U.S. Representative G. K. Butterfield
1st District of North Carolina
For Release: Immediate
Date: May 5, 2009
Contact: Ken Willis
Phone: (202) 225-3101
Butterfield: Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite
Washington, D.C. – Seeking to stem the growing national infestation of bedbugs, Congressman G. K. Butterfield has sponsored the “Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite Act.”
“After being virtually eradicated, there’s been an enormous resurgence of bed bugs across the country,” Butterfield said.
According to Orkin Pest Control, bed bugs can again be found in every state in the United States after a 50-year absence. And, according to the National Pest Management Association, bed bug complaints have increased 50-fold over the last five years.
And, faced with rising numbers of complaints to city information lines and increasingly frustrated landlords, hotel chains and housing authorities, the Environmental Protection Agency hosted its first-ever bedbug summit last month.
In an effort to help stem this problem, Butterfield has sponsored the “Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite Act of 2009.” The bill would authorize that $50 million would come from within the U.S. Department of Commerce’s existing budget.
Last year, Butterfield offered similar legislation that only dealt with hotels. This year, the bill has been broadened to better address the problem by including multi-family housing along with lodging establishments.
Specifically, the legislation would establish a state bed bug inspection matching grant program using funds authorized to the Department of Commerce. Funding would be made available to states to establish inspection, prevention and eradication procedures and programs. In order to qualify for the funds, states must require the inspection of at least 20 percent of all of its hotel rooms.
The bill would also expand an existing grant program managed by the Department of Health and Human Services that already provides funds for cockroach and rodent control to be used for bed bug prevention and control.
Finally, the bill would requires public housing agencies to include in annual plans required by the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development measures necessary for the management of bed bugs, similar to their current responsibility to manage cockroaches.
The bipartisan bill has been co-sponsored by Don Young, R-Alaska, Ben Chandler, D-Ky., Bobby Rush, D-Ill., Betty McCollum, D-Minn., Corrine Brown, D-Fla., Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., and Brad Miller, D-N.C.
Small, but visible to the naked eye, bed bugs are reddish brown in color and feed on blood. Female bed bugs can lay up to five eggs in a day and 500 during a lifetime. Experts say they often hide along headboards, in chairs, couches and dressers.