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How to Avoid and Get Rid of Bed Bugs in New York

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New York City has all of the characteristics which lead to bed bug problems including a high number of hotel guests potentially bringing bedbugs from other locations and
apartment living which makes it difficult to both exterminate bed bugs and identify the source of the infestation.

Recent reports of the difficulty in killing bed bugs due to pesticide resistance is also adding to the problem. The only good news is that New York state law requires landlords in New York City only to disclose an apartment buildings' history of bed bug problems.

Build owners must inspect and treat all apartments that are
below, above or next door to an infested unit. Landlords can be fined if they do not take action and then must provide a sworn affidavit from a licensed bed bug exterminator.

With the widespread nature of the problem and New York bed bug resistance to many pesticides, we recommend using a professional over home treatment.  If that
is not affordable, products referenced below have been shown to kill insecticide resistant bed bugs.

The Number of bedbug-related complaints to New York City's 311 government hot line during fiscal year 2008 (July 1, 2007, to June 30, 2008) climbed almost 34% over the previous fiscal year according the policy advocacy organization formed in 2008  dedicated to New York City bed bug problems New York vs  Bed Bugs.   In 2008 the hot line received 9,213 complaints vs. 6,889 in 2007.   2009 bed bugs complaints in New York are even higher at10,985 complaints and 4,084 violations.  In fiscal year 2010, 31,719 bedbug complaints were reported to 311, up +19% from 2009.

Comparison between bed buy nymph, poppy seed and sesame seedJust born bed bug compared ot a sesame seed and poppy seed (magnified)

There are so many bed bugs New York complaints that the New York City council has passed legislation to form a committee to look into the bed bugs New York problem. For example, now before throwing out a used mattress, it must be disposed of in a mattress disposal bag. The council is considering moves such as banning the sale of used mattresses.  The extent of the New York City problem is repeated in press around the world including this recent article in  Consumer Reports titled  New York City's bedbug boom.  

In September, 2009 the New York Post reported that an expert on Mayor Bloomberg's advisory board stated that "...bedbugs have staged a comeback and are spreading at an alarming rate." 

Problems have even been reported in a popular clothing store,  where a Hollister was closed due to bed bugs (7/1/2010) and more recently in a Victoria's Secret location.

In July 2010 the New York City Bed Bug Advisory Board release their Bed Bug Advisory report.  A PDF of the " Recommendations for the Management of Bed Bugs in New York City" can be downloaded here (PDF download) .  The report includes suggested best practices for tenants and guidelines for the disposal of bed bug infested items.  The New York bed bug laws were strengthened again for tenants in March 2011.

New York Bed Bugs Incidence MapAccording to the Bed Bug Registry the New York metro area has the worst infestation in the United States, with over 4900 bed bug reports

new york city schools

Like the rapid spread of Bed Bugs in New York City, the schools are also seeing an increase in confirm bedbug cases.  New York is on track to record well over the 2009 level of 1,019 cases, with 336 reported during the first two months of 2010 alone. There were 426 cases reported in the 2008/9 school year.

As a step toward bed bug prevention, teachers are taking measures such as storing backpacks and jackets in plastic bags.  The New York City Board of Education, while not releasing a list of all schools have had a bed bug problem, did confirm that 16 schools required some type of bed bug treatment. 

Bed Bugs New York School reports include:

  • Manhattan: PS 30, 38, 175, Ross Global Academy Charter School
  • Queens: PS 152
  • Bronx: PS 721 at Monroe High School, Bronx Writing Academy

bed bugs in new york hotels

Since there are more bed bug New York cases than any other city in the United States, you can also assume that their are more cases in hotels as well. Hotels cannot control who stays at the hotel and cannot adequately inspect visitors for bed bugs. It is safe to assume that just about every hotel has had a bedbug problem, so the real question is, do they have them now?

The only way to protect yourself when traveling is to:

  1. Ask the hotel front desk clerk if the room has been inspected
  2. Check the mattress underneath any covering sheets for black or red marks around the seams of the mattress.  If not 100% clean ask to have the room inspected (do not unpack until inspection is complete).
  3. Treat your luggage before you leave home with a luggage bed bug spray.

