Philly finally get rules for dealing with bed bugs under new bill

Pat Loeb
February 17, 2019 - 4:00 am



PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- Philadelphia is finally getting a bed bug policy. It's the only major city without one, and that's a serious problem when more than 10 percent of households in some neighborhoods have been infested. A bill introduced into City Council would set guidelines for property owners.

It's been a year-and-a-half since Mary's bed bug ordeal, but she's still dealing with the fallout, both financial and emotional.

"It was just traumatizing," she said. "I even had to go see a doctor for PTSD, because after that, any little dot I saw, I thought it was a bug."

Mary's not her real name. She'd rather not be known for this, but she was an unwitting victim. She rented a place in Bridesburg not knowing the previous tenants had moved out because of the pests. It took a few days and a lot of bites to figure out the place was infested.

"I want to see where they're coming from," she said, "so now I'm sitting up really late, I see them coming from the walls, from the flooring."

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She'd just bought all new furniture, but she left it behind.

"I sold a car to just get out." she said.

The new bill makes it clear, the owner is responsible for eradication and must disclose prior infestations, and have a containment plan, among other provisions. A task force of exterminators and housing activists worked on it for more than three years. Councilman Mark Squilla introduced it.

"Other cities have these regulations already in place," Squilla said, "and there's not reason Philadelphia can't be the same."