Bed Bugs For The Poor

Now that’s a disgusting title isn’t it? So the rich family that is unfortunate enough to have bed bugs can at least pay for it but what about those who cannot? Shouldn’t those who are more fortunate pay for this not yet classified epidemic or at least help? Just as lawyers are forced to do pro bono work and sometimes Doctors volunteer their skills- Free Bed Bug Work may be on its way. Of course nothings for free and the cost which could be staggering will be put on the tax payers or private companies who do this type of work. Even as we speak, special task forces, committees and groups are forming to try and tackle this behemoth problem. In the research I’ve done you’ll see no mention of aid to combat the problem for the entire population, only those who cannot afford it.

This is not my question & I didn’t sit down to write a piece to disparage any one group of people (well maybe one). This is a topic that has picked up steam not only in pest control forums but in almost every government agency known to man. Communiqués, meetings and forums are flying back and forth all trying to come up with a plan to combat the bed bug takeover and it is at this point only a matter of time before a final mandate will go out. IS THIS WISE?

The Problems

The #1 problem is the designation of the bed bug situation in America. Is it an epidemic? Are bed bugs considered a public health pest? If you follow the link you’ll see that they made the EPA’s list but so did the secondary screwworm-huh? There is a caveat that seems to suggest this is only a recommended list and according to the many ‘workshops‘ I found, getting the recognizing of the bed bug as a public health pest is the all important trigger for action. So apparently that hasn’t happened yet. #2 on the governments mind is the standardization of bed bug treatments across the board. This ranges from only already licensed pros doing the work to a mandated special certification for anyone who will perform bed bug work. One goal is to eliminate DIY bed bug treatments and even bed bug free certification for houses or apartments when people move in or out. The other view point is to narrow down a method which everyone certified will use but this seems to be a sticking point. IPM is big favorite from many of the groups studies and they want to use web sites and PCO’s as the front line for peoples education. Other groups also asked to study the problem clearly state this is a losing proposition and that PCO’s are already fighting an impossible battle in their efforts. Treatment approaches are all over the map as well and it looks as if they can’t decide on what is to be the method of choice. At least two groups I found want to revisit traditional methods as they have seen evidence that this works but I can already see that as a losing recommendation. #3 and the most glaring problem is the constant cry for an all agencies in approach. EPA, Dept.’s of Agriculture, Dept. of Health, Natural Resources and dare I say it? Our Senators and our Congress. In a poll, 90% of the people asked were dead set against this and I happen to agree with them. The bureaucracy alone for our elected officials to do anything positive will assure this project a FAILURE but beyond that the people cited thought this was a waste of tax payers money.

So Who Will Pay & Who Will Receive?

Of the suggestions bandied about it seems the groups will tap into grant money that the EPA currently has in store. Other ideas are giving special consideration for the exclusive use to chemical companies for certain products (can’t find who). Private companies or those with that extra special bed bug certificate might just receive a monthly check but with all this I doubt the EPA has even a fraction of the money needed in their cookie jar. One town in London-Middlesex already subsidizes pest control and have seen their costs go from $20,000 per year to over $200,000 when they added bed bug control and plan to add another $186,000 just to keep up.

The WHO will pay is painfully obvious to me if this thing goes through and could run into the billions of dollars. (what’s another billion right?) The pest control industry has already set a precedence for bed bug treatment costs- $700 to $3000 for standard jobs so I would think the base line would be somewhere in the middle.

As to who will receive is equally obvious and a point of contention for most of Americas taxpayers. It will be those who cannot afford treatment costs themselves. Those who already do not pay for housing, food or contribute in paying taxes. While I’m sure this offends some who read this and stirs up others, it is a reality. While we all need a helping hand in some fashion at one time or two in our lives the bed bug subsidy conversation taking place today is not about them. It is largely about people in our society that are helped every single day and for whatever reason this is just fine for them. Sure there are hard luck stories but I think I just covered that-Bed bugs don’t care whether you’re rich or poor. They don’t discern if you have money or not, they simply thrive in the conditions afforded to them. Bed bugs were all but extinct at one time and it’s NOT the fault of anyone rich or poor who gets them. On the same wise, in my opinion, it’s NOT everybody else’s problem to pay for.

What Say You?

About The Bug Doctor

Jerry Schappert is a certified pest control operator and Associate Certified Entomologist with over two and a half decades of experience from birds to termites and everything in between. He started as a route technician and worked his way up to commercial/national accounts representative. Always learning in his craft he is familiar with rural pest services and big city control techniques. Jerry has owned and operated a successful pest control company since 1993 in Ocala,Florida. While his knowledge and practical application has benefitted his community Jerry wanted to impart his wisdom on a broader scale to help many more. was born from that idea in 2007 and has been well received. It is the goal of this site to inform you with his keen insights and safely guide you through your pest control treatment needs.

