NYC Public Housing Under Siege by Bed Bugs

Over the last few years, New York State has made some advances in the fight against bed bug infestations. Once firmly placing in the top three of bed bug-infested states, New York has managed to work its way down to the bottom of the top ten. That’s still not much of a bragging point, but it is certainly a move in the right direction.

Unfortunately, for all of the advances New York has made in the fight against bed bugs certain parts of the state still find themselves under siege. Unsurprisingly, New York City still remains the hardest hit by these blood-sucking parasites.

Public Housing Residents Hit the Hardest

The five boroughs that comprise New York City continue to lead the state in bed bug infestations, and public housing residents continue to be the hardest hit. Over the last two years more than 200,000 complaints were made to the New York City Housing Authority pleading for help with bed bug and other insect pest infestations.

Statistics on bed bug and roach infestations were accessed through a Freedom of Information request filed with the NYC Housing Authority by the Legal Aid Society in New York City. The data included bed bug complaints reaching back to 2018 and representing all five boroughs of the city.

Most Infested Areas of NYC

The greatest number of bed bug complaints correlated with those areas of the city that subsequently proved to be suffering the highest rates of infestation. The Grant House in Harlem and the Pomonok Houses in Queens logged the highest number of complaints and the highest number of bed bug removal work orders. 

Legal Aid attorneys have called the situation “troubling” and have called on Albany to invest upwards of $2 billion in funding for NYCHA to address the issue pest infestation in public housing. 

Where People go Bed Bugs Follow

The uptick in bed bug infestations throughout New York City’s public housing is indicative of a growing problem throughout the 5 boroughs. While bed bugs are not exactly hardy travelers, they are not opposed to hitching a ride on unsuspecting people and their belongings. This often leads to transference in high traffic areas like subways, buses and public service buildings. 

Hitchhiking bed bugs will take any opportunity to latch on to fresh hosts and accompany them on their travels around the city, ultimately following the new host home where they set up colonies and begin to breed. That’s how new infestations start, so an uptick in bed bug infestations for public housing impacts the well being of the entire city.

Diligence Remains Our Watchword

While New York has seen a dip in overall bed bug infestations over the last few years there remain hotspots throughout the city and the state. The battle against these blood-sucking pests is far from over, and only through continued diligence will we ever win the war against bed bugs in New York City.

Published by Scott Palatnik

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