New York City’s Department of Health is considered the local authority on bed bug prevention. So how could the department’s home office wind up with a bed bug infestation?
Five of the building’s 21 floors are reported to be infested. The agency confirmed a “small number” of bed bugs, and stated that there was no evidence of infestation elsewhere in the building. They claim that the bed bugs were most likely stray hitchhikers. “Employees were notified through their supervisor, and were provided information about how to prevent the spread of bugs, and were encouraged to report sightings,” a representative explained.
The $316 million dollar headquarters opened after its completion just three years ago. This is the second time in a year that bed bugs have been found in it. The first incident occurred last September, when the 19th floor was evacuated after a single bed bug was sighted, according to a statement at the time. “There was no evidence of an infestation,” the statement noted.
The Department of Health is the most recent of several prominent New York City locations that have been found with bed bugs. The Lincoln Center, New York Public Library, and United Nations headquarters have also played host to recent infestations.
It makes sense that these buildings might get infested by bed bugs. They see a lot of foot traffic: the Department of Health houses 4,000 employees, and the other locations mentioned see thousands of visitors every day. Bed bugs are expert travelers; they spread from place to place by hiding in the folds and seams of clothing, purses, briefcases, and luggage. The most common way to get a bed bug infestation is by introducing them to your home from a public place, such as an airport, public transit, or a city building.
New York City ranked #2 in our list of America’s 10 worst bed bug cities. The city has been fighting a rise in bed bugs for years, and the epidemic appears to be showing no signs of slowing down. With its dense urban population and strong reliance on public transportation, the bed bugs have an easy time moving around the Big Apple.