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Bed Bug Law Suits on the increase

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The Baltimore Sun reports:

Faika Shaaban developed an itchy rash the day she moved into an Annapolis apartment in the fall of 2011.

The hundreds of bites, the lesions and the resulting scarring were from bedbugs. She had no idea that she’d rented an apartment whose landlord had been notified of a potential bedbug infestation only weeks earlier, according to her lawsuit against the landlord.

An Anne Arundel County jury awarded the 69-year-old woman $800,000 this week, an amount that lawyers familiar with such cases said was the highest they have seen. Most of that — $650,000 — was in punitive damages, more than she had sought.

The case highlights the growth in bedbug lawsuits nationwide. And it demonstrates the ire of jurors not only over the insects but also over landlords who they feel didn’t deal with a known infestation, said Shaaban’s attorney, Daniel W. Whitney of Towson.

“She lost practically everything due to this,” he said.

He said it was the jury’s “opportunity to send a message to the community, to landlords, that you must abate it.”

The defendant, landlord Cornelius J. Barrett and West Street Partnership, which owns the property and of which Barrett is a general partner, did not respond to the lawsuit, according to Whitney and court records. He could not be reached to comment.

In a 2002 case, a jury awarded $382,000 to a brother and sister who said they were besieged by bedbugs at a Motel 6 in Chicago when they stayed in a room that management knew was infested.

Whitney has more than 75 bedbug cases, nearly all in Maryland, and said he’s turned away hundreds of potential bedbug clients in the past two-and-a-half years.

“You are going to see a rapid growth of bedbug claims over the next decade. There are enough lawyers who are getting trained so that people will be able to find lawyers, so that people will find a way to get relief,” said lawyer Tom Campbell of Birmingham, Ala., who advises other lawyers.

This week’s verdict has landlords taking notice.

A landlord doesn’t put bedbugs in a unit, yet “the landlord is being faced with the burden of fixing this problem,” said Ben Frederick, president of the Property Owners Association of Greater Baltimore.

Landlords are pushing to shift responsibility onto tenants in leases that say that if bedbugs don’t turn up before or soon after a tenant moves in, the tenant must pay for extermination.

Greg Countess, assistant director of advocacy at the Maryland Legal Aid Bureau, said he is increasingly seeing leases that give the landlord reason to terminate a lease and evict a tenant if the landlord can prove a tenant brought in bedbugs. Many landlords, he said, push tenants to buy renters’ insurance “to protect property that might be lost due to a bedbug infestation.”

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Brooklyn Exterminator shares bed bug Horror stories

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Although bed bug complaints and violations were said to be in decline last year, exterminator Bill Swan isn’t buying it. According to Swan, NYC’s bed bug epidemic is still raging, and he attributes the drop in complaints to an increasing number of New Yorkers essentially giving up, sticking an apple in their mouths and tying themselves to spits for the bed bugs armies to feast upon.


In a lengthy interview with Swan, he shared some of his craziest bed bug horror stories with us, and also explained why it doesn’t work to try to get rid of them on your own. To that end, he wanted us to spread the word that his company, NYC Pest Control, is running a special this month!   Click below to read the article

Brooklyn exterminator shares bed bug horror stories.

Penn State seems to have a Bed Bug Problem

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Penn State Officially Has a Bed Bug Problem
Just in time to greet a busload full of high school students, an army of bed bugs has invaded Penn State.

Hundreds of kids flock to Penn State’s main campus every summer for science camp, but this year some of those children got an extra lesson on entomology after they found bed bugs crawling around their sheets.

Not bad, writer of the article. Not bad. The bed bugs in question, PSU confirms, have infested three dorm rooms in Curtin Hall, in the East Hall complex of the University Park campus. Not surprisingly, several students reported bites. Thank heavens our friend the Nittany Lion is immune; he was just wrapped up this week for renovations. [WJAC]

South Bay Starbucks fights Bed Bug Problem

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From South Bay News: CAMPBELL, Calif. (KGO) — A South Bay Starbucks has called in pest control to handle a bed bug infestation. ABC7 News takes a look at what’s being done.

