By Rich Bockmann
Bed bugs have been spotted inside the city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s gleaming headquarters in Long Island City, but the agency has been mum about the reported invasion.
Reuters reported Sept. 20 that the department confirmed inspectors had found a group of the pesky pests living on one floor of the agency’s $316-million building on 28th Street.
The DOH did not respond, however, to a written request for comment.
Bed bugs were mostly a problem of the upper classes in medieval times because they had the warmest homes, but the itching and annoyance associated with their bites was democratized in the latter half of the 16th century.
They were common in the United States before World War II, but advances in bug-zapping sprays all but eliminated the critters.
Recently they have made a bit of a comeback, In fact, a bed bug was sighted at the new LIC building back in September 2012.
“People and goods are traveling more widely and in greater numbers than ever before. Bed bugs are nocturnal, small, shy, and easily overlooked — and the adults can live for half a year without food — making them perfect stowaways in luggage and shipping crates,” said a report by the state Integrated Pest Management Program.
According to the DOH website, bed bugs are easily transported from the home to the office by employees and visitors, and the agency said the best defense is learning about the enemy and keeping your eyes open for them.
“All employees should be encouraged to visit the DOHMH bed bug website to learn how to identify bed bugs and how to address infestations at home,” the department’s literature said. “Employees should be diligent in recognizing signs of bed bugs at home or at work, so that remedial measures can be taken quickly to prevent their spread to other locations. Eliminating clutter in the workplace can also make it much easier to locate any bed bugs that may be present.”
Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4574.