For the past two decades, bed bug infestation rates have been steadily increasing throughout the United States and most of the world. In fact, bed bugs are even expanding their range into Alaska where they are becoming significant pests in isolated rural villages. In Arizona, bed bug infestations have been common in apartments and single family homes for over a decade, but in recent years the pests have been appearing in government buildings, businesses, public buses, dormitories and many other high traffic public locations.
In response to growing bed bug infestations in Arizona apartment buildings and smaller multi-unit housing complexes several years ago, state lawmakers passed a law in 2014 that requires landlords to pay for bed bug treatments in circumstances where the pests invade more than one rental unit. This law also requires renters to promptly report bed bug issues when they occur in a rental unit, and if a renter neglects to do this, or attempts to eliminate the pests his/herself, he/she could be made liable for the total cost of eliminating the infestation.
Toward the end of 2017, pest control professionals removed three benches from the Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix after multiple treatment efforts failed to eradicate the pests. Several years earlier, bed bugs were found on the same type of padded benches in a different area of the airport, and this case also saw the eventual removal of the infested seats. Earlier that same year, experts declared Phoenix to be the 7th most bed bug-infested city in the US, and this year, the New York Library Association published an article describing the alarming increase in bed bug infestations in Arizona’s public libraries. The most recent bed bug fiasco in Arizona that has made national news involves the long running infestation at the Phoenix Department of Economic Security.
A few months ago, employees at the DES building discovered that bed bugs were active in their workplace, which prompted management to hire pest control professionals in order to have the pests eliminated. However, bed bug issues, such as bites and employees bringing the pests home with them, continued for weeks, which eventually motivated a group of employees to describe the situation to a local news station. Once the story became public, management decided to vacate the building in order to have more aggressive treatments carried out.
While the building remained empty for extensive treatments, employees worked remotely from home, but upon returning to the building ten days later, they found that the bed bug infestation had spread to new areas. Now government officials are paying to have bed bugs eradicated from employee homes, as many individuals in the building left work with bed bugs on their clothing. The agency is also working with experts at the University of Arizona and the Department of Health and Human Services in order to fully eradicate the bed bug pests from the building.
Have you noticed that more people are claiming to have experienced issues with bed bugs?