DGHD offers help against bed bugs

By Stacy Kess

April 8, 2014

The Delaware General Health District is offering help to low-income residents for treatment of bed bugs.

Bed bugs are considered a pest of public health significance and have been discussed as problematic in Ohio. Infestations must be treated to prevent further spread, said DGHD spokesperson Traci Whittaker.

“Because bed bugs are shown to not carry disease, there are no regulations on reporting a bed bug problem,” said Adam Howard, DGHD Residential Services Unit manager. “It is an under-reported problem, but on occasion we will receive calls from people self-reporting and seeking advice on what to do.”

DGHD efforts to control and prevent bed bug infestations include collecting and analyzing bed bug activity, holding workshops and distributing educational materials and publications.

The DGHD is now also offering the Bed Bug Treatment Forgiveness Loan, which provides qualifying homeowners with 50 percent of treatment cost – up to $500 – from a licensed pest management company.

“The price of bed bug treatment can be somewhat costly,” Howard added. “We thought of this program as a way to help residents combat a problem they may not have been able to without our assistance.”

Whittaker said bed bugs are often found in hotels, dormitories, apartment complexes, movie theatres and other places frequented by people. Bed bugs do not fly, but walk and attach to surfaces; they hide in cracks and crevices during the day, and often hide in mattresses, box springs, bed frames, furniture, electrical outlets and wall hangings.

Signs of bed bugs include small black dots near hiding sites, eggs, shed skins, blood stains and small welts from bites.

Those who qualify for the Bed Bug Forgiveness Loan must meet the following requirements:

• The owner of the home must live in the home and within the Health District.

• Home must be a free standing single unit (not a duplex or apartment) and must not have more than a single family living in it.

• Owner must have lived in the home for at least one year.

• The property or owner must not have received this forgiveness loan within the last 24 months.

• The total gross household income must be at or below 200 percent of poverty.

• A letter must be provided from a pest management company stating bed bugs are present in the home.

DGHD will also hold a bed bug awareness workshop from 10 a.m. to noon today in the Health District basement. To register for the workshop or for more information on bed bugs, call 740-368-1700.

DGHD asks that no insects be brought to this workshop for identification.