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Sanitations says seal up old bedding

The Department of Sanitation (DOS) recently announced new regulations in an effort to help control the growing bed bug problem in New York City.
Starting December 3, residents will have to place all bedding (mattresses and box springs) in a completely sealed plastic bag when left at a curb for collection regardless of whether there was bed bug infestation or not.
Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty said this new regulation will “safeguard our workers and help mitigate the spread of bed bugs throughout the city.”
The reports of bed bugs have been on the rise within the city in the past few years.
According to an April 2010 report released by the Bed Bug Advisory Board, bed bug related 3-1-1 calls rose 54 percent from 2008 to 2009 in the city. The report also said that private residential rental housing bed bug violations rose 240 percent from 2006 to 2009.
In 2009, 5 percent (87,000) adults in Queens reported bed bugs in their household. The percentage of city-wide reports of bed bugs was 6.7.
“In New York City, people live side by side, this increases the chances of bed bugs spreading,” said Shula Warren, Gale Brewer’s chief of staff.
Councilmember Gale Brewer was integral in getting the DOS to put the new regulations in place.
“We introduced this legislation three or four years ago because my office was getting so many calls about bed bugs,” Brewer said. All the calls made her feel like a 3-1-1 line for bed bugs, she said.
“This is a good start,” said Brewer who has a package of bed bug bills in the works.
Warren said this new rule will help protect sanitation workers and prevent people from “curb diving” and taking things that might be infested.
Bed bugs, or cimex lectularius, are small, wingless bugs that are usually nocturnal and feed on the blood of humans and other warm-blooded animals. Adult bed bugs are approximately a quarter inch in size, about the size of an apple seed, and tend to hide in crevices, which makes bedding a perfect home for them.
While their bites can be an annoyance, causing itchiness and irritation, bed bugs are not known to spread diseases.
Doherty also suggested that the bedding be placed in plastic bags before it reaches the curb to prevent any bed bugs spreading throughout the house when taking it out.
Failure to comply with the new rule will result in fines starting at $100. The rule goes into effect December 3, but summons won’t begin being issued until January 3, 2011.

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