Consumer reported new york bed bug hotel problems

Affinia 50
155 E 50th St New York, NY

Ameritania Hotel
230 W 54th St New York, NY

Amsterdam Inn
340 Amsterdam Ave New York, NY

Astor on the Park
465 Central Park W New York, NY

E 50th St & Lexington Ave New York, NY

Best Western Inn
204 W 55th St New York, NY

Best Western President Hotel
234 W 48th St New York, NY

The Blakely New York
136 W 55th St New York, NY

Blue Moon Hotel
100 Orchard St New York, NY

Buckingham Hotel
101 W 57th St New York, NY

Chelsea Savoy Hotel
202 W 23rd St # 204 New York, NY

Chelsea Star Hotel (2)
300 W 30th St New York, NY

Courtyard by Marriott
866 3rd Ave New York, NY

Eastgate Tower Hotel (3)
222 E 39th St New York, NY

Execustay by Marriott
159 W 53rd St New York, NY

Franklin Hotel
164 E 87th St New York, NY

Habitat Hotel
130 E 57th St New York, NY

Hampton Inn Manhattan-Herald Square
116 W 31st St New York, NY

Hilton Hotel
40 Wall St Fl 41 New York, NY

Holiday Inn (2)
49 W 32nd St New York, NY

Holiday Inn Manhattan-Downtown/Soho
138 Lafayette St New York, NY

Holiday Inn Express NEW YORK CITY FIFTH AVENUE (2)
15 W 45th St New York, NY

Hotel on Rivington
107 Rivington St New York, NY

Hotel Parker Meridien
118 W 57th St New York, NY

Howard Johnson Motor Lodge
851 8th Ave New York, NY

Ian Schrager Hotels LLC
475 10th Ave New York, NY

Inn New York City
266 W 71st St New York, NY

Intercontinental, the Barclay
111 E 48th St New York, NY

Jumeirah Essex House
160 Central Park S New York, NY

Latham Hotel
4 E 28th St New York, NY

Loews Regency Hotels
540 Park Ave New York, NY

Malibu Hotel
2688 Broadway New York, NY

The Maritime Hotel
363 W 16th St New York, NY

Marriott Hotels
518 5th Ave New York, NY

The Marmara-Manhattan
301 E 94th St New York, NY

Midway Hotel
216 W 100th St New York, NY

Millennium Broadway
145 W 44th St New York, NY

Millennium UN Plaza New York
1 United Nations Plz New York, NY

Murray Hill Inn
143 E 30th St New York, NY

New Carlton Arms Hotel
160 E 25th St New York, NY

Off Soho Suites Hotel
11 Rivington St New York, NY

Omni Hotels
609 5th Ave Rm 504 New York, NY

On the Ave Hotel
2178 Broadway New York, NY

235 W 46th St New York, NY

Pierre Hotel
2 E 61st St New York, NY

Quality Hotel
3 E 40th St New York, NY

Radisson Lexington Hotel New York
511 Lexington Ave New York, NY

Ramada Inn East Side
161 Lexington Ave New York, NY

Regency Inn & Suites
215 W 34th St New York, NY

Renaissance New York Times Square
714 7th Ave New York, NY

44 W 44th St New York, NY

Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers
811 7th Ave New York, NY

Sheraton Manhattan Hotel
7th Ave & 51st New York, NY

Skyline Hotel
725 10th Ave New York, NY

Soho House New York
2935 9th Ave New York, NY

341 Broome St New York, NY

St Regis Club at the Essex House
170 Central Park S New York, NY

The St Regis Hotel New York
2 E 55th St New York, NY

Super 8
59 W 46th St, New York, Ny 10036 New York, NY

Surrey Hotel
20 East 76th St, New York New York, NY

Your Stay - Broadway-Herald Tow
50 W 34th St New York, NY

Union Square Inn
209 E 14th St New York, NY

W New York Union Square (2)
201 Park Ave New York, NY

W New York Tuscany
120 E 39th St New York, NY

Westin Hotels & Resorts
292 5th Ave New York, NY

Westin New York Times Square
270 W 43rd St New York, NY

West Side YMCA
5 W 63rd St New York, NY

New York Hotel Travel Tips

The best way to protect yourself from bed bugs New York Hotels is to follow the following bed bug travel tips:

1. Use hard sided luggage as this type of luggage provides fewer places where bed bugs can hide.  Fabric covered luggage has multiple seams where bed bugs can hitch a ride. Consider purchasing and using an inexpensive bed bug safe luggage liner.  As an alternative, pack clothes inside Ziploc Big Bags and then place clothes into luggage. Other tips are to only bring machine washable clothes that can be washed in hot water the moment you arrive home.

