Bedbugs Go Shopping

September 10th, 2010 by Geoffrey Decker

By Geoff Decker

Bedbugs infestations were a steady conversation topic for New Yorkers this summer but it’s not all paranoia, as NY Mag claimed last week. Two affirming surveys issued in August – one from the extermination company Terminix, the other from a Daily News-Marist Poll – reveal just how widespread the problem is.

But these bloodsuckers aren’t just confined to private residences. The bedbug resurgence has included infestations in several commercial establishments as well. Retail clothing stores, movie theaters, office buildings and even government buildings have fallen prey to these pervasive pests.

In the span of three weeks, three upscale retail stores were temporarily closed for bedbug infestation. First it was the SoHo-based giant Hollister Co.. A day later, Hollister’s parent company, Abercrombie & Fitch, closed a store in South Street Seaport for what it called a “similar problem” to their subsidiary. A couple weeks later, at Victoria’s Secret’s Midtown East store, managers discovered bedbugs and reopened the same day.

Lest you think you’re safe by avoiding retail clothing stores, bedbugs also turned up in Goldman Sachs, Time Warner Center and the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office. They were even treated for at Time Square’s AMC Theaters.

Commercial buildings aren’t required by the city to report infestations, so its hard to know just how many business have been affected. Fortunately, help is on the way. City officials promised $500,000 for an “attack strategy” to raise awareness and hopefully eradicate the problem for good.

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