Living With Bed Bugs

Bed Bug

Underside of Immature Bed Bug

Bed bugs in multiple unit apartment buildings create a pest control challenge. Treating an infestation at the level of a single unit is often unsuccessful because bed bugs re-infest from neighboring apartments. More successful control involves a coordinated effort to eliminate bed bugs from all the units within the building at the same time. This poses a coordination problem. An individual cannot solve the bed bug problem. The person responsible for the entire building must be involved. Conflicts over “Who pays” can delay action, allow the problem to worsen and become more expensive to treat. Dragging such conflicts into the courts is a recipe for delay. Thus, many municipalities are turning to regulation.

Concord, California treats bed bug infestations as a public nuisance and code violation. The police have enforcement powers. Once a bed bug complaint is filed, code enforcement sends a letter to the landlord who then has 10 days to respond to the letter and 30 days to hire an inspector and respond to the complaint. If response is not received within 10 days, a county inspector is sent. If the county finds bed bugs, the city begins levying fines against the landlord until the infestation is eradicated.

The program started as a pilot program that met mostly successful outcomes for both tenants and landlords. The program is being expanded and made permanent. One landlord has not successfully eradicated the bed bugs and he has recently been served with a warrant. That is some “tough love” enforcement. However, it may be necessary as resolving bed bug issues is neither easy nor cheap.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in by jjneal, Health, News, Pest Management, Policy. Bookmark the permalink.

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