Chicago Aldermen Take Aim At Bed Bug Increase

Chicago tops the list for bed bugs, and local aldermen want to get in on the fight.

Alds. Ray Suarez (31st), Harry Osterman (48th) and Debra Silverstein (50th) will introduce an ordinance Tuesday that declares bed bugs a public nuisance and would require landlords to hire professional exterminators to get rid of any infestations.

Landlords who don't comply would face a $1,000 fine per day under the ordinance and wouldn't be allowed to rent out the property. Tenants also would be required to notify landlords if they think bed bugs are a problem in their units.

The ordinance is scheduled for a hearing later Tuesday but city officials say that even if this legislation doesn't pass, another version eventually will be approved.

There's good reason for that.

Pest control company Orkin said it treats more bed bug infestations here than any other major U.S. city. The Windy City ranked second in 2012 and moved up the list to first-place in 2013.

"Because bed bugs move easily from one place to another, they can be challenging to control and costly to treat, especially if they are unknowingly brought into the home," the company said in a statement.

Entomologist and Technical Services Director Ron Harrison said the list shows that bed bugs continue to be a problem throughout the U.S.

“Based on the diversity of cities on the list, we all need to be very cautious when we travel—whether it is business or pleasure, or to visit family, friends or vacation," Harrison said. "We need to be vigilant wherever we are and take the proper precautions.”

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