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Trying to make sense of NYC's latest bed bug complaint scorecard, we checked in with a few bed bug fighters (pest control operators, they are called) to see if they thought "the bedbug wave...may have been somewhat more hype than bite," as the Wall Street Journal led off its report last week.
According to the Journal, complaints to 311 in the fiscal year ending June 30th more or less leveled off, while the number of violations dropped slightly.
Let's be clear: There were still over 34,000 bed bug related calls--a record--and 4,481 violations. Bed bugs are far from beaten and it would be ruinous to let our guard down collectively or individually.
Yet in the heat of the summer bed bug season, we detect the first anecdotal hints of a tidal turn to come.
Take top bed-bug fighter Gil Bloom. His phones at Standard Pest Management are ringing off the hook this summer, but he thinks earlier intervention may be part of the reason.
"More people are better aware and are quickly resolving their issues or seeking professional help early on, in part thanks to education efforts by the city," he says.
Natalie Raben, a spokesperson for M&M Pest Control, says that while bed bug calls to M&M are up 9% this summer (the same increase as during the previous summer), "people are calling earlier--particularly landlords--and there has been a strong increase in bed bug prevention from and for neighboring units."
Now that is excellent news for all vertical dwellers.
On a similar note, Michael Batenburg, the president of Bed Bugs and Beyond, which coordinates rather than directly provides bed bug elimination services, says business from pest control operators are down this summer. He attributes this in part to "increased level of knowledge, education and awareness among the bed bug victim community, who we believe are practicing more effective best-practice home prevention activities...."
To brush up on your best-practices and boost your bed bug IQ, read some of the posts below, and visit the continually evolving NYC bed bug portal.