Bed bugs attack NYC schools

November 7, 2010 3:41:49 PM PST
School children are now learning a very tough lesson about bed bugs as the blood sucking insects have now become a way of life in many classrooms.

Peter Cohen has been teaching kindergarten for 23 years and has never seen it this bad.

"Students are required to put coats and book bags in big blue bags zip up and hang them up," teacher Peter Cohen said.

In the first two months of this year, we're told there were 336 confirmed cases of bed bugs in New York City public schools. Last year there were 135 cases.

While bed bugs have been spreading, officials say the city has been cutting back on exterminators.

Nine years ago, the city used to have 77 exterminators on hand and 149 pest control aides. Right now there are only 33 exterminators and only 28 pest control aides.

According to critics the procedure for dealing with bed bugs is self defeating. We're told if school employees spot the bug, they have to capture the nasty insect first, put it in an envelope and mail it to the Department of Education. Only after experts confirm it is a bed bug will someone be sent to the school. By then the bugs will have had free reign to multiply and burrow into the building.

Already, bed bugs have crashed Lincoln Center, stores, and even movie theatres. So it was only a matter of time before schools were invaded. But some officials say city response can be greatly improved.

"There's one simple way to deal with bed bugs," Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer said, "you gotta kill them."

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