By W. Alexander Noland, Esq., Partner, SwedelsonGottlieb, Community Association Attorneys
What exactly is a bedbug? Bedbugs are insects. They are reddish brown, oval and flat, about the size of an apple seed. Decades ago, bedbugs were eradicated from most developed nations using dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (commonly known as DDT) — a pesticide that has since been banned because it's so toxic. There has been a resurgence of bedbugs in the United States in recent years as a result of increased international travel, changes in pest control practices, and insecticide resistance. And several of our condominium association clients have reported units infested with these little bugs.
Despite their small size, bedbugs are a problem. Bedbugs bite the exposed skin of sleeping humans to feed on their blood, and they often take refuge in clothes or luggage left nearby on the floor after feeding on their human hosts. During the day, bedbugs hide in the cracks and crevices of beds, box springs, headboards and bed frames, and they can also can be found under peeling paint and loose wallpaper, under carpeting near baseboards, in upholstered furniture seams, and under light switch plates or electrical outlets. Experts have stated that bedbugs don't care if their environment is clean or dirty (all they need is a warm host and plenty of hiding places), and that otherwise immaculate homes and hotels can harbor bedbugs. In July of 2010, clothing retailers Hollister and Abercrombie & Fitch had to temporarily close their flagship stores in New York City to eliminate bedbug infestations, likely stemming from bedbugs being on the clothing of visitors to their stores.
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