San Francisco bedbugs: Stand up and be counted.
That is the message from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, which approved an ordinance last week that aims to give the city a more accurate picture of where the pests lurk.
Exterminators will now be required to report to the Department of Public Health about the number of units that they treat for bedbugs each month. While they won’t have to include the address of the infested apartments or hotels, they will be required to identify each unit’s census tract to help chart the bugs’ distribution around the city.
“From a public health point of view, it’s very important to be able to target your resources, and this will give us a chance to do this,” said Karen Cohn, a program manager at the department’s Environmental Health section.
While the bedbug population has increased nationally in recent years, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the city of San Francisco does not have reliable data on the persistent pests’ prevalence here.
The ordinance, backed by Supervisor Jane Kim, reflects concern among tenants advocates that the city remains unaware of how widespread the blood-sucking bugs really are.