After receiving dozens of bed bug complaints, a North Carolina county health department wants to revoke the license of a Charlotte hotel and shut it down. Under current North Carolina law; however, that’s not likely to happen. In North Carolina and the majority of other states across the U.S., health codes and state laws don’t give officials the power to force hotel and motel owners to stop renting rooms infested with bed bugs.
Why not? outraged consumers want to know. There are a couple of reasons:
- Bed bug infestations are a relatively new problem. While bed bugs were common in the U.S. before World War II, use of the powerful insecticide DDT virtually wiped these blood-feeding pests from U.S. soil in the 1950s. The banning of DDT in the 1970s and increased affordability of international air travel brought bed bugs crawling back to the U.S. in the early 2000s, usually as stowaways in the luggage of international travelers. It’s only in the past few years that infestations of these prolific pests have become numerous enough to register on the public radar, explain NJ pest control experts who say bed bugs are now a serious problem in all 50 states.
- Bed bugs are classified as a nuisance pest because they do not transmit harmful diseases to humans. Pests that do not present a public health threat are rarely regulated. As bed bug infestations have spread, this is slowly changing. In New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois and other states where bed bug infestations have reached epidemic proportions, bed bugs have been declared a health nuisance and some states, including New Jersey, have passed laws governing pest control responsibilities. Even though these insects are not known to transmit disease, secondary infection from scratching bed bug bites, the psychological horror of being nibbled on while you sleep, and the rapid spread of these pests concern many, paving the way for legal regulation.
For more information on bed bugs in New Jersey, please click here.