Bed Bug cases are declining in Cincinnati

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Data released from the Greater Cincinnati Survey conducted by the University of Cincinnati's Institute for Policy Research demonstrates that Cincinnati residents experiencing problems with bed bugs have declined from 22 percent in 2009 to 18 percent in 2010*.  Cincinnati Health Department officials point to this data as an indication that the City's aggressive outreach and education efforts are working.

These results are an encouraging sign that knowledge has been gained and applied about how to limit the spread of the pesky insects.

Beginning in 2008, the Cincinnati Health Department led an effort to assemble a consortium of organizations and experts from the City, County and State of Ohio to develop one of the first comprehensive Bed Bug Strategic Plans in the nation. Since that time many of the recommendations have been put into practice.

1)    Education. Often individuals have no idea how bed bugs spread, what should be done to limit transmission, or the best ways to eradicate them. A series of brochures, fliers, videos, public service announcements and other materials have been developed and distributed to the community.

2)    Outreach. The Health Department has met with and worked with schools, businesses, "big box retailers", pest control companies, local, state and federal government agencies and community groups to develop bed bug control policies and attend events to teach effective bed bud control and eradication measures.

3)    Surveillance. The Cincinnati Health Department is one of the first health jurisdictions in the nation to collect hard data which illustrates the scope of bed bugs in the City. In addition the health department licenses City hotels and motels, which allows for regular inspections and a quick response to bed bug complaints.

4)    Advocacy. The Health Department has worked with community partners and governments to apply for grants and lobby the EPA and other governmental entities for assistance with bed bug remediation.

Going forward it is critically important that the City continue to work in partnership with the general community, business community, and county, state and federal agencies to combat bed bugs.

"We know that we can make a difference if we work together to provide surveillance, resources and deliver accurate public messages. The City will continue to be aggressive in our response to this very difficult problem and welcome partnership and resources from other levels of government, such as the State of Ohio to assist us." Said Dr. Camille Jones Cincinnati Assistant Health Commissioner.

Though the Cincinnati Health Department has invested substantial resources in bed bug remediation efforts, the State of Ohio has not yet provided funding assistance to local governments.

Due to increased international travel and a growing resistance to approved pesticides, bed bugs have been on the rise across the US. Though these bugs are not known to transmit disease, they can be an expensive nuisance and cause substantial embarrassment and mental anguish for those experiencing an infestation.

When facing a bed bug infestation it is best to acquire the services of an experienced, licensed pest management professional.  Individuals attempting to combat the problem on their own are urged to only use approved pesticides, and to read and follow the label directions.