“Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite” Act of 2009 – Federal legislation aimed at helping to more effectively manage ever-growing infestations of the blood-sucking pest.
Virtually non-existent in the United States from the 1950s through the late 1990s, the bed bug population has rebounded dramatically over the last several years, and infestations have now been reported in all 50 states and in a myriad of settings. Experts cite the use of more targeted pest-specific control methods and increased international travel as the primary reasons for the resurgence.
Introduced by Congressman G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina, the multi-faceted legislation provides critical resources to state and local officials to combat bed bug outbreaks in lodging facilities, residential housing and other settings. Specifically, the bill:
- Establishes a state bed bug inspection grant program within the Department of Commerce for states to use to help fund inspections of lodging facilities;
- Expands an existing grant program managed by the Department of Health and Human Services that already provides funds to states for cockroach and rodent control to be used for bed bug prevention and control;
- Requires public housing agencies to include in annual plans, required by the secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, measures necessary for the management of bed bugs, similar to their current responsibility to manage cockroaches; and
- Directs the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to investigate the public health implications of bed bugs.
The bill’s introduction comes on the heels of last month’s National Bed Bug Summit. Hosted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the event drew almost 300 state and federal regulatory, public health, and housing officials, academics, landlords/property managers, pest professionals and other key stakeholders.