Bed Bugs in Luggage SeamBed Bugs in Luggage Seam
Bed Bugs Luggage LinerBed Bug Proof Luggage Liner

2. Treat your luggage before leaving home.  Spraying luggage with a quality travel spray such as JTEaton Luggage Spray will provide 3 to 6 weeks of protection when traveling.  Follow the manufacturers directions. 

Treat Luggage with a Luggage Spray Before You Leave Home

3. Inspect your hotel room. Before bringing your luggage into the room.  Simply peel back any bed pads and sheets.  If you see brown or red markings along seams and near mattress labels the room might have a bed bug problem.  Call the manager immediately.  Keep your luggage on the luggage rack or other raised surface and at least 6 inches from the wall.

Bed Bug Fecal Matter on MattressIf You See Bed Bug Fecal Stains Like These, Call the Hotel Manager

For more bed bugs travel information download these bed bug travel tips (PDF) provided by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

To see if the New York apartments hotels you are planning to say in have a had a bed bug problem see the site Bed Bug Registry.  Just enter the name of the hotel name or apartment address.

how to Avoid Bed Bugs When Buying a New Home or Renting an Apartment in New York City

Bed bugs New York is becoming part of the pre-purchase inspection process for homes or apartments.  Many prospective buyers are checking condominium and co-op association minutes for references to bed bug problems.  If a building was treated, check to make sure that all apartments were included.  Individual homeowners may opt out, potentially allowing the problem to continue in the building.  Even if there was a problem, it may not be reflected in the minutes due to poor record keeping, so be sure to ask.

Every attempt to rid an apartment building for bed bugs will be noted.  Home inspectors are now adding bedbugs to their inspection checklist.  

When buying a home, a seller does not have to disclose a previous bed bug problem, however, legally they do have to let you know when directly asked.

This is not true when renting.  The New York State "right-to-know" law requires that landlords in New York City disclose a buildings bed bug history to potential tenants.  Commercial landlords, those that rent to businesses are not required to disclose problems. (A10356b).

New York City bedbug law was strengthened in 2011 requiring landlords to inspect and treat all apartments that are adjacent to an infested unit.  This includes apartments that are below, above and next door to the infested unit.

If an apartment is empty, a bed bug trap can be used to attract bed bugs as proof of their existence in an apartment.  It needs to be placed in a room for 2 weeks and obtained from a pest control company.  You can review various bed bug traps here.

Check this bed bugs New York website for information on New York City Bed Bug laws.

Instructions for New York City Tenants Fighting Bed Bugs

f you live in an apartment building and have a bed bug apartment problem in New York City, the best approach is always to alert the landlord and request treatment. The landlord is responsible for both treatment and the landlord must pay for bed bug treatment.  The law is clear:

          "tenants in New York have the right to a bedbug-free environment, which  is included in New York City's Housing and Maintenance Code, Subchapter 2, Article 4, which specifically names bedbugs in the list of insects the landlord is legally obligated to eradicate."

"The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) lists bedbugs as a Class B violation, which means that they are considered hazardous and that the landlord has 30 days to correct the problem. The landlord must eradicate the infestation and keep the affected units from getting re infested."

Source: New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

This is not the case in the rest of New York State. Check with your local department of health for New York Bed Bug relations and laws in your area of the State.

Advice for Home Owners

1. We always recommend hiring a bed bugs New York professional exterminator.  Bed bugs in the Northeast has shown resistance to many pesticides that work in other areas of the country and a professional will know which products are currently working.

When hiring a pest control company to fight bed bugs New York, experience does count since part of the challenge is knowing where to look. There are over 1,000 pest control companies in the New York Metropolitan area. A well known reputable company is essential to quickly treating the problem.  

