We really hate that the most vulnerable people are among the most likely to experience chronic bed bug infestations. Bed bugs don’t discriminate, yet getting rid of them involves money, effort, education, and often, a helpful landlord. These four necessities are often lacking for the elderly, disabled, and poor or homeless. We’ve added being old or impoverished as #6 in our “Top 10 Bad Ways to Get Rid of Bed Bugs” to call attention to the challenges these vulnerable people face.
Seniors Suffer Bed Bug Infestations
“Ten percent of the senior complexes we found had some incident of bedbug infestation,” said Municipal Housing Authority Deputy Director Robert Calli of Utica, New York. While the Department of Entomology at the University of Kentucky determined that nursing homes account for about 18% of all bedbug infestations nationwide.
Nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Litchfield, CT; Cleveland, OH; Keene, NH; and many other cities are plagued by bed bugs. All it takes is one visitor or new resident to bring in bed bugs. Often bed bug populations are well established before they are noticed.
Assistance for Impoverished
In May of this year, the CDC stated that “public health agencies across the country have been overwhelmed by complaints about bed bugs.” Bed bugs are such a problem that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is funding research on bed bug monitoring and control in low-income, multi-family housing, along with educating public housing authorities and other housing industry groups about bed bug identification and control. Nevertheless, local public health departments have very limited resources to combat this problem and bed bugs frequently are not seen as a priority.
Just a few examples from the news of bed bugs in low-income housing.
- In Waterville, Maine, 19 tenants had to petition the local housing authority to get attention paid to their bed bug issue.
- A Staten Island low-income family had to sue the housing authority to get help for a bed bug infestation that’s been a problem for over a year.
- In Southern Utah, the grandparent-caretakers of two autistic grandchildren suffered a four-year long battle with relentless bed bugs. Their trauma only ended after a group of businesses funded the extermination effort.
- Lynchburg, VA– Bed bugs have infested at least one low-income apartment building and are causing major problems.
Homeless Need Help Against Bed Bugs
The homeless population is particularly vulnerable to bed bugs due to exposure to bed
bug infestations in emergency shelters. There have been bed bug infestations in shelters in Providence, RI; Bennington, VT; San Louis Obispo, CA; Corpus Christi, TX; Paducah, KY; Racine, WI; Des Moines, IA; Kakaakao, HI; Hagerstown, MD; and the list goes on.