News: Bed Bug Task Force in Nassau County
(Long Island, N.Y.) This week the newly-created Bed Bug Task Force will hold a workshop meeting in Freeport's Recreation Center for property managers, housing inspectors, and landlords interested in bed bug management. Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice have teamed up to create the Bed Bug Task Force. A second meeting is also available for tenants and homeowners.
The task force began after the Nassau County Department of Health Complex in Uniondale for Health and Human Services was infected with the pests last year. Several meetings were arranged between county officials and members of the Civil Service Employee Association Local 830, including the union's president, to deal with the issue of bed bugs in the workplace. The problem was ongoing, spanning at least a few months, and some sources claimed that the bed bugs were resisting efforts of removal.
The Nassau County Department of Health Complex was not the first significant government building to address the problem. In September of 2009 the New York City Department of Health Offices were infected, and some reports have stated that these types of buildings may be more at risk of infestation. Also, the Bronx Psychiatric Center in Morris Park was documented for a bed bug epidemic. The facility had between three and four hundred beds when union members working in the building reported the issue.
The Civil Services Employee Association Local 401 represented the facility's nurses, housekeepers, and maintenance workers, totaling over five hundred and fifty employees. These workers spotted the bed bugs at a nursing station and tracked them to bedrooms inside a ward. The employees also filed a Public Employee Safety and Health Bureau compliant, and criticized the treatment procedure. They claimed that the bed bug outbreak was treated from room to room rather than by evacuating individual wards.
Following this action, the State Labor Department inspected the building, and bed bugs were found in at least two other wards on different occasions. A second union, the Public Employees Federation, which represents the hospital's psychologists, psychiatrists, and secretaries, also took action against the bed bug issue. Bed bugs are able to bite anyone, whether it is patients or staff. They often cause anxiety, sleeplessness, and ailments that are especially devastating in a mental health facility.
According to the Nassau County Department of Health website, bed bug infestations declined after World War II but have been on the rise over the last decade. Reasons for the recent increase of these pests can include changes in pest management strategies, increase in travel, and transference of used furniture. The website lists contact numbers for tenants experiencing bed bug issues, leading them to the Nassau County Department of Health's Office of Community Sanitation. Homeowners with infestation issues are directed to the Nassau County Department of Health Healthy Homes Program, and hotel/motel owners should reach the Nassau County Department of Health Bureau of Environmental Sanitation.
The new task force will include a worker from the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program and New York City Bed Bug Advisory Board. According to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene website, bed bugs are classified as small insects that feed on human blood. The can survive for months without feeding, and turn a brighter shade of red as their bodies swell with blood. They are largely nocturnal and affect humans while they are sleeping. The bites are painless but will become large, itchy welts in time, though they are not known to spread any diseases. They are transferred in luggage, furniture, and clothing and can travel between cracks in floors and walls.
This article is an opinion piece which reflects the views of its author and does not necessarily reflect the views of the site itself, or the owners of Long Island Exchange. For more information please view our terms of service.