Here are a few suggestions for finding a bed bugs New York company.  Since extermination is expensive, be sure to get more than 1 quote.  Check for the cost of an on-site evaluation and home inspection and and guarantees that are provided.

1. Get a quote from an experienced national firm. Be sure to check with 1 or 2 that know your neighborhood.

New York Bed bug treatment can be expensive. Inspections cost approximately $75 - $300 or more.  Bed bug sniffing dogs are often used as well, since bed bugs give off a raspberry like odor.  If a dog is used, expect to pay $300 - $500 just for the inspection..   The bed bug treatment itself can cost $1,000 or more depending on the method used (chemicals, heat, freezing carbon dioxide spray, heat chamber trucks).

Start by calling a national network with New York based independent exterminators such as Home Advisor. You can also call (877) 673-2704. Both sources pre-screen pest control companies and ensure that that are experienced, licensed, and insured.  Importantly, they will provide free quotes and confirm that you in fact have a bed bug infestation.

Compare these quotes to exterminators listed on our list of local NYC bed bugs pest control experts.  Be sure to ask local NYC bed bug companies questions such as their level of  experience with insecticides and what equipment and approaches have been effective in your specific neighborhood.   Also make sure that work is guaranteed in writing as often 2 to 3 treatments are needed.

Check our questions to ask a professional bed bug exterminator.

You can check on the any bed bugs New York pest control company by contacting the New York State Department of Environmental Conversation or call (718) 482-4994

new york bed bug insecticide resistance

Pyrethroids are the active ingredient in many over the counter insecticides. According to the  Journal of Medical Entomology, New York City bedbugs were up to 264 times more resistant to deltamethrin, a commonly used pyrethroid based pesticide, than easier-to-control Florida  bedbugs. When exposed to deltamethrin, New York City bedbugs were still alive.

Over use of this chemical on NYC bedbugs allowed them to evolve a mutation that makes them resistant to this chemical.  Most bedbugs in New York are resistant.  Unfortunately, two chemicals that were banned,DDT and Malathion, also show New York bed bug resistance, and are no longer effective, even if approved for sale.

Bed bugs New York problems can be treated with several over the counter products that show no bed bug resistance.  According to the University of Kentucky, the knock down insecticide based sprays Sterifab and Bedlam are 100% effective at killing NYC bed bugs. We recommend these products followed by the use of  Bed Bug Dust (apply to cracks and crevices)  to provide a long lasting barrier against insects you might have missed during treatment.  All three (2 sprays, dust) can be purchased together in a reasonably priced bed bug kit

Note that home do it yourself treatment only works well in small contained infestations. In an apartment or for large infestations call a professional exterminator.

Organic/natural bed bug sprays that use plant extracts such as Bed Bug Patrol work but will require more treatments and are effective, but not the degree of an insecticide based product.  These can be used as knock down sprays or as part of a larger bed bug treatment program.

step by step instructions for killing bed bugs in new york

If you believe that bed bugs are in an apartment or home that you own, or if you rent and want an extra level of protection, then you could follow these instructions.

It takes a combination of methods and products to kill bed bugs. The most effective way to rid your home of bed bugs is to arm yourself with information and the right products including sprays, powders, a steamer to kill bed bug eggs and bed bug proof mattress covers. All can be purchased in either an insecticide based  bed bug  kit. (recommended) or if you prefer, an organic bed bug kit. Both approaches will work if only your home or apartment is infested.  

For detailed information on eradicating bedbugs, read how to kill bed bugs.  it is not necessary to throw out a bed bug infested mattress or box spring.  Note that to help contain bed bugs, as of December 3, 2010, all mattresses and box springs that are thrown out, must be disposed of in a mattress disposal bag

The simple steps are to:

1. Clean Everything - You'll find up to 85% of bed bugs near the bed.  Be sure to vacuum all areas (dispose of the vacuum bag immediately and bring it outside of the home), check all objects and bag anything that can be carried to a washing machine and cleaned.  Wash all items in hot water followed by 30 minutes in the dryer. 