This entry was posted in Bed Bugs and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
  • Ok here is my 2cents: I’m opposed to subsidies and government bureaucracy getting involved except to possibly regulate pesticides. I have this last year done several jobs for people that couldn’t afford the pest control treatment cost however that was my decision and I’m sure that most members of the Pest Control Industry would be amiable to that, provided it is their decision. We cannot continue to provide a free lunch for everyone (I know that sounds harsh) but where does it stop. From time to time people do need a hand but I remember a time when friends, family and even churches helped people but maybe we are beyond that level of help or assistance. 13 trillion debt – we have to man up and take responsibility – our great grandchildren will be paying this. Government is to BIG.

  • You’re a good man Keith & that is a great example of leading– I believe there are oodles more like you. Just this past year a tech of mine on a Saturday went out and helped out a sweet little old lady with things she couldn’t possibly get done around her home. He took time out of his day and showed care and concern. This is one reason why I love pest control–Good people doing good things.

  • Exterminatorsrock

    My tax dollars pay for several things such as, cell phones, home phones and…ahem…male “pumps”, and yet something as severe as Bedbugs are overlooked.

    I would rather see my hard earned money go toward something way more beneficial to everyone.

  • Exterminatorsrock

    oh BTW, the image of the tech laying on the bed in minimal PPE doing a bedbug inspection horrifies me.

    wonder if he let his wife know he’s bringing guest home for dinner

  • Excellent point. However I think with our elected officials–if you do one, you have to do them all.

  • Very strange- I’m into my work too but…… 😉

  • Monica

    Oh my lord. I came across this blog, and it indeed touched a nerve. All I have to say is, my bed bugs will eventually eat your blood too. Yes, I just found out I had bed bugs, and yes, I can’t afford it since I only have a few temporary gigs to survive on, can’t even get my essentials. And NO is not a pity me call.

    Remember one problem eventually triggers the other and a preventive measure may mean rich people don’t have to deal with the problem again. Yes, you are right, it isn’t anyone’s fault. But think about all the things a simple bed bug problem may mean to a poor family, the things they’ll have to leave unpaid, the perpetuation of poverty that happens from this problem.

    Also remember that poverty has been pinned to a large number of other problems including environmental degradation for various reason that are besides the point right now (but I’ll be happy to talk to you about later).

    One thing triggers the other, you can not avoid this as a problem for all, my bed bug problem IS YOUR bed bug problem in one way or another.

    But if this isn’t convincing enough then think about principals, is this morally right? To allow a class to suffer because ‘we’ think the bed bugs aren’t anyone’s fault? I would allow that for anyone poorer than me or richer than me…

  • Monica,
    Thank you for your impassioned response. You are right about one thing triggering another and having bed bugs ‘triggers’ a very emotional reaction regardless who it is that has them.

    The way I see it is that since bed bugs do not pose a health risk so far as passing on disease like roaches, fleas, rats, mice, ticks, flies etc., subsidizing their treatment is only a way of pacifying those who feel sorry for the individuals who have them.It might make people feel good but it will not help. The treatment program will be a huge failure just like almost every entitlement program has been in our countries past. Proof is in the pudding and if you followed the link I gave in the article you’ll see that this is already a huge drain on a community in England as we speak so we can see that this is not a viable approach.

    There are times in our society when it is a no brainer to lend a hand- help those in need and cost be damned. Passing on treatment fees for bed bugs is not one of those situations in my opinion.

    Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts

    The Bug Doctor

  • monica

    Well doc, I spent a lot of time answering your reply to find out you had censored me. I hope you take my words into consideration.

  • Monica

    by the way, this is a different e-mail which is why I’m able to reply to this. I encourage you to read the main response to your last thought.

  • I agree it takes finances but- whose? is the subject of my article. If it’s doable and well thought out I’m never above paying my portion. If it’s a feel good, nonsensical waste of money, time and effort then I will be the loudest voice against it.

    Not that you asked- but I tend to think you have me in the ‘rich’ category or at least those who have the means. Monica on this you are right.
    BUT, if you want to talk about poor and not having then I can tell you all you want to know. I grew up very poor and had no allies or help except the love and strength of my family. I was on welfare, food stamps and assistance. I grew up needing surgeries much of my young life which complicated matters so much more and my mother could never get ahead. I know the embarrassment of having the big PINK FREE LUNCH ticket in the lunch lines while all of the other kids bought pizza. The shame of holes in your one pair of shoes for the year. I could go on… but I think my point has been made.

    Could I be a problem solver like you mention? Maybe I could for this problem but honestly I doubt it- But for sure I was for my own personal life when I clawed my way out of the deep repetitive hole I was in. When I turned 18 and the assistance stopped I had two choices- Apply to the same programs I was in and continue with all that I had known or do the only thing I knew to get myself out which was work and not give up.

