Bed bugs an epidemic in the city?

Campaign devised to alert city
January 15, 2008 3:45:17 PM PST
New York City is firing up a battle plan to turn back the invasion of bed bugs all over the city. There have been outbreaks in Brooklyn, Queens and on Manhattan's Upper East Side. The creatures have rampaged through tenements, churches, bodegas, taxi garages and upscale co-ops overlooking the Hudson River.

The city will unveil a new plan Wednesday morning to alert New Yorkers about the epidemic. Also, next month, community meetings will start warning people about the right and wrong ways to get rid of the bloodsuckers.

The blitz comes two weeks after it was reported that the blood-sucking nocturnal pests have spread panic in some of the city's hottest neighborhoods - infesting even Upper East Side luxury apartments owned by Governor Eliot Spitzer's father.

"Rich people get bed bugs and poor people get bed bugs," said City Councilwoman Gale Brewer, who has sponsored a bill that would create a bed bug task force.

More community forums will follow in two other neighborhoods with recent bedbug outbreaks: Astoria on Feb. 5, and Bushwick, Brooklyn, on March 12.