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Dear PoP – Bed Bugs!


Photo by PoPville flickr user rockcreek

“Dear PoP,

We moved into our DC row house about a year ago. Within three months, my wife started getting bitten by some kind of insect at night that caused painful allergic reactions that swelled, itched, and literally keep her from sleeping. It’s a nightmare.

We contracted a pest control company, who quickly discovered we had bed bugs. After 5 or 6 home treatments with heavy chemicals (it normally only takes two)…the bed bugs are a bad as ever.

We finally hired a pest control company with a bed bug-sniffing dog to come and try and identify the source of the bugs, and during the course of the inspection the pest inspector became increasing convinced the bed bugs were coming from our next-door neighbor’s row house, with whom we share a brick wall.

He knocked on their door, and they actually let him bring the bug-sniffing dog inside, who immediately signaled they had bed bugs too. In reality, he didn’t need the dog because he said he could literally see bugs crawling on their walls. They also told him that they “get bitten all the time”, yet have done nothing about it.

I am guessing that part of the reason why they’ve done nothing is because that bed bug treatment of a typical DC row house can range from $1K-$3K…and our neighbors are a low-income household.

But the following realization hit us like a ton of bricks. No matter what we do…as long as our neighbor has bed bugs…we will too. Which brings me to my question.

Does anyone know if there are any DC government programs that provide bed bug treatment services to low-income households? Is there anyway to “seal off” the porous brick walls of a DC row house to keep bugs from coming through? Has anyone been in a similar situation…and how did they successfully deal with it?”

This is a terrifying scenario. I know bed bugs have also hit New York City pretty badly. Any advice or suggestions for this particular situation besides moving?

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