Bed Bugs take a bite out of San Francisco

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Bed Bugs take a bite out of San Francisco


SF's Bed Bug Infestation Getting Worse-44% And "hundreds of calls" Worse

Are you ready for a healthy dose of paranoia inducing bug news? Well, here it comes: the bedbug invasion of SF is only getting worse. Invasion, in the US vs. Iraq/Afghanistan sense of the word - the bugs have held a presence here for a long time but the number of troops are growing over the years. In the past couple weeks, there has been quite a surge.

The Public Health Department has seen a 44 percent increase in cases over the past three years. Since bed bugs lay and hatch eggs quicker and more plentiful when it's hot, the recent heat wave has caused a spike in cases. Since the hot weather hit, the Health Department has fielded hundreds of calls about the little beasts.

While most complaints come from single room occupancies (SROs) in the Tenderloin, SoMa and the Mission, the bugs can and do show up everywhere. It was once a common assumption that bedbugs are linked to poverty, but that is not the case. All over the country, they have infiltrated upscale condos, private residencies, movie theaters, and even corporate headquarters like the Penguin Group in Manhattan.

To really get a feel for how widespread this is, check out the National Bed Bug Registry,coincidentally started by a San Franciscan. The San Francisco page shows reports in many different neighborhoods, from the Richmond to Russian Hill.

"It's become an increasingly serious problem in all rental housing in San Francisco," said Sara Shortt, executive director of the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco. "If it's not treated properly, it becomes explosive, and that's been part of the problem. There wasn't aggressive treatment by landlords."

Bedbugs don't carry diseases but they do leave nasty bite marks on people that are allergic to the numbing agent in their saliva. If you are not allergic, you may be getting bit and don't even know it. For example, this SFBG writer reported last year that it took a while to figure out what was going on when his girlfriend was getting bit every night but he was not.

So, what do we do about it? First, figure out if you have them. Bed bugs only come out for short periods of time and are good at hiding. If you find dark spots (blood or feces), shed skins, eggs, and dead bugs on your mattress, box spring, or linens, you probably have bed bugs. It is recommended that you actually find a bed bug before you start freaking out at your landlord.

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I stay here at the Post Hotel and let me tell you the bed bugs are out of control. And the management of the building are too busy strong-arming the residents about the rent or petty bullshit like a nine year olds pet guinea pigs to actually hire a competent exterminator. If they would put a tenth of their efforts towards the needs of the people that actually live and stay at the Post then I would be writing a much nicer review...But unfortunately I can't point out any good points since these new owners took over the building approximately three years ago. These people hire uncontracted labor for all upkeep and maintenance of the building. The pest control guy does a half-assed job...Matter of fact...I don't even think HE knows what he is doing. I can't imagine how the building practices get through the cities code enforcement and now with the bedbugs...Yet another thing to be handled in the least professional and cheapest of methods. They took a nice place and turned it into a hostel over run by tourists who are here to party. So if you want to stay: it's nice if you like kids playing soccer outside your door at 3a.m. or hanging out on the fire escapes lounging in the foyer or even better: the bed bugs. Lets not forget the roaches but that just comes with the price of the room I guess. 
Posted @ Monday, November 22, 2010 11:23 AM by tim hoffy
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