Bedbugs are exploding in New York. Various strategies are being contemplated to combat the menace.
Visitors are coming back with horror stories. Bedbug service calls have gone up 300% in the last five years! They are not only blamed for ruining many a night's sleep for unwary hotel guests, but they have also ruined the reputation of many good hotels. Some guests are even suing the hotels for 'habouring' the pests.
AdvertisementBoot A Pest, is seeing a steady stream of desperate homeowners struggling with infestations.
Reported cases rose 34% last year to more than 10,000. The actual number is thought to be much higher.
"It's the tip of the iceberg," said John Furman who owns Boot A Pest.
John believes that the upsurge in cases is due, in part, to changes in chemicals used by exterminators.
In the past many pesticides, including the controversial DDT, killed a wide range of insects. Cockroach treatments, for example, would also wipe out bedbugs.
The UK has seen similarly large increases in the number of infestations. London is among the worst affected areas.
However, authorities in New York have become so concerned about bedbugs that the city council has appointed a task force to examine ways of tackling the problem.
Among the measures it is expected to consider is a ban on selling second-hand mattresses and better training for exterminators.
There's also likely to be a public education programme, Iain Mackenzie reported for BBC radio.
The proposals are being welcomed by Renee Corea from campaign group New York Vs Bedbugs.
"Infestations are not being discovered quickly so they are growing. By the time people are discovering them it's harder to eradicate them.
"Then they are being mismanaged, either by the property owners, by the residents themselves or even the pest management companies," said Renee.
"If we increase everybody's knowledge then we can tackle the problem more quickly."