New York Tops List of Bed Bug Infested Cities Once Again

Macro photo of a bed bug

Every year, Orkin, a nationwide pest control company, releases a list of the cities in the United States suffering from the biggest bed bug problems. New York City is almost certainly always on that list. This year, New York climbed higher to the top of the list. It ranked as the 6th most bed bug-ridden city in the nation. Last year, it was number 8.

Which Borough Has the Most Bed Bug Violations?

It’s tough to say which of the city’s five boroughs has the most bed bugs. What we can track, however, are which parts of the city see the highest number of bed bug reports and violations. 

According to Localize.city, the following neighborhoods in NYC are the worst when it comes to bed bug violations:

  • Flatbush (Brooklyn)
  • West Harlem (Manhattan)
  • Morrisania (Bronx)
  • Tremont (Bronx)
  • Wakefield (Bronx)
  • Prospect-Leffers Gardens (Brooklyn)
  • Concourse (Bronx)
  • Highbridge (Bronx)
  • Central Harlem (Manhattan), and
  • Belmont (Bronx).

As you can see, Brooklyn and the Bronx have the highest reports of bed bugs in New York City. Two Manhattan neighborhoods also ranked in the top 10.

Violations Might Not Reflect Infestations

Does the fact that no Queens or Staten Island neighborhoods made Localize.city’s top 10 bed bug list mean that those boroughs are bed bug-free? No. As the report, itself, concedes, violations might not accurately reflect actual bed bug infestations in NYC. Instead, “experts believe tenants are increasingly going directly to their landlords with complaints rather than involving the city.” So, tenants are simply notifying their landlords about bed bug problems, rather than getting the government involved. As a result, we might not really appreciate the extent of New York City’s bed bug problem.

Why Are Bed Bug Violations Decreasing?

New York City ranks 6th on Orkin’s list of the 50 Worst Bed Bug Cities. At the same time, the Localize.city report notes that bed bug violations have dropped by 28 percent in recent years. How can that be? It might be due to the fact that New York City has implemented some new bed bug laws.

The Bedbug Disclosure Act “requires owners and lessors to notify new rental tenants of bedbug infestations that have plagued the building and the tenant’s individual unit during the previous year.” In other words, landlords and owners have to let building occupants know about any bed bug infestations identified in the last 12 months. 

Local Law 69, which became effective in 2017, requires certain building owners to report a bed bug infestation history to NYC’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development. The report has to reflect the history (or lack thereof) of bed bugs for each unit in a multi-family building, as well as the treatment and outcome of extermination.

Some experts believe that these laws – which make it harder for landlords and building owners to hide bed bugs – have an unintended consequence. Tenants and occupants seem to be reporting issues to landlords first, rather than calling the city to complain. Fewer reports lead to fewer violations. However, the bed bug problem seems to remain. Now it’s up to the landlord to do something about it.

What Can I Do If I Have a Bed Bug Problem in NYC?

There are a few steps you can take. Here’s what you need to know.

Report the infestation: If you rent or lease, tell your landlord. If you own a home in an apartment building or multi-family building, tell the owner. If you’re in a hotel, notify management right away. Reporting your bed bug problem is the first step in getting the issue resolved.

Take photos: Document any damage that the bed bugs might have caused. Look for holes in your clothing or upholstered furniture or curtains. If you were bitten, take photos of the wound and any related injuries.

Hire pest control: If your landlord or building owner doesn’t, call a pest control company and have them come out to fumigate your home. Keep a receipt – if your the beg bug issue is a result of your landlord’s negligence, they might have to foot the bill.

Seek medical attention: Sometimes bed bugs will bite. They’re drawn to our warm bodies and the carbon dioxide we exhale. While most bed bug bites are minor and heal on their own over time, that’s not always the case. A bed bug bite can cause an infection which, left untreated, can be really serious. At the same time, the emotional trauma and distress related to a bed bug infestation can be just as devastating as any physical harm you sustain.

Consult a personal injury attorney in NYC: Bed bugs are a pretty big problem in NYC. Many times, infestations happen because owners and landlords cut corners or fail to take action when they’re told about the pests. If your bed bug infestation and injuries happened for these reasons, you might be entitled to compensation. An experienced NYC bed bug lawyer can help you understand your options and fight to get you the money you deserve.