NEW YORK (CBS 2) — New York City public schools are joining the growing list of places that have been infested with bed bugs. Now, leading bed bug experts are being called in to help.

PS 87 on the Upper West Side was the latest battleground as parents received a note last week warning them that a single bed bug was found in the gym. They were far from happy to hear that and some were beginning to take issue with how the school is handling the problem.

A bed bug conference was scheduled for Thursday morning at the Real Estate Board of New York, where leading bed bug experts will address the growing problem.

Bed bugs have been spotted at more than 16 schools so far this school year alone, but teachers and staffers can’t just report a sighting. They have to collect the dead bug and send it to the Department of Education, then it can take days or sometimes even more than a week before an exterminator comes out to check out the problem.

Bed bug cases have nearly tripled in the first two months of school and are on track to surpass even that by the end of the school year.

All this comes as budget cuts have forced schools to cut pest control agents by 75-percent and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer said the combination was creating an epidemic.

“We should learn by these mistakes and not allow our children to be eaten alive by bed bugs because we’re not acting quick enough, and I think we’ve got to have a real war and finish this job and get rid of these bed bugs in the public schools,” said Stringer.

The Department of Education denied an epidemic and defended its policy, saying the bed bug specimens must be provided before they spend a lot of taxpayer money to exterminate them.

For more information on bed bug prevention, use our NYC Bed Bug Guide, or click here for more from the EPA.

Comments (26)
  1. Sydelle Houston says:

    I’m wondering because they barely clean the buses and subway trains as it is, what’s to keep an epidemic from happening there with millions of people traveling on public transportation daily?

  2. Jennifer Blake says:

    I don’t know beg bug very well in fact, but I know STD is very common nowadays, especially HIV. It have more powerful threat to people.

  3. klucy says:

    Saw one crawling on a man’s jacket on the subway and ran off the train.
    What are we to do.

    Besides, would you tell someone on the train that they had a bedbug on them? or run.
    If someone told me, I would immediately strip down.. it sounds like a nightmare.

  4. caroline says:

    Glad to see there are many who realize the hoax surrounding DDT. However, we accepted it .. and now .. are paying for it.
    Want some facts? Check out You won’t believe all the information there to set us straight! It is time to start saving HUMANS! Does anyone ever question .. if there are no humans .. will a bedbug speak up and attest or protest to the state of the environment??? Lets return to sanity, now! Bring back DDT!!

  5. Eric T says:

    Normally i wouldnt plug a company in these comments sections.With that said we hired 2 pesticide company’s to come and inspect our apt here in nyc.Both told us we have no bed bugs ,but my daughter kept waking up with welts in sets of 3 .Finally we tried a dog we were very skepticle at first but the company we used guaranteed thier work and proved dog was working before they started searching our apt.Low and behold the dog found 4 different spots in our apt that had minor infestations,none in the mattresses themselves.The spots included an electric outlet the carpet and 2 dressers.These dogs work people.This company was very reasonable and I will have them back to do a follow up search after we are treated this week .We used -curtiouse and professional,hope this helps anyone goin through what were going through.

  6. Understanding says:

    It’s true you really can’t talk about it until you’ve been through it! We are all responsible to constantly be cleaning and vacuum. The schools can exterminate all they want when a child leaves a home that have bedbugs he will bring it to school and it will begin all over! We all need to educate ourselves about bedbugs and truly clean your homes so we can stop the spread of these bugs.

  7. H Day Case says:

    There’s really not a lot that the schools can do to prevent the problem so there’s no sense blaming them. They should blame the parents who don’t get their homes treated.

  8. Miriam says:

    Oh – and the city is not doing the one thing that might help – that is the creation of ‘hot rooms’, where people can – for free – bring their furniture, mattresses and posessions to be heated for a short time to kill the bugs. The city should have several of them in operation – and it would not even be that costly. They could even use large vehicles for the same purpose.

  9. Miriam says:

    “Sniffing dogs do nothing to eliminate bedbugs”

    Ummm – they show where the bugs are hiding so they can be eliminated.

