As if The 313 didn’t have enough problems over the past few years with a floundering economy, bed bugs in Detroit have become a widespread and very visible problem. This is just part of the huge rise in bed bug infestations in the U.S. over the past five years.
However, bed bugs have even put in appearances in Motown courts of law, scampering about on witnesses, and use the mass transit to spread – taking a delicious meal of warm mammalian blood from the bus driver on the way to their destination, too. With such visibility, it is little wonder that people are taking vigorous action to root out these bugs wherever and whenever possible.
Exactly how bad the insect invasion is in Detroit is up for debate, but it’s clearly a bed bug infested city and ranks among the top ten in the United States. Bed bug extermination calls have increased approximately 30% to 35% between 2010 and 2014 in the metropolis, and many bus drivers report being attacked by these insects, showing that the subtle six-legged pests are following humans along their main transportation arteries and can be expected to show up anywhere.
Though bed bugs don’t transmit human diseases like mosquitoes or lice can, people often get an allergic reaction after being bitten. This “bed bug rash” is more likely to happen if a lot of bites are concentrated in one area. Though the bites are not dangerous, they do cause a maddening itch that can cause insomnia. It is important not to let bed bugs cause anxiety, which can be far more harmful than a few itchy bites.
These pests are an issue that cuts across party lines and that practically everyone can agree about on the need for action. In Detroit’s case, though, the start of organized resistance to the bed bug didn’t start with top officials, but with grassroots organizations that already existed to solve other problems.
The Detroit Action Commonwealth, or DAC, was the guiding force that started the struggle against bed bugs in the Motor City. This 900-strong citizens’ group, which started at the Capuchin Soup Kitchen, spearheaded the plan to make a Bedbug Task Force at a historic meeting in October of 2009. Representatives of government, business, and health organizations, plus experts on the pests and knowledgeable entomologists, were invited and came – and thus Detroit’s campaign to resist the bed bug was forged.
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Some tips for landlords, tenants, and homeowners on how to detect the insects and take measures to kill bed bugs include:
- Keep a sharp eye for signs of infestation. Bites are the most obvious sign, and usually occurring on the skin that is exposed while sleeping – often the arms, legs, neck, or face. You can also spot the dark stains of bed bug feces on your covers, or the shed husks of the bugs along the seams and folds of the mattress you are sleeping in.
- Tenants and multifamily hub are instructed by the Detroit health department to immediately contact their landlord if they believe they have a bed bug problem.
- Landlords are further instructed to use properly licensed professionals to carry out control measures, including both chemical treatments if needed and non-chemical techniques such as vacuuming, clearing up clutter, sealing up spaces where bed bugs might be hiding.
- Vacuuming thoroughly and taking extra precaution when bringing in used furniture can help prevent the bugs from getting into your home. Used mattresses for rent, sold at garage sales or available for free off the curb are particularly “risky”. Again, make sure to inspect the mattress thoroughly for signs of bed bugs before bringing it back to your apartment or room.
Though Detroit itself has no dedicated hotline for bed bug reports, the state of Michigan as a whole accepts reports at 1-517-373-3740. There is some valuable information on bed bug prevention on the Michigan government’s website at http://www.michigan.gov/bedbugs.
Families or individuals traveling to Detroit are advised to take the time to inspect your sleeping accommodations for the presence of bed bugs. Look for the symptoms around the bed, in the bedding, pillows, dress table, behind picture frames or in cracks along the wall. For more details on how to check and protect against bed bugs during your travels, read the full post here…
Quick Bed Bug Links For Residents of Detroit
- D-I-Y and commercial solutions to treat and protect yourself against bed bugs: http://www.getridofbedbugsathome.com/bed-bug-supply
- Bed bug info: http://www.michigan.gov/bedbugs
- Detroit Action Commonwealth (DAC): http://www.swsol.org/dac
- General Michigan bed bug hotline: 1-517-373-3740