When I was a child, we’d say “Good night, don’t let the bedbugs bite!” as if it was a joke. The Rolling Stones published “Shattered” in 1978; they say that in Manhattan there are rats on the West side and bedbugs uptown. But bedbug infestation is not a joke. I have a client who had, what he calls, “the world’s smallest bedbug infestation.” The exterminator found three of them. The house was treated. My client still wakes up stressed every time he feels a little itchy.
The problem is getting worse over the past few years. On June 15, you have the opportunity to learn all you need to know about bedbugs, and more. The event is sponsored by the Community Action Agency of Somerville (CAAS) in collaboration with Cambridge Health Alliance.
A bedbug infestation will force you to throw away every piece of cloth furniture in your house. Bedbugs have been tested and found to carry drug-resistant Staph infections, possibly MRSA. So, they could be a more serious public health problem than originally thought.
Where are bedbugs and how do they get into your house? They are in public places like hotels, motels, movie theaters or anywhere else that has cloth around and lots of different people coming through it and sitting. If they get onto your clothes, you bring them home. Anything cloth you bring into the house can be carrying bedbugs. So, the practice of “trash-picking” a couch is an easy way to bring them home. Beware of yard sales and used furniture sales where you cannot determine why the gently used furniture is suddenly for sale.
Who kills the buggers if they infest a rental unit? The landlord, of course. That’s the law. Like any other vermin, a landlord cannot prove who brought them in, so the landlord remains responsible for maintaining a safe, vermin-free living space. The landlord is not responsible to replace all the furniture, unless the landlord could be proven to be negligent of not addressing a known problem.
If you are on the road and need to go to a hotel or motel and you want to check whether bedbugs have been reported there, there’s an app for that… I was reading about it when my husband looked over my shoulder and asked why someone would have a sudden need to check if a hotel had bedbugs. I’m glad he didn’t know.
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