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Phila. Councilman Calls For Hearings on Bed Bug Infestations in City

By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- They're not deadly, but they certainly are annoying.  They're bed bugs, and Philadelphia City Council plans a hearing on the insects that lawmakers believe are a growing problem in the city.

First District councilman Mark Squilla says he has anecdotal evidence from his constituents that bed bugs are becoming a more frequent problem, particularly in row homes where they can easily spread from one house to another.

"Neighbors have had bed bugs, and it's creeping into their properties," Squilla says, "and those people can't afford to get the bed bugs exterminated.  If you have a person who is on a fixed income, and they found out they have bed bugs, the cost could be thousands of dollars in extermination fees, not counting materials you might have to buy to encase your mattresses and get rid of some of the stuff you have."

And he notes that getting rid of the bed is not always the answer:

"They're also in your woodwork, your receptacles, any place that's warm."

So, Squilla wants City Council's Public Health Committee to hold a hearing on bed bug infestations.

Experts believe that bed bugs declined in the second half of the 20th century due to greater public awareness and more prompt extermination.

Squilla believes the bugs have adapted.

"They're back.  They're back stronger.  And they're resistant to some of the chemicals and other means that they used to get rid of bed bugs at that time," he said.

No date set yet for the bed bug hearing.


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