Making the Case for a Comprehensive Plan
CONTROL PROJECT www. spcpweb.org
Safer Pest Control Project
Funding Provided by: The Field Foundation of Illinois, Inc.
SAFER PEST CONTROL PROJECT AND BED BUGS IN CHICAGO
Safer Pest Control Project (SPCP) is an award winning nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing the health risks and environmental impacts of pesticides and promoting safer pest control alternatives in Illinois. Since 1994, SPCP has been a leader in reducing pesticide use and has focused much of its efforts on reducing the impacts of pests and pesticides in Chicago’s lowincome communities. In 2008, Safer Pest Control Project began receiving an unprecedented number of calls from distressed residents looking for answers on how to deal with bed bugs. As an organization with expertise in Integrated Pest Management, SPCP quickly recognized the magnitude of this emergent problem and the critical need for educational materials, training, and community outreach.
In addition to the tenant and management calls that SPCP was receiving, we also started to receive numerous reports from Aldermanic offices across the city and from pest management professionals, confirming the spread of bed bugs across Chicago. In January 2009, we wrote a letter to Mayor Daley, highlighting the resurgence of bed bugs, recommending that the City create a comprehensive program to address the bed bug problem and offering our assistance.
Meetings were called and an intergovernmental group was assembled, headed by Evelyn Diaz, the former Mayor’s deputy chief of staff. Through these meetings, held over the course of one year, SPCP helped the City recognize the magnitude of this escalating problem by providing a basic understanding of the bed bug issue and presenting the challenges the City would likely face in the near future. As a direct outcome of the meetings, SPCP provided training to the
City’s building inspectors. SPCP also helped coordinate, with funding from the Chicago Community Trust, the development of bed bug tracking maps, starting in January 2010. With assistance from the Chicago Department of Public Health, bed bug infestation reports received by 311 were collected and used to create GIS maps in order to better assess the spread of this pest. Safer Pest Control Project also became the City’s delegate agency for bed bugs. Essentially,
SPCP is now the on-the-ground “bed bug agency,” providing resources and training services to many Chicago audiences. The City now has a bed bug webpage that has SPCP’s fact sheets as the primary source of information. Many City agencies and departments have taken specific independent actions around bed bugs, but the City still lacks a comprehensive approach to dealing with this growing problem.
SAFER PEST CONTROL PROJECT
PAG E 1
Bed bugs are making a comeback across the United States and, unfortunately, Chicago has not been spared. Bed bugs are showing up in apartments, houses, shelters, and commercial spaces around the city, catching many residents and institutions off guard. While bed bugs were a regular but unwelcome part of life previous to the 1950’s in the U.S., bed bug incidences and awareness dropped off for many decades. Today, bed bugs are back, and many residents are unaware or unknowledgeable about bed bugs. In a recent survey conducted by the National Pest Management Association, only 13 percent of respondents could correctly answer all three basic bed bug questions.1,* Many organizations and governmental agencies are also without adequate knowledge, resources, and policies to deal with this crisis. The City is now playing catch up with this growing problem and needs to bring this issue to the forefront of its agenda.
BED BUG BASICS
Once thought a thing of the past, bed bugs are making a resurgence across the nation as well as in Canada, Australia, parts of Europe, and parts of Africa.2 They are not a new pest and scientists