The bedbug wave that caused widespread unease in New York homes, offices, movie theaters and retail stores may have been somewhat more hype than bite, according to data from city agencies.
While residential complaints through the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development rose in the last fiscal year, violations have decreased. There were 4,481 violations issues as a result of 13,140 complaints in 2011, compared with 4,808 violations and 12,768 complaints in 2010.
Through the city’s nonemergency hot line, 311, did report a record 34,044 bedbug-related calls for the fiscal year ended June 30, a 7% rise, as a proportion of overall traffic there were slightly fewer bedbug-related calls made in fiscal year 2011 than in 2010. Bedbug calls represent less than 1% of the total received by the hot line, which fields all types of inquiries.
Regardless, local pest-control companies say there is a boom in the business of bedbug-busting.
“It got so bad it showed up everywhere and it carried into the winter. We were getting more calls than ever in the winter,” said Jeff Eisenberg, president of Pest Away Exterminator Inc. and authro of “The Bedbug Survival Guide.”
Barry Beck, chief operating officer of Assured Environments, said bedbugs calls to his business to his business lagged in the early part of this year because of a cold winter and spring. The reporductive cycle of bedbugs is faster in warmer months.
“With the heat and humidity, things have been ramping up quickly,” said Mr. Beck, adding that 80-degree temperatures are “heaven” for the blood-suckers.
Bites can cause a rash and potentially lead to a secondary infection, but serious health risks are not known.