The Federal Government recently approved a $550,000 grant aimed at tackling the ongoing bed bug epidemic. The Environmental Protection Agency has distributed over half a million dollars among five state health departments and universities to research, treat and report on the most effective counter-measures for ridding residential neighborhoods from the blood-sucking pest, using mostly non-toxic and integrated pest control methods.
The University of Missouri St. Louis will be working with building inspectors and social service agencies that accommodate low-income and immigrant neighborhood of the St. Louis metro area. The university’s findings will later be converted into a mobile-friendly website that anyone will be able to access from their smartphone.
Texas AgriLife Extension Service (Texas A&M University) will work with nearby shelters to address living habits. Shelter workers will be trained to inspect, implement mattress encasement and modify living structure if needs be. Workers will also be trained to treat bed bugs head on, using quarantine and heat methods.
Rutgers University will implement a state-wide outreach program, working with more than 50 communities in New Jersey. The objective will be to design a community-based, integrated pest management model. The program will feature steps of detection, non-chemical and limited chemical eradication.
The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Michigan Department of Community Health have both been assigned with projects expected to last up to 24 months. The Maryland Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene will be providing training and technical materials to residents, service agencies and retail operators that operate some of the poorest zip codes on Baltimore City and county health offices around in Maryland. These service agencies include business that service low-income residents, housing agencies, secondhand good stores, health care providers and local pest product vendors. The Michigan Dept. of Community Health will be doing similar tasks, but with the additional assignments of developing a model for a local bed bug task force and “toolkit” for use by local government and agencies.
All five organizations will be networking and communicating with each other regarding their discoveries since all five anticipate their encounters and research will draw many similar conclusions.
While this is the government’s biggest initiative to date to combat bed bugs, this federal grant is paled by Canadian province Ontario’s $5 million effort. The province approved their bed bug budget in January that will aid local education programs and help vulnerable populations that may not able to afford professional assistance.
Canada is taking their bed bug issues very seriously. Some RV owners have even reported that upon crossing the Canadian border, they have been asked to provide proof that their motor homes, including the RV Mattress, have been properly inspected and/or treated recently for bed bugs.