Dealing with bed bugs: Do DIY treatments work?

Pest control pro says no, city says call landlord

Aug20 Bedbugs

Bed bugs

By Sabina Mollot

Last week, Town & Village received a letter from a resident of the East Village who had dealt with a bed bug problem in her home and said she had some luck getting rid of the bugs using a variety of home remedies.

The woman, who didn’t want her name published, wrote:

“I had a bedbug situation and researched everything to get rid of them. I did get rid of them and here’s the way I did it. Food grade diatomaceous earth is the answer.”

She then included a link to an online pest control product store called Do My Own Pest Control, which has a page of information on diatomaceous earth, as well as tips for treating an infestation.

“Also very effective,” the author of the letter added, “is spraying tea tree oil on your mattress and covers and also lavender oil sprayed around will also repel these ugly bugs.”

In response to her suggestions, T&V reached out to get opinions on whether or not do-it-yourself bed bug elimination, in particular through the products suggested above, is at least worth a shot.

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Letters to the Editor, Sept. 24

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

In cases of bed bugs, just inspect the building

Recently, my Peter Cooper Village neighbor (who is in her nineties) discovered that her apartment has a bed bug infestation. She is now going through the same horrible situation that many others have gone through to exterminate bed bugs.

When I spoke to management about this situation and expressed my concerns over the possibility of bed bugs spreading to other apartments, I was informed that their policy is to inspect the two adjacent apartments and the apartment above and below the infested apartment. The Tenants Association Bed Bug Registry, which lists the building and floor (but not apartment number) where tenants have reported being infested, refers to this on their website ( as the Cloverleaf Inspection.

Several months before my neighbor’s apartment was infested, the apartment adjacent to my neighbor was inspected and she did not have bed bugs. That indicates one or both of the apartments above and below the apartment next to my neighbor’s apartment must have been infested with bed bugs. If management knows that there have been at least two instances of bed bugs in 531 East 20th Street in Peter Cooper Village, why are they not inspecting the whole building? There are many apartments in both Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvesant Town that are having bedbug infestation problems. Bed bugs go through the walls into other apartments.

On many websites that discuss bed bug problems it is recommended that caulking from the baseboard to the floor should be done in apartments that have bed bugs. To the best of my knowledge, management is not doing this simple procedure.

We are all in this together and the next apartment might be yours. We need management to give all tenants in Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvesant Town full disclosure on which buildings now have, or have had, bed bug infestations.

These entire buildings need to be inspected, which only involves a five-minute walkthrough by a trainer and a bed bug sniffing dog in each apartment. Caulking also needs to be done in apartments that are or have been infested. This is being proactive and saving all of us from going through the nightmare that our neighbor and many others are going through.

Sheila O’Connor, PCV

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Letters to the Editor, Sept. 3

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Enforcement needed on rowdiness in ST

In response to the “Sick of rowdy drunks barreling through ST” letter writer (T&V, Aug. 27): You need look no further than Vamos! where the music blasts through open doors and windows to know that ST/PCV management is not serious about the community noise policy noted in the September Community Update brochure.

Either the policy does not apply to their commercial tenants or they assume everyone has air conditioning and so, with windows closed, the racket will not bother them. But the “community” is much larger than just Stuy Town and Peter Cooper and perhaps CWCapital could show a little courtesy to the other surrounding buildings and passers-by that are well within hearing of this intrusive noise.

As for the drunks who stumble through Stuyvesant Town? Now that the weather is cooling, air conditioners will be turned off and windows will be opened, we can all look forward to suffering the full impact of the lack of patrols through the complex. This reduction in patrols seems to have coincided with the installation of the cameras around the properties several years ago but what good is watching problems unfold at the multi-screen, state of the art security office if there are no security officers on the spot to address them?

It’s time to put security officers/vehicles at the entrances to ST/PCV so that those rowdy, inconsiderate tenants can be stopped, quieted and if necessary, escorted to their buildings in silence, and yes, even evicted if they prove to be repeat offenders. Anyone not able to prove residency should be turned away.

As for the remaining information in the September Community Update brochure… since noise has been associated with sleep disturbance, cognitive impairment in children, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease, offering any health-related programs is a joke.

J. Polise, ST

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The bed bug diaries

Landlords are responsible for treating an apartment for bed bugs, but tenants are responsible for preparing the apartment, which can be a costly endeavor.

Landlords are responsible for treating an apartment for bed bugs, but tenants are responsible for preparing the apartment, which can be a costly endeavor.

One Stuy Town couple’s nightmare

By Sabina Mollot

For the past two months, a Stuyvesant Town building, 8 Stuyvesant Oval, has been battling a bedbug infestation.

While the sighting of bed bugs is hardly a New York novelty, one of the residents in the buildings whose apartment is affected agreed to be interviewed by Town & Village in the hope that it would help prepare neighbors if they ever find themselves in the same situation.

For the resident, Don Reynolds, and his wife Nancy, the ordeal has had a price tag of over $9,000 in apartment treatment prep fees and other costs relating to the couple’s so far losing war on the blood-sucking invaders.

A spokesperson for CWCapital, when asked for comment on the situation, told T&V that bed bugs have actually been on the decline in Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village as a result of “aggressive” methods aimed at staying one step ahead of the problem.

“Any resident who is concerned about bedbugs should contact management immediately to arrange for an inspection,” the rep, Brian Moriarty, said. “Management follows citywide best practices and treats bedbugs aggressively. As a result, new bedbug cases at PCVST have decreased 11 percent compared to last year and 20 percent compared to 2013. If a resident does have bed bugs, we provide information on how to prepare the apartment for treatment, which in most cases can be done by residents themselves at a nominal expense. Some residents, however, choose to hire third-party vendors for this work.”

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