NYC bed bug stats: A vast understatement?

Teri Rogers Headshot - Floral
By Teri Karush Rogers  |
August 6, 2009 - 7:05AM

The incredibly bug-informed Renee Corea at points out to us that complaints to 311 about bed bugs (which we reported on recently here) don't paint a full enough picture of our city's problem. 

Among other omissions, while co-ops and condos make up about a third of the city's housing stock, owners aren't likely to complain to 311, since they (unlike renters) have the power to address a building-wide infestation. They also tend to be more able to afford corrective action.

Also, people in illegal sublets--or who are illegally in this country and likely to live in badly managed buildings that don't take control of the bugs--are probably suffering in silence.  Moreover, the numbers reported by the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development don't include complaints about infestations at work and other non-residential settings.

So what's the real story under the covers? Corea, calling on the Health Department to conduct a survey, offers this chilling analogy:

"A survey in Cincinnati, finding that roughly 1 in 6 people have had bed bugs in 2007, does not bode well for us, as the survey compared to the official stats in Cincinnati for that same period would yield an under-reporting rate of more than 98%," she says.



Related posts on BrickUnderground:

Bed-bugged storage (part 1): Is your stuff safe?

Bed-bugged storage (Part II):  How to protect your stuff 

$250,000 bed bugs online; another co-op goes to war

HuffPo NY puts bed bug scoop on front page

Brooklyn still #1 bed bug borough; Manhattan (UWS & North) next

Co-op hair-raiser: $250,000 bed bug bill

Your neighbor's bed bugs


Teri Rogers Headshot - Floral

Teri Karush Rogers

Founder & Publisher

Founder and publisher Teri Karush Rogers launched Brick Underground in 2009. As a freelance journalist, she had previously covered New York City real estate for The New York Times. Teri has been featured as an expert on New York City residential real estate by The New York Times, New York Daily News, amNew York, NBC Nightly News, The Real Deal, Business Insider, the Huffington Post, and NY1 News, among others. Teri earned a BA in journalism and a law degree from New York University.

Brick Underground articles occasionally include the expertise of, or information about, advertising partners when relevant to the story. We will never promote an advertiser's product without making the relationship clear to our readers.