Selasa, 06 Maret 2012

Increase in Pest Control Problems Could Be Result of Budget Cuts

With the U.S. economy struggling, many federally-funded programs serving the public sector have taken hits financially. Any expenditures deemed “expendable” have been sliced from local, state, and national budgets, including public housing, public schools, shelters, parks, and recreation centers. Among these items cut from budgets? Pest control, which could explain why bed bug problems are becoming a large problem in Public Housing.

Bed bugs aren’t the result of cleanliness or lack-thereof, although that is a common misconception. People with lower income or lesser hygiene aren’t pre-disposed to getting bed bugs in their homes. But, using old furniture that’s been passed down and hasn’t been inspected, is a surefire way to get bed bugs. And unfortunately, the only way to get rid of them and prevent them is by receiving routine home pest control.

Unfortunately for some, including residents of Spa City public housing in New York, that is no longer an option. According to the Albany Times Union, the Saratoga Springs Housing Authority cut the public housing sector’s pest control, says the authority’s longtime pest control company. Bed bugs infiltrated nearly two dozen units and common areas, including hallways.

Halfway across the country in Alabama, the Huntsville Housing Authority discovered bed bugs in one of its public housing apartment buildings. The property is Johnson Towers, a senior residence hall which is home to nearly 130 elderly and disabled residents. The Huntsville Housing Authority and Johnson Towers are working together to fix the growing problem.

But these dangerous budget cuts aren’t just a local problem stemming from local governments. The White House is proposing a $54 million cut of the $816 million budget for the fiscal 2013 year, directly impacting pest and disease control programs all across the country.

Even California is struggling with pests, not only bed bugs, but insects that threaten crops in its vital agricultural industry. A $4.4 million budget cut from the California Department of Food and Agriculture could severely compromise the integrity of thousands of fruits and vegetables grown and exported from the state.

These problems all reflect where our national, statewide, and local governments’ priorities lay. And to be fair, many programs are being cut from fiscal budgets, not just pest control. But bed bugs are already an ever-growing problem nationwide, and have been for the last decade, after being nearly eradicated in the early 1900s. Is legislature that out of touch to realize it?

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