    As I said there are times when we all need help- then there are times when we all need to stand.

  • monica

    I congratulate you on your achievements. You’re right, I did sort of assumed you had the means (based on your primary post). I’m sure you can then relate to certain human condition, being that you have overcome so much. Every one needs a little push now and then to overcome obstacles, so I’m glad your family was able to be there for you.

    I fear you might be assuming a bit also. You very impressive story might be generalizing a bit. In the context is being put it seems to be implying that everyone’s story is the same, and that outside forces have (or should not have) influence on someone’s current human condition. The thing is, not everyone has their family there to help, and it looks like bed bugs are beyond what some families can afford. I’m not talking for myself, my personal history is not something I can explain over a post, I’m talking on the broader sense.

    But I hear ya again. I guess we’ll just have to disagree. I do appreciate your willingness for open dialogue.

  • Thank you for contributing.

  • 123

    I hope u get them, then you will know how it feels.

  • The question one must always ask is, who is the reader being as he reads.”

    William Sloane

  • Justsing09

    I just have to say, I’m a single mom with a 9 month old infant. I have no job because I live in a small town and I am having to literally count out every penny I have just to buy diapers and formula. I have been getting bites along my arms for about 2 months, with no idea what caused them. I just found out they are bed bugs. Pest control quoted me 336 for pesticides and from there it just goes up. they are starting to bite my daughter and I don’t have the money to do anything about it? What about people like me, and my daughter? What are we suppose to do about our bug problem. I might not sound as “smart” as other people in these posts, but I know that there are lots of people like me who cannot do anything about it. Should we have to suffer just because people think it’s a “feel-good” waste of money?

  • Hi Justsing09,

    I guess I could parse your comment in several ways but one point sticks out far more than any other. You said ” people like me who cannot do anything about it.” 

    Had you said “won’t” then this answer to your comment might have a different tone… You said can’t  (cannot) and that means to me you haven’t lost hope for a better future. Now it’s simply up to you to turn that “can’t” into “can” and then into “done.”  In other words– “start singing- start singing

  • Wow. I’m a single mother with 2 teenage boys. We live in an apartment, so I already know that any problem we might have in our unit isn’t going to be solved by simply treating our unit alone & if neighbours don’t comply, we’re just right back where we started, regardless of how much we spend.

    Now… let’s get to that part where you say, ” It will be those who cannot afford treatment costs themselves. Those
    who already do not pay for housing, food or contribute in paying taxes.” Yes, I am offended! I work full time. I am educated. I pay taxes. I pay my own rent, my own utilities, the cost to feed & clothe my boys & anything else we might need. I also pay my tuition & I’m helping my oldest pay his way through college. On top of paying back my past student loans. I contribute to my community & society, as a whole, in a variety of ways. However, because I pay for all of these things & because two teenage boys are pricey things to have, I do not necessarily have $1000+ dollars laying around to drop *repeatedly* on the cost of treatment to eliminate these pests.

    If I owned a home & my old a/c broke down & I needed a new one, I could get a government subsidy for purchasing certain new units. Same for toilets & other items. Why can’t I get a subsidy to assist with the expense of paying for a pest that likely invaded my home when my new downstairs neighbour moved in (since I’ve lived here over a year & never had a problem until very recently)?

    And let’s talk about the cost beyond simply extermination fees. Dry cleaning, laundering EVERYTHING in my house (at $2.50 per load, total, to wash & dry in a small, apartment sized washer & dryer) & potentially needing to replace most of my furniture. My bed was not cheap & it’s not even a year old yet. I really had hoped to get quite a bit more use out of it before dropping my hard earned money on a new one.

    Your comment was short-sighted, bigoted & even a bit egotistical. Have you never heard the term, “working poor”?

    *EDIT* – apparently my son signed in to his Twitter via my laptop & forgot to sign out. This was NOT posted my Tristen Brenner, but it won’t let me change that. Wonderful.

    ~Lori S. (not Tristen!)

  • Then I’m not sure ‘who’ to reply to…. Tristen or Lori, either way, Thank you for your comment & I’d encourage you to really read the article and perhaps even some of the other comments. You may see things differently with a second look…. if not, that’s Ok too.

  • Max11b

    as usual if your poor oh well go fuck yourself and suffer. FUCK YOU

  • Thanks? Max,

    Do you read or just skim articles? Are facts and supported information something beyond what you care about? If you live your life the way you articulate your point–it’s no wonder you are where you don’t like being. 

  • Tony

    I have been in the pest control industry for over 25 years, You can’t narrow down and use a particular method. Some situations you can use a chemical treatment alone and in other situations you can’t.

    Bed Bug infestations can require a variety of different applications to get control over the infestation.

    Example: Apartment complex has a bed bug problem and the company uses a heat method to treat. other apartments also have bed bug problems that are not treated. with