Community Board 10 had the highest New York City percentage increase in the number of bed bug cases reported in 2008, according to a report released by tracking group New York vs Bed Bugs.
However, members of the organization are stressing that the overall number of complaints to the Department of Housing Preservation and Development coming from CB 10 merely rose from six during fiscal year 2007 to 46 in fiscal year 2008.
It represents a 666.7% increase, which is somewhat alarming, but according to a spokeswoman from the organization, CB 10’s unique make-up makes the numbers much less serious than has been reported elsewhere.
“The numbers in the northeast Bronx are still relatively low, but the rise is steep, especially in Community Board 10,” said Renee Corea, of New York vs Bed Bugs. “In CB 10, there are a lot of single family homes and small landlords, and it wouldn’t be entirely correct to assume that they are not doing anything to eradicate the problem.”
Corea said that bed bugs are everywhere, and are affecting wealthy and less affluent communities alike. Bed bugs are now being found in places like police stations, public schools, and hotels.
New Yorkers vs Bed Bugs is a policy advocacy organization that was formed in March 2008. The organization’s fight bed bug infestations in small and large-scale housing.
Bed bugs are a blood-sucking insect that can hide in cracks and crevices in furniture or objects in a home as well as in the structure of the building itself, including in walls, floors and window sills.
“I once went into a building where I found a working class guy who had gone through three bedroom sets because of bed bugs and was at his wits end,” said Andrew Laiosa of the Neighborhood Initiative Development Corporation.
According to Corea, most people living in rental buildings turn to HPD as a last resort to get their landlords to address the problems in their apartments.
“Wherever you have tenants living with uncooperative landlords, you have people calling 311 to violate the building to be rid of this problem,” Corea said.