The July/August issue of Habitat Magazine arrived in our snail-mail this weekend, and we were riveted by an article about one Manhattan co-op’s successful but pricey battle against bed bugs.
Total cost to make the three-tower, 217-unit Theater District co-op a bloodsucker-free zone: $250,000.
Bed bugs are fast becoming the swine flu of NYC apartment buildings. But while early intervention is critical when a building is infested, there is no single Tamiflu antidote as of yet. Extermination is so complicated and fraught with misunderstandings that Mayor Bloomberg has even created a special Bed Bug Advisory Board to develop guidelines.
The co-op in the Habitat article found bed bugs in several neighboring apartments, two stairwells and some of the basement storage lockers. Working with one exterminator and several subcontractors, it treated infested apartments with powders for the walls and heat and chemicals for cracks and crevices.
In addition, everything in the basement storage lockers was packed in impermeable containers and shipped to an off-site exterminator, while the storage rooms were treated. From now on, residents must put all their stored belongings in plastic bins with air-tight gaskets, or double wrap them in airtight plastics. The bug-sniffing beagle visits every week for now, and will eventually return three times a year.
The $250,000 bloodletting was paid from the building's reserve funds. A board member said it was a bargain compared to the cost of a bigger infestation.
Scary. Is anyone is selling bed bug insurance polices yet?