Bed Bug Complaints Hint at a Hellacious Summer Infestation

We're into a map that DNAinfo has up today, showing which parts of Manhattan have had the largest numbers of bed bug complaints over the first three months of this year. 

According to the news site, Manhattan residents made 455 complaints to 311 about bed bugs for the first three months of 2011. Since bed bug infestations tend to spike in the summer, this high number of winter complaints means that exterminators and residents are expecting another bed-bug ridden Summer From Hell.

Runnin' Scared went back and looked at the numbers for the city as a whole. We found that 2,141 complaints to 311 have been made citywide this year. 689 violations have been issued to landlords.

Between 2003 and 2009, there was a 2,000 percent increase in bed bug complaints in Manhattan, DNAInfo reports (Between 2009 and 2010, there was only a small 4 percent increase in complaints, which suggests that complaints appear to be leveling off).

The map shows stark differences in the number of 311 calls across different sections of the borough. The three community districts in Upper Manhattan above Central Park have already logged 237 complaints this year, while the two downtown community districts encompassing Wall Street, Tribeca, Soho, and Greenwich Village had only six complaints in total.

But that doesn't mean that rich people don't get bed bug infestations (Bed bugs don't discriminate between rich and poor). What it means is that people with money don't tell to call 311 when they spot a bed bug on their living room floor. They call their landlords -- who are obligated to take care of it -- or they call private exterminators.

So what happens if you get bed bugs and you happen to have the misfortune of living in a building that is owned by a slumlord?

Many residents of Washington Heights and Harlem can't depend on their landlords. This poor section of Manhattan has the most neglected buildings in the borough, and it is where the some of the city's most notorious slumlords own property (Check out our story on 'Worst Landlord' Danny Hakakian). If the landlord doesn't take care of it, they are stuck calling 311 and then waiting until city inspectors come to their apartments and issue a the landlord Class B violation for vermin and pests. In the past (like just last summer), those tenants were out of luck if the landlord ignored the violation. It's very clear that the fact that the city did not have a big enough stick for dealing with landlords who ignored these violations was a contributor to the way bed bugs spread across the city.

But as of last month, the rules for derelict landlords have gotten much stricter. Under the new rules, once the violation is issued, the landlord must inspect the building and then notify tenants that bed bugs have been identified, and distribute a building-wide, Health Department-approved 'Pest Management Plan' to all tenants. They must use a licensed exterminator, and owners who are repeat offenders must have their licensed exterminator complete what's called an 'Affidavit of Correction of Pest Infestation.' If they don't provide the documents, the landlord will not be sent to a hearing before the City's Environmental Control Board. Unlike in the past, they can be fined, and if they don't comply, the landlords can now end up with a lien on their property.

As the summer comes, we'll be watching to see how well this new system works.

Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
Angela Reynolds
Angela Reynolds

Myname is Angela Reynolds and I am with Hygienic Solutions US. I have a provensolution for this problem as well as a means to combat it.

Stop Bugging Me! is a self-performing,all natural, ready to apply solution that not only kills but also repels allcrawling insects on contact.  Its non-toxic active ingredient attacks theneurotransmitter octopamine in insects, which regulates many of their basicfunctions.  Because receptors for octopamine are the most dominantbiogenic amine receptors in insects, death occurs very quickly.  It isconsidered a contact insecticide, which provides a quick knockdown andkill.  Stop Bugging Me! is safe to use around children, animals, andplants.  Following use, it leaves residual complexes that continue a safeand effective killing field in treated areas, providing ongoing protectionagainst a re-infestation as proven in scientific test results. Synergistic compounds found only in Stop Bugging Me! formula create theresidual effect.


Because it is EPA exempt, no licensingfor application is required; Self Performing means it can be applied by the enduser such as environmental services or housecleaning personnel. 


·       EPAExempt

·       FDAGRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe)

·       AllNatural Insecticide – Environmentally Safe-Green Product

·       Easyto apply

·       Safearound children, pets and plants

·       Affordable

·       Immediateoccupancy

·       Nopest control licensing needed

·       Asverified by independent university research, this is a non stainingproduct.  If water will not stain, SBM will not stain

·       Safeto spray on bed, mattress, clothes, luggage, carpet, etc.


Attached, you will find the MSDS sheetfor your review.

Should you have any additional questionsor wish to place an order, please feel free to contact me at 239-961-2085


The 311 maps of bedbug complaints are completely misleading. Basically, they're a map of rental housing. In co-ops and condos, apartment owners don't call 311 about bedbugs because they are responsible for addressing their own vermin problems. So infestations are highly likely to be far more widespread than the maps indicate.

Now Trending

New York Concert Tickets

From the Vault