, the resident needs to sleep in their beds in order to draw bed bugs out to cross the pesticide and die. If residents evacuate their homes long-term, treatment is not going to work.

I am also very concerned about whether residents were educated about how to avoid taking bed bugs with them to their alternate accommodations. They may currently be bringing bed bugs to relatives’ and friends’ homes, shelters, or local hotels.

I also wonder if York has any agency responsible for inspecting housing (or rental housing in particular) for safety and habitability.

1 Amy August 10, 2010 at 1:24 pm

I was in York Pennsylvania once driving down to DC. The front page of the newspaper had some article about the KKK. So I don’t expect much from York. Not surprising they evacuated. However, I do wonder if there is going to be more of this kind of thing going on and if hostels should be built for those who must evacuate, and the premises vikaned/thermal treated. This is really, actually, what the government should be doing. So maybe, if York is actually going to administer one of these treatments, they have more brains than the rest of the country and their KKK is just an unfortunate holdout of old white dudes. Or maybe these old white dudes are spraying the building, who knows.

God, save the Queen.

2 CeeCee August 15, 2010 at 12:04 pm

I am curious to know your opinion of storage boxsprings? Does having one pose am extra risk for harboring bed bugs? (Here is an example of one from Ikea so you can see what I’m talking about…just scroll to the pictures): )

As you can see, it wouldn’t be possible to encase the storage box spring. And I would like to store linens and bedding in it. Very curious what your thoughts are… (I live in a building that has had a bedbug outbreak in the past, so I’m trying to take preventative measures..).

Many thanks!

3 nobugsonme August 15, 2010 at 4:00 pm

Hi CeeCee,

Any bed which is also used to store things is problematic from a bed bug point-of-view.

The problem comes if bed bugs are introduced — mattresses, box spring, bed frames, headboards all offer places for bed bugs to harbor. A storage space under the bed (whether attached to the bed as in this case, or under it) offers more harborages.

Everyone should be routinely inspecting their beds for signs of bed bugs. When it comes to inspections, the simpler bed you have, the better. This particular unit offers spaces a bed bug could harbor in that you can’t actually look inside. (They love to hide in crevices.)

And while a storage bed won’t cause you to get bed bugs, if you do ever get them (and I hope you don’t), you will have much more difficulty treating such a bed. You might even have to get rid of it at that point. That, in my mind, is a good reason to go with something simpler.

If you want to discuss this or other questions further, please come to the Bedbugger Forums:

4 CeeCee August 15, 2010 at 9:21 pm

Thank you so much, that is a big help! 🙂

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