Bedbug City: 1 in 10 New Yorkers Has Grappled with Bedbugs in their Home


bedbugBedbugs are taking over New York. A new Daily News-Marist poll suggests that The City That Never Sleeps is probably too busy itching: One in 10 New Yorkers has now battled bedbugs in their home.

That’s twice as many as the city estimated were plagued by the pests in 2009.

The poll results suggest that more than 800,000 New Yorkers have had bloodsucking bedbugs crawling in their sheets.

“I got all chewed up,” said Margaret Martinez, 61, of the Bronx, one of the 11% of poll respondents who reported having personal run-ins with the tiny bloodthirsty insects.

“I woke up and I had bites all over my arms and my face. I was all swollen,” she said.

From swanky glass lofts to creaky tenement walkups, the plague of parasites appears to have spread fairly evenly across the five boroughs.

But money makes a difference: Twice as many people who made less than $50,000 a year had bedbugs, compared with those with higher incomes. Only 2% of Republicans had bedbugs, while 12% of Democrats did.

Though infestations at downtown hotels and boutiques get most of the attention, Manhattan is the borough with fewest workplace bedbugs, according to the survey conducted by the Marist poll for the Daily News.

Ten percent of respondents in Queens, Staten Island and Brooklyn reported bedbugs at work, as did 8% of Bronx residents, but just 3% of Manhattanites were afflicted.

Bedbugs are hard to see and hard to kill. The size of a rice grain, they only move around at night and can go many months without feeding. They spread by hitching rides on clothes, luggage or used furniture.

Nearly eradicated by DDT in the 1940s, they are back – and extra pesticide-resistant.

Upper West Side City Councilwoman Gale Brewer said panicked bedbug calls to 311 shot up 33% last year.

“Our phone rings off the hook with bedbug questions,” she said. “There are many other stores with bedbugs out there that are not in the press.”

The city recently allocated half a million dollars in anti-bedbug funds and is considering naming a bedbug “czar” so New Yorkers can sleep tight.

The News poll found half the city doesn’t think officials are doing enough to stamp out the bloodsuckers.

The poll also found 67% of New Yorkers think the best way to discover bedbugs is to see their bites. But scientists say only 50% of people are allergic to bedbug secretions – the rest never develop visible bites.

“There’s just not a lot of common knowledge about bedbugs,” said Dan Kass, an assistant commissioner at the city’s Department of Health.

“We’re now at the point with the resurgence of bedbugs that everyone will have to start looking for them.”

{NY Daily News/ Newscenter}


  1. First it was the vegetables, then NYC water, then the fish, now bugs are in our beds. When will it end!? We need a mekubal!
    I still can’t figure out how the shaitel’s fit with this….

  2. Well at least we don’t have a halachic problem with the bedbugs, unlike the others. I don’t know anyone who eats his bed 🙂