Monday, March 8, 2010

Ottawa man refuses bed bug treatment eight times, finally evicted

Christopher Francoeur was evicted from 415 MacLaren St. in Ottawa, after refusing to have his apartment in the infested 249-unit building treated for bed bugs.

The Ottawa Citizen reports that

According to a Landlord and Tenant Board ruling, the resident, Christopher Francoeur, refused to let anyone in to spray.

Francoeur claims he simply got home late from an appointment, but it does not explain why the city was turned away or locked out on seven previous occasions. The article claims the city

. . . visited Unit 1908 at least eight times. Each time, the bedbug warriors were turned away for different reasons — once because, they say, Francoeur, a 35-year-old convicted drug dealer, changed the locks.

Francoeur claims the public housing building had bed bugs before he moved in. However, this is no reason not to try and cooperate with the city’s plan to treat all the units. It is hard enough to get rid of bed bugs in a multi-unit building. If the landlord is willing to treat all units concurrently (and repeatedly, we hope), the other tenants have a better chance of getting rid of this problem.

The board ruled last month that Francoeur “substantially interfered with the reasonable enjoyment of the residential complex by the other tenants.”

We hear all of the time about such cases, where a tenant — for whatever reason — refuses treatment.

(And I love, by the way, how “reasonable enjoyment of the residential complex” translates to “trying to eliminate a blood-sucking parasite.”)

A NYC reader emailed today telling me that while she does not have bed bugs yet, she just heard someone in her building — a number of floors above her – is refusing treatment.

Even though laws may allow such tenants to be forced to cooperate with treatment or evicted, the process of enforcing them may take some time.

Sourced by nobugsonme on March 7, 2010 · 0 comments

in 415 MacLaren St., bed bugs, landlords vs. tenants, ottawa, public housing

Rats, fleas and mice plague hospitals

RATS, fleas, mice and bed bugs have been plaguing Addenbrooke's Hospital wards.

Health chiefs are itching to get to the bottom of why more than a dozen infestations happened in the last year - which included a "suspected
Bosses paid pest controllers £20,000 in 2008/9 to rid wards and staff areas in the prestigious Cambridge University hospital of disease carrying vermin.

Figures released to the News under the Freedom of Information Act revealed the extent of the problem at the massive hospital.

Critics have accused hospital chiefs of having their eye on hitting targets rather than keeping their noses to the ground to sniff out disease carriers.

Cllr Geoff Heathcock, chairman of Cambridgeshire County Council's health scrutiny committee, said: "I am absolutely appalled that in the 21st Century, the largest hospital in the county can have such a wide ranging problem with infestation.

"This poses many questions about how high up the board's priorities cleanliness really is rather than chasing imposed performance targets."

But health chiefs insist they have a clean record on pest control compared to other trusts.

An Addenbrooke's spokeswoman said: "Our patients expect 100 per cent expert care in a clean, safe and comfortable environment. The trust takes pest control very seriously and employs an external company to perform monthly routine monitoring, provide advice and treat any infestations."

Previous figures revealed Hinchingbrooke Health Care NHS Trust called out pest controllers 228 times between January 2006 and April 2008 to deal with rodents and insects.

The results of the Freedom of Information Act request also showed Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Addenbrooke's, had problems with ants, wasps and flies.

No information was collected from Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust which has a contract with a pest control company.

Hinchingbrooke revealed it had to deal with rats, mice, ants, biting insects, fleas, wasps, flies, squirrels, silverfish, bugs, woodlice, bees, hornets and "unspecified insects".

Friday, March 5, 2010

Bedbug colonies on rise in county
Source: Natalya Stanko, For the CDT

The old saying “Don’t let the bed bugs bite” isn’t just a good-night wish, but an uncomfortable reality for an increasing number of Americans.

Bedbugs are making a comeback, nationally and locally.

Penn State Housing has been tracking the change. Since 2006, there have been 22 reported cases of bedbugs on the University Park campus, including nine this academic year, said David Manos, assistant director of housing for East Halls dormitories. Manos, who joined the housing department in 1991, knows of no incidences of bedbugs on campus before 2006, he said.

Bedbugs were nearly wiped out in the United States after World War II due to the widespread use of pesticides such as DDT. But now that experts use less toxic chemicals, the bugs are multiplying, said Ed Rajotte, an entomology professor at Penn State.

Bedbugs, which are wingless, reddish-brown and about the size of an apple seed, feed on human blood like a mosquito. They are mostly active at night.

Bedbugs are hitchhikers that easily move from one place to another in baggage, furniture and clothing, said Manos. They can live up to 18 months without feeding. In State College, they have infested not only dormitories, but also hotels and apartments.

That,s why
bedbugs are a community issue that needs to be addressed cooperatively, Manos said.

Penn State Housing, in collaboration with about 10 local landowners, recently formed the Centre Region Bedbug Coalition. The coalition’s goal is to educate both on-and off-campus tenants about how to quickly identify and report bedbugs, said borough health inspector Kevin Kassab.

“There’s no shame in having (bedbugs),” Kassab said. “But the problem only gets worse if you ignore it.”

To check for bedbugs, examine the entire bed, including the folds of the sheet and the seams of the mattress, Manos said. Look for dark blood spots about the size of a pencil point. If you suspect

you’ve already been bitten, check your skin for itchy red bumps.

Bedbugs are not a serious health concern, and they are not known to transfer diseases, Rajotte said. But they can be psychologically draining. The Web site tracks bedbug alerts nationwide, including seven from the State College area over the past few years. The site, however, does not vouch for the accuracy of reports made there.

To treat bedbugs, Rajotte recommends to “never do just one thing, but attack with multiple tactics.” Once the bugs have been identified, quarantine the infected rooms.

Wash and dry all soft objects, such as clothing and blankets, using hot water. Bedbugs die when heated to 113 degrees.

Be wary of over-the-counter pesticides, Rajotte said. Overuse of common pesticides has made some bedbugs resistant to them.

“If you have a major infestation, contact a professional pest control service, which has access to a much wider array of chemicals,” he added.

Penn State practices Integrated Pest Management, which encourages pesticide use only as a last resort, said Rajotte, coordinator of the program.

Penn State treats infested nonwashable belongings, such as laptops and other electronic equipment, by placing them in a “hot box” made from a 4- by 8-foot Styrofoam insulation that houses electric heaters, Manos said. Occupants are asked to shower.

Penn State limits its chemical use to the pesticides Bedlam and Phantom and the alcohol-based aerosol product Sterifab. According to BASF Chemical Co., the two pesticides are slightly toxic to humans when inhaled and very toxic to aquatic and terrestrial animals.

In preparation for spring break next week, Penn State Housing is posting fliers in dormitories and bathrooms to warn students to check for bugs when traveling internationally, where the bugs are more prevalent.

“The best deterrent isn’t chemical,” Manos said. “It’s educational.”