New York Will Solve the Bedbug Crisis by Speaking Very Sternly to the Bedbugs

On Wednesday afternoon, New York officials held a press conference to announce the city’s concerted, coordinated, multi-agency crackdown on the ongoing problem of bedbug infestation. Christine Quinn, the speaker of the City Council, offered strong words for an itchy metropolis, the New York Times reported:

“To bedbugs in the city of New York,” Ms. Quinn shouted from the steps of City Hall, “Drop dead. Your days are over, they’re numbered, we’re not going to take it anymore, we’re sick and tired.”

Beginning tomorrow, the city will send teams of bedbug-control officers door to door throughout the five boroughs, accompanied by bedbug-sniffing dogs, with fumigation teams following on their heels, and—

Oh, sorry, Speaker Quinn got me a little too exercised, and I made that whole plan up. What is the city really going to do about the bedbugs, according to today’s declaration of war and its promise of “strong action”?

Recommendation 1.1: Take a proactive approach to public education and awareness.

Super! People should know things, first of all. Knowledge is power!

Recommendation 1.3: Launch and maintain an online Bed Bug Portal devoted to bed bug facts and resources. 

Replace “bed bug” with “magazine” and this was Conde Nast’s Internet strategy for 10 or 12 years. (It was not a good strategy.)

Recommendation 3.2: Develop integrated monitoring, tracking, and reporting tools. 

Yes! Keep track of the bedbugs, so you can kill kill kill kill them! 

Recommendation 3.3: Improve the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) bed bug infestation inspection protocols and code enforcement capacity. 

Wait, that does not say “kill kill kill kill.” 

Recommendation 3.8: Disseminate consumer warnings about bed bug risks from used furniture and mattresses.

Hey, this is starting to read uncannily like one of those here-come-the-bedbugs-you’re-so-screwed newspaper articles from the early years of the outbreak. What’s the last word on city bedbug planning?

Recommendation 3.9:  Encourage small business and social enterprise start-ups to provide bed bug preparation services for low- and moderate-income households. 

Translation: sorry, turns out we’re too broke to do anything. Hire an exterminator, if you can afford one.