    And vacuuming does not eliminate bedbugs hiding in cracks, books, vents, and in other types of objects/furniture.

    Lastly, I totally agree with the person who said, basically, ‘if you haven’t experienced it, don’t talk about it’.

  10. anna says:

    The reason why a greater effort isnt being made to get rid of them is that they dont spread disease. They are annoying, but essentially harmless. Also, DDT was banned for a reason. While harmeless to mammals, it devastates bird populations, making their eggs so fragile that the poor parents cant even sit on their eggs to incubate them without the shells breaking. But hey, if you want to devastate the environment just so you can wash your sheets less often, go ahead. Try reading Silent Spring while youre at it.

    1. mak says:

      Tell you what, Anna. Let’s put some bedbugs in your home and let you deal with the aftermath. You’ll discover that lack of sleep from paranoia that bugs are biting you plus incessent itching from the bites is enough to drive one mad. And then trying to get rid of them is a nightmare.

      Come back and comment on something once you’ve walked in other’s shoes.

      1. Al says:

        Anna, one can get sick from the bedbug bites. I ened up 7 days in the hospital because of a staph infection due to scarthing from a bite…I almost died! So please let’s take this “problem” seriously. IT IS A HEALTH CONCERN!

    2. MarkBench says:

      Silent Spring? Still pounding that old drum? Full of lies and inaccuracies, Rachel Carson, an early anti establishment earth mother, did more to promote death and disease than any plague ridden rat.

    3. Tim Rien says:

      DDT, one of the greatest friends of mankind. I lived in NYC while the nasty little beasts were erradicated due to DDT. Unfiortunately the unexamined third worlders have returned them to us. More importantly, DDT was responsible for the almost complete erradication of the Malaria mesquito. The uninformed so called environmentalists succeded in having DDT banned in order to save bird eggs. The result was the re-establishment of the worlds largest killer, Malaria. It causes more suffering and kills more people than any other disease. But, we have bird eggs.

  11. Tiah says:

    Given the title of this article, I thought I was going to read information on a conference. When and where is the conference, and who can go? Is it open to the public?

  12. Concerned says:

    Students who have infestations within their homes are transporting them to schools. Bedbugs are consistently being discovered within classrooms and an exterminator comes and sprays. However, they spray as if they are spraying for roaches. Bedbugs are highly resistant to numerous pesticides. The city needs to reevaluate how they are taking care of the situation. Spraying for 5 minutes is not going to solve the problem in classroom and schools.

  13. KIM says:

    Quit selling used cloathing without being washed properly, Stop going thur other peoples trash looking for treausres. this just as bad as passing an STD. Nobody is using common sense anymore

  14. Colonel Benjamin says:

    The answer to this problem really is quite simple – the reintroduction of our good friend D.D.T. This is positively guaranteed to eliminate the problem once and for all.

    But, of course, in this namby-pamby society, that just won’t do, will it!

    1. Avi says:

      You are absolutely correct! That will be the only way to solve this problem.

  15. johnny b good says:

    American friends, please don’t export! Keep it contained until solution!

  16. T Bryant says:

    This is germ/bedbug warfare!!!! Terrorists came to NYC, stayed in pose hotels, shopped at Victoria’s Secret, and went to the moves releasing huge jars of bedbugs everywhere they went!!!!

  17. Wolf says:

    Vacuum Vacuum Vacuum. The best way to eliminate and keep these pesky critters away is to vacuum vacuum vacuum. The carpets, floors, bed mattress and box spring. At least once or twice a week. Unless the government allows the old fashion harsh chemicals, these critters will continue to multiply like roaches. And they feed on mammel blood… not just humans. So in NYC they get around with rats, dogs, cats. The best is vacuum vacuum vacuum. Sniffing dogs do nothing to eliminate bed bugs

  18. Bill says:

    We are all going to die! Who cares about terrorism when there are bedbugs running around the city.
    The rent is still too damn high!

  19. morristhewise says:

    There has never been a larger threat to Americans as the bedbug plague, they are spreading and impossible to exterminate. This is going to be the end of good sleeping.

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