Pests are a part of life. Wherever people go, vermin of one kind or another are sure to follow. This is particularly true in urban environments like Newark and Jersey City, where rodent sightings come with the territory, but smaller cities and towns are by no means immune, nor are rural areas. Unfortunately, pests are not merely gross. Many of them pose threats to humans, pets and property, so controlling or eliminating them is a major concern for all boards and managers.
The greatest insect threat right now is a relatively new arrival, or rather, a return visitor: the bedbug. Whether because of global warming, pesticide-control laws, insect immunities, or just bad luck, this old pest has experienced a renaissance in the last decade or so. George J. Caso, president of Amco Pest Services, Inc. in Wall Township, says, “They eliminated the bedbugs because of the DDT they used years ago. They used a lot stronger materials.” Now, he adds, that we don't allow DDT, of course, the bedbugs have returned. “The first infestation started back in 2003. Right now, bedbugs are like a number one bug. They're on our priority list,” says Caso.
Sabrina Weinstein, director of communications at Global Pest Control in Airmont, New York, agrees. “The bedbug situation doesn’t slow down. We’re dealing with it all over, from the most prestigious apartment buildings to the opposite. It’s everywhere.”
One reason bedbugs are among New Jersey's most pressing pest problems now is because they're so hard to put up with. They leave itchy little bite marks on all their favorite people. And while rodents are bad, bedbugs can feel like a Biblical plague. They pose an enormous challenge for pest-control companies because they are so hard to get rid of completely. “There are a lot of misconceptions about how to handle a bedbug situation,” Weinstein says. “People are told to clean out their apartments, and they diligently go through their belongings. They generously give clothing away to Goodwill shops or put their furniture outside without telling anyone that it has bedbugs.” Thus the bugs spread happily from one building or property to another.
“There are also situations where building managers or pest-control employees are aware of a tenant with an infestation, but they just can’t get into the apartment to treat it,” she says. “Then you have a higher probability that surrounding units will also be infested. If they’re in one apartment, they’ll just organically grow and multiply and continue on to the next place.” In the past decade, they have proved very, very good at doing just that.