Bed bugs called ‘huge problem’ in Albion and Orleans County

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 October 2013 at 12:00 am

Photo from Wikipedia – Bed bugs are typically active at night when people are sleeping. They feed on blood.

ALBION – They first attracted major notice a few years ago in New York City when bed bugs bit people at night, and infested many city hotels.

The tiny insects, about a quarter inch long, have spread throughout the state, including to Orleans County. A County Health Department official has told village trustee Eileen Banker there is a “huge problem” with bed bugs in the county, Banker said at tonight’s Village Board meeting.

The Health Department has offered to meet with village officials to discuss strategies for combating the pest. The bed bugs are active at night, biting people to feed on their blood.

Village officials and local landlords have been meeting with the Health Department for more than a year, advising tenants and residents on precautions to reduce their risk.

Code Enforcement Officer Ron Vendetti said he currently has 15 reported cases of bed bugs in the village. If an rental is infested and it’s vacant, landlords are responsible for treating the problem, Vendetti said.

He cautioned against putting the blame on landlords. Many of tenants and home owners bring bed bugs into their residences, Vendetti said. Children can bring them home from school or from a friend’s house. Adults can unknowingly bring them in after they return home.

Vendetti suspects some people introduce bed bugs to their homes when they pick up discarded furniture from along the road.

“It’s definitely an issue but it’s not something you want to start knee-jerking and passing things,” Vendetti told the Village Board.

Mayor Dean Theodorakos said he would invite a public health official to a village board meeting. Vendetti said he welcomes a partnership with the public health department on the problem, but he said it can’t be a village code enforcement issue primarily.

“I want to help, but I don’t want the whole ball of wax,” he said.