“I’ve never seen a bedbug infestation in a restaurant. It is unusual,” said Heather Forshey.

Forshey is the Consumer Protection division director at Santa Clara County’s Department of Environmental Health. They received an anonymous complaint about bedbugs in the furniture at a Starbucks store on Bascom Avenue in Campbell.

Vector control confirmed that a specimen it received was in fact a bedbug. Forshey says Starbucks has been proactive since it learned of the infestation.

“They brought their pest control company in and they’ve had several treatments and there is no evidence that could be found that any bedbugs are currently there,” said Forshey.

Customer Mike Healey heard about the bed bugs, but isn’t really concerned. He said, “I think they’ve removed all of what they call the soft furniture, so I don’t think it’s going to be too big of a problem.”

The county says the Starbucks has a pest control company that is continuing to follow up on the problem. And as Forshey points out, bedbugs bite, but they are not known to carry diseases.

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How a Leafy Folk Remedy Stopped Bed Bugs

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Generations of Eastern European housewives doing battle against bedbugs spread bean leaves around the floor of an infested room at night. In the morning, the leaves would be covered with bedbugs that had somehow been trapped there. The leaves, and the pests, were collected and burned — by the pound, in extreme infestations. See full story:

How Bed Bugs Dodge Pesticides

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Bed bugs use a range of tactics to render insecticides useless, a study suggests.  Infestations are on the rise around the world, but the pests are growing resistant to some chemicals.

Now scientists have found 14 genes associated with a number of biological changes.  These include the development of a thicker skin that stops poisons from penetrating, and mutations that prevent toxins from hitting the nervous system.

New Pheromones being Studied in connection with Control of Bed Bugs

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New pheromones are being studied in connection with bed bug management and control.    Researchers have identified 2 new ‘alarm’ pheromones that bed bugs emit to warn other bugs to scatter.  This could be helpful in the quest to control the pests.

The resurgence of bed bugs over the last decade has caused problems in major U.S. cities where they infest homes, apartments, hotels, shelters and even places of work. The small, blood-feeding insects are not known to transmit diseases, but they can cause severe reactions in people who are allergic to them. Bed bugs usually go unnoticed until their numbers increase significantly, and getting rid of them can be costly.

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Bed Bugs Found In Connecticut Library – from New Haven Register

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HAMDEN, Conn. (AP) — The Hamden library is closing for the weekend to get rid of bed bugs.
Nancy McNicholl, interim director of the Miller Memorial Library, tells the New Haven Register ( a specially trained dog began checking the library this week after a woman found bugs in a book.
Bed Bugs Found in Conn LIbrary

Bed Bugs invaded the 78th precinct in Brooklyn in May

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What’s eating the 78th Precinct? Bedbugs! (according to the New York Post on May 30th.)
The nasty critters are replacing boozed-up drivers and other prisoners in the holding cells at the Brooklyn station house, which covers trendy Park Slope and Prospect Park, sources told The Post.
Over the weekend, a prisoner complained that the insects were nipping at him, sources said.
The pest-inundated precinct house was forced to shuttle all DWI arrests to the 120th Precinct on Staten Island, sources said.
The 78th is used to test the blood-alcohol levels of intoxicated motorists throughout Brooklyn.
Other prisoners were carted off to the 72nd Precinct in Sunset Park to be held before their appearances at central booking, sources said.
Maintenance workers were called to tackle the itchy situation and are soon expected to fumigate the 78th station house, the sources said.

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Latest List of Top Bed Bug Cities

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Terminix List of U.S. Cities with the Worst Bed Bugs
The facts are in and Terminix has listed The City of Brotherly Love as the most loved city by bed bugs. Data was collected from 300 Terminix branches nationwide to get its rankings. Coming in second on this list was Cincinnati followed by New York, the most-infested city for the past couple years. Joining the top 15 this year are, Cleveland, Miami, Houston, Indianapolis and New Haven.

Monday June 18 2012 @ 10:12 AM Source:Terminix by way of bedbugcentral
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