Washington, DC

by Prince Of Petworth May 21, 2020 at 12:45 pm 0

“Dear PoPville,

So an apartment adjacent to mine (apparently not a neighbor because we got the same email) has bed bugs! Our apartment building is doing a treatment barrier with a pest management company. Should I consider this writing on the wall?

Any tips? Should I start putting all my clothing now in plastic bags before it’s too late?”

by Prince Of Petworth November 26, 2019 at 2:45 pm 0

“Dear PoPville,

Bed bugs are creatures from nightmares. Thousands of them can hide in cracks around your home, and feed on you while you sleep. According to the CDC they are a public health hazard that causes enormous psychological and physical harm. I know – I suffered from a four-year long bed bug infestation. I own a row-home in Northwest DC. My neighbors harbored a gigantic infestation. For four years, bed bugs crawled from that neighboring property into my home through the wall we share. I repeatedly offered to pay the full cost to exterminate the infestation. My neighbors repeatedly refused. The infestation spread to five houses down our block. My ANC representative, DCRA and DOH wanted to help, but lacked the authority to step in. It took, multiple appearances in Superior Court, 4 professional exterminator companies, several community mediators, and over 30 treatments to end this nightmare. I took a second job just to pay the extermination fees. I still wake up at night when I feel a hair on my arm move because I think the bugs are back again.

My story is surprisingly common. Americans spent $611 million in 2016 combating bed bugs. Washington DC is the second most infested city in the country. Those treatment costs are so high because of multi-dwelling infestations–infestations that cover several adjoining apartments or row-homes. In one case, an infestation that began in one unit spread to 68 others costing more than $200,000 over 3 years. Multi-dwelling infestations persist because a few occupants refuse to get treatment.

Tragically, tenants and low-income residents in DC are the most at risk. (more…)

by Prince Of Petworth April 18, 2017 at 12:30 pm 62 Comments


“Dear PoPville,

We are certain we have bed bugs! Not too many…yet. A couple live ones today but no other real signs except for a some bites that have been going on for the last few weeks.

Not sure if they’re coming from one of our next door neighbors, which are both group houses (with landlords that aren’t rolling in dough) or from our frequent travel. Could have come in with our dog from boarding or the dog park… But the origin doesn’t matter as much as the solution – except the neighbors aren’t going to pay to remediate based on our experiences (nor should they) so any solution that costs a lot and leaves us open to reinfestation seems silly.

We are planning on bagging the box spring and mattress, washing and drying the hell out of bedding, vacuuming, etc etc. Seems like a decent path to at least try… (more…)

by Prince Of Petworth May 29, 2014 at 1:25 pm 42 Comments

“Dear PoPville,

I’m writing after a long night of itching and anxiety. My house recently became infested with bedbugs. This is something I’ve NEVER experienced before until recently when my upstairs roommate complained that they were in her room. She called the landlord, and a he sent a guy over to spray and inspect. Just a few days later, they’re in my room and I’m getting bit. I’m trying to do all the right things — isolate my bed, double/triple wash and dry my clothes, purchasing natural remedies — but online research isn’t making me feel optimistic. I’ve complained to my landlord again, but he doesn’t seem to have any sense of urgency about this situation. I’m just getting really sad and anxious that this is going to go on for a long time, and I’ll have to stay covered up this summer so that people don’t see my bites.

Have you heard of any success stories or remedies that worked PERMANENTLY for people in DC getting rid of bed bugs?”

Ed. Note: We first spoke about one reader’s experience with bed bugs in 2010 and Tony’s battle with them shortly thereafter. We spoke about them here in 2011 and most recently last summer.

by Prince Of Petworth August 28, 2013 at 2:15 pm 19 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user p.bjork

Help! Neighbor has bed bugs?

“Over the past few months, we have spotted bed bugs in our semi-detached row house (we have one household that shares our insular wall). They have been few and far between – six in the past three months – all but one have been adults and one was a “fresh out of the egg, first stage nymph.” Two of the adults and the nymph has been feeding since they were full of blood when killed.

We have stripped EVERYTHING down and have found nothing. No spots, no carcasses, and nothing reminiscent after washing and drying all of our clothes and linens. We took apart the couch and bed – still, nothing. Lastly, we bought diatomaceous earth powder and sprinkled that in areas that would be common for bed bugs.

When it comes down to it, we suspect the bugs are not coming from our house, but coming from the attached neighbor’s house because all areas where we have found them are adjacent to the neighbor’s house.

The ultimate dilemma is that the family next door is low-income, living off of the handicapped mother’s SSI, and exterminations are really costly. We haven’t asked them about the bed bugs yet, but wonder if others have dealt with this and how would folks suggest resolving the issue.”

