You’ve Googled information about New York City and what comes up? Lots of stories about little creatures called Bed Bugs taking over the place. Suddenly your relocation to the Big Apple sounds, well, scary. After all, who wants to move someplace with a rampant infestation? Before you creep yourself out let’s explore what is really going on in New York City.
#1 — Yes, there are bed bugs AND landlords offer renters information and services to protect their residents from them. In the Fall of 2010 New York City passed a law that requires landlords to disclose if bed bugs have been found anywhere in the building, in the prior year, and what the landlord did to fix the problem. This disclosure is given to you before you sign the lease, so you remain well informed.
#2 — It is very common in New York City for landlords to foot the bill for extermination services should you run into bed bugs. It’s a very easy conversation to have because should you suspect anything is wrong with your apartment, it is in the landlord’s best interest to act quickly to remove the pests. Some landlords will even offer to cover your relocation to another residence while the exterminators come in. And if your landlord is less than helpful, the disclosure law allows you to file a complaint against the landlord.
#3 — Bed bugs are not an “infestation” and New York City is not being overrun. These critters are simply pests to humans, much like mice or roaches are. Don’t let the media fool you, this is not the apocalypse. About the size of a lentil, these bugs leave tiny bites, similar to mosquitoes, usually while you are sleeping (thus the name). However, unlike mosquitoes they do not carry disease!
#4 — Basically bed bugs live, well, anyplace that humans are. This includes cities across the globe to five star hotels to offices and retail stores. It is not only New York City that has them. Period.
#5 — So why did they come up in your Google search about New York City? For decades bed bug populations were on the decline to the point where folks pretty much forgot about them. Then the chemicals exterminators used were outlawed just as the world got more connected and became a global village. These little pests have simply tried to reclaim their territory and the media, especially New York City newspapers, love a comeback story!
Rest assured that pest control is a key part of every landlord’s effort to maintain their building and that includes keeping bed bugs at bay. Today’s control methods span a wide variety from dogs that sniff them out to steaming, with extremely high heat, every wall, outlet, floor, closet, in the apartment. (This kills any live bugs and their eggs.) Pest control professionals also have a new generation of safer chemicals that have arrived on the market in recent years.
Tip – Though it’s impossible to shield yourself completely from the possibility of bed bugs getting into your home, you can take a very simple step to ensure your bed is well protected. Purchase bed bug (mattress) covers for your mattresses and pillows. You can find them in most home stores throughout the city, and this will ensure bed bugs can’t use them as a launching point in your home.