According to local reports, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene headquarters, which cost taxpayers $316 million, is overrun by bed bugs. The building is 21 floors, and five of those are home to a bed bug infestation. That’s no shock, since the city itself has been ranked the worst in the nation when it comes to bed bugs.
This is the second time in under a year that bed bugs have been found in the facility, which is only three years old. Critics say that the city is actually underreporting the problem. “It’s an issue of just saying, okay, let’s figure it out, let’s admit it, now how are we going to solve it?” says Rick Moskovitz, president of A-Plus Pest Control in Chicago.
Other major New York landmarks have become bed bug victims, including the Lincoln Center, the New York Public Library, the Waldorf Astoria, and the United Nations. Moskovitz urges New York visitors to check the bedding for bugs, spotting and streaks of blood. The Health Department insists that this is not an infestation.
The New York City government has an entire section of its website dedicated to bed bugs. “Bed bug infestations are increasingly common,” the website says. Overall, New Yorkers called in 9,233 bed bug complaints about private infestations between July 2012 and April 2013. From June 2011 to July 2012, there were more than 13,000 such complaints. In 2004, there were only 537 bed bug complaints to HPD.