2. Treat - Use mattress safe products to spray all surfaces with products such as Bug Patrol spray (natural products) or Sterifab if you prefer insecticide based bed bug sprays.  Treat the box spring, bed frame, night tables etc.  Follow the manufacturers directions.

treating mattress with bed bugs sprayTreat With a Mattress Safe Spray such as Sterifab
treating furniture for bed bugsTreat the Inside of Furniture with Both a Knock Down Spray such as Sterifab which Kills Bed Bugs New York on Contact
Use a Bed Bug Spray that is proven to Kill Bed Bugs such as Bedlam along the baseboard around windows and other credit card width areas where bed bugs can hide

3. Steam - Use a steamer to kill any eggs and the bed bugs themselves.  Sprays will also kill bed bug eggs.  Steam all cracks, fabric seams etc.  Open a window to avoid the formation of mold from the dampness.  Steaming is optional.

4. Dust - Use a natural bed bug or fossil dust  spread in a thin layer around the room. When dust comes in contact with any bedbugs, it will kill the insects. When renovating, the dust can be placed inside walls to prevent bed bugs from moving from one room or apartment to another. It lasts forever and will kill bedbugs on contact. It can be easily used under furniture and in areas where liquids are dangerous such as around electrical outlets.

5.  Seal the Mattress and Box Spring - Buy a zippered bed bug mattress  (must say made for bed bugs on the label) and box spring cover to trap any bed bugs that are still in or around the mattress such as this one offered by   Even if you don't have bed bugs, a cover can prevent bed bugs from getting inside the mattress and box spring, making treatment easier later on.  

Covers DO NOT prevent a bed bug infestation, they only minimize the number of hiding places and make it unnecessary to dispose of a badly infested mattress or box spring.  Be sure to cover both the box spring and the mattress, as there could be more bed bugs hiding in the box spring than the mattress.

When disposing of any item that contains bed bugs make sure it is sealed and marked with a sign warning others not to take these items and re-use them.  This is particularly the case when disposing of furniture or a mattress so that the bed bugs New York problem doesn't get any worse.

News Stories

Scientists Map Bedbug Genome

Couple from California Describe New York Bed Bug Hotel Nightmare

NYC to Bust Bedbugs with New Regulations
- NBC New York

Cue the Exterminators: Bedbugs at Lincoln Center
Bed bugs Lincoln Center sighting confirmed.  Found in dressing rooms of David H. Koch Theater.
- NY times (10/14/10)

Law requires New York landlords to tell tenants about bedbugs

Bed Bugs in the Duvet
- New York Magazine (5/2/10)

A New Breed of Guard Dog Attacks Bedbugs
- NY Times (03/10/10)

Sleeping with the Enemy (Bed Bugs)
- New York Times (2009)

Boro with the most bedbug calls: B'klyn 42% jump in complaints to 311
- New York Daily News (2009)

Beds bugs are infiltrating hotels, news that is starting to make it around the world according to this
- BBC Radio 1 report.

UK Tourists bring Bed Bugs back from NYC to UK
- Nigerian Best Forum

BBC warns visitors to New York City to be wary—of bedbugs, not muggers - - Consumer Reports

Bedbug epidemic attacks New York City

When You see Garbage Bags that look like this, watch for bed bugs.

Buying and Selling in Bedbug City
- New York Times (8/23/09)

Bedbugs invading classrooms at alarming rate, but Education Dept. says there's no epidemic
- New York Daily News (11/5/2010)

government and local resources

To check for a licensed bed bugs New York exterminator and to report a Bed Bugs New York problem:

Home Advisor (to find an exterminator)

Bed Bugs Handbook New York Exterminator Database

New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

NYC 311 - Information on how to file a NYC bed bug complaint

NYC Mattress Disposal Rules - As of 12/3/10 in New York City mattresses and box springs must be disposed of in a mattress disposal bag

New York City Schools Bed Bug Kit


Each of these free brochures provides additional information on how to get rid of bed bugs in New York.

A guide for property owners, managers and tenants for identifying, treating and preventing a bed bug infestation.
Available in a free Ebook

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) answer to treating bed bugs.
Available in a free Ebook

Questions and answers

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