The nasty bloodsucking bedbug epidemic

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If you survived the last TV ratings period and DIDN’T see a story about the horrible epidemic of bedbugs right in your town – maybe right in your own bed – then just stay tuned until the next sweeps period.

David Segal of the Washington Post was on NPR’s “On the Media??? program talking about the hyperbolic news coverage of the bedbug panic.

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New York vs Bed Bugs

April 6, 2008 at 9:35 am

The Washington Post’s story doesn’t check out and has now been corrected. It turns out that bed bugs in New York City and the resulting press coverage are not a product of hysteria.
The statistic Segal cited–that there were less than 500 actual cases of bed bugs in NYC public housing in the last three years–is false.
In FY-2007 there were 1,720 bed bug complaints by public housing residents. The NYC Housing Authority estimates that 70% of bed bug reports are indeed actual infestations. The city’s Department of Housing, Preservation & Development received another 6,889 bed bug complaints in the same period, resulting in 2,008 private residential landlord violations.
Most people who have bed bugs in NYC do not call any city agency to report them as they are not a reportable pest; private residential tenants who call the city’s 311 line about bed bugs do so in order to seek relief from uncooperative landlords. Thus, the true scope of bed bug infestations has not been determined, but it is certainly not what Mr. Segal reported.