You can see all forum topics and add your own here.

by Prince Of Petworth June 8, 2011 at 5:30 pm 9 Comments

From an email:

Thursday, June 9
7:30-9:30 a.m.
Columbia Heights Metro (14th St and Irving St NW)

10:00 a.m. – noon
Gallery Place-Chinatown Metro (7th St and H St NW)

1:00 – 3:30 p.m.
U Street Metro (13th and U St NW)

Dr. Gibb, an entomologist, has been studying bed bugs for years and can discuss their habits, how they work, and identifying an infestation. (He has tips like putting your suitcase in the bathtub, checking behind headboard for bugs, how to check mattresses and sofas, etc.)

by Prince Of Petworth March 29, 2011 at 11:00 am 1,424 30 Comments

“Dear PoP,

I have a major issue with bed bugs and am looking for some guidance. I live in a rowhouse with a boatload of roommates, and I discovered bugs in my room late last last year. About two and a half month ago, I hired a great pest control company to come have one of those bed bug-sniffing dogs inspect the house. We had bugs in my room and one other.

I know it’s DC law that, in a single-family rented unit, tenants have to pony up to get rid of bugs, but I figured the property owner would have a vested interest in at least helping solve the problem. Ha. No such luck. Property management basically said, “sucks to be you.” No pun intended. Anyway.

I’d read all over the place that chemical treatment requires multiple rounds and isn’t as effective as “thermal remediation” (you know, where they bring in giant heaters and essentially bake the room.) So, I swallowed hard and footed the bill to have the two rooms treated. Cost? $1300. That was with a discount, mind you. I’m fresh out of school, so this was NOT easy to afford.

Long story short, I found a live bug ON ME yesterday. I have no idea how they came back because believe me … the pest control company treated the holy heck out of my room. My guess is that they’re coming from one of the adjoining townhomes, in which case, I may NEVER be able to get rid of them. The two rooms in our house that had bugs aren’t even adjacent at all; the only thing they share in common is a wall that connects to one neighboring house. I saw a pest control van outside that house not too long ago. If they sprayed pesticides, it could’ve sent them scattering back over my way.

I can afford one more round of extermination, but I want it to be my last one — maybe getting a moving van treated instead of the room. There’s no point treating my room again because they’ll just come back. And my landlord seems to have NO desire to help.

So, what can I do? Is this grounds to terminate a lease? I still have three months left on the lease, and it’s almost cheaper to swallow the rent than have to pay for rounds upon rounds for treatment that probably won’t work. This is driving me insane. I’m desperate (and darn near broke.)”

Terrifying. What do you guys suggest – is this grounds to terminate the lease? Does anyone have experience successfully removing bedbugs from their homes/apartments?

We spoke about one reader’s experience with bed bugs here and Tony’s battle with them here.

by Eric Nuzum January 6, 2011 at 9:00 am 3,228 58 Comments

Okay, so here is a hypothetical quandary for you to ponder upon.

Let’s say that you are the head of a large science foundation. You have two proposals on your desk for funding. One would develop a technology that would rid the Washington, DC region of all rats and mice. The other proposal would develop a technology to rid the Washington, DC region of all cockroaches and bed bugs.

Times have been tough at your large science foundation–and both these proposals are wildly expensive. Therefore, you can only fund one of them.

Which do you chose? Rodents or insects?

As always, there are some complicating factors…

First, do to a number of complex side effects of both technologies, getting rid of one group might (but is not guaranteed to) increase the strength and number of the other group (in other words, get rid of the rats/mice might increase the number of cockroaches and bed bugs, and vice versa).

Secondly, doing nothing is not an option. Both populations are on the verge of an explosion and inaction won’t cut it. I know you all are accustomed to working in Washington, DC, but we ACTUALLY HAVE TO MAKE A DECISION AND DO SOMETHING (hypothetically, of course).

No hair-splitting, nuanced answers, or clever alternative solutions–one choice: rodents VS bugs. You have to chose one or the other.

What do you do? And why?

by Prince Of Petworth October 25, 2010 at 1:30 pm 5 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user ewilfong

Read Tony’s battle with bed bugs here.

From DOH:

“The DC Department of Health is organizing a summit titled “Bed Bugs Are Changing Our World” on January 13, 2011 at 9:00 AM to 4 PM at 441 4th Street NW, Room 1107. The summit will include a discussion about the District’s latest campaign efforts to end bed bugs in our City. Additionally, we will share new information and ideas on collaborative approaches to dealing with the pests with multi-agency involvement. At the summit we will aim to leave participants with new opportunities for action, and to start the dialogue on creative and effective approaches to dealing with bed bugs.

Keynote speaker Larry Pinto, Entomologist with over 25 years as a pest control consultant, technical writer, and publisher of pest control materials including Techletter for Pest Control Technicians and the Bed Bug Handbook.

Speakers and RSVP info after the jump. (more…)


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