In early July a tenant reported finding a bedbug in his apartment on the sixth floor of our multi-unit apartment building with 46 units on six floors. The building manager was reluctant to respond and did not take decisive action. The tenant then went to the Tenant Board to seek reprieve. The bug contained by the tenant was submitted for identification to Pest Management. At that time, no treatment was offered until after identification. On June 20th, a dog was brought in to identify other infes
ted apartments. On the fifth floor, a “major” infestation was identified in the apartment of an elderly man with Compulsive Hoarding Syndrome and a history of bringing items in off the street. He was self-treating the infestation by pinching the bugs between his fingers. Considerable time had passed between source identification and treatment on July 12th or 19 days later. Due to social issues, and the collection of personal belongings and clutter within the apartment to capacity, and an inability to prepare for conventional spray treatment by the Pest Control Operator [PCO] it was decided that the apartment would be heat treated. It appears that notification was NOT filed with the Department of Public Health’s Environmental Health Section. Further we are not aware that in-house support from the Department of Human Service was offered to the elderly tenant. Adjacent apartments below and to the sides of the apartment were sprayed by the PCO. However, the apartments above the infestation were not treated although bed bugs are known to travel 20 ft. in any direction to find a new host. Subsequent to the heat treatment, the tenant directly above the source infestation reported blood smears on sheets over a period of a couple of weeks, but only intermittently. The tenant with the new infestation only learned later that blood spots indicate bed bugs, because no bed bugs were located on the mattress at that time. When confronted with this news, the manager was again reluctant to treat the apartment citing high cost, and denied treatment until actual bed bugs were found within the apartment. Although traps were issued by the owner, no bed bugs were collected. A neighbor, also the original reporting tenant, called the building owner for a redress of the issue, and the manager was informed by the owner that he would have to spray the other apartment. Adjacent apartments over the original source infestation and adjacent to the new infestation have not been sprayed at this time. The process seems inconsistent with the steps outlined in the “Directors Rules and Regulations—How to Control Bed bug Infestation” outlined by the San Francisco Department of Public Health.
Many feel frustration over the slow response and lack of building wide treatment, in addition to anxiety around getting a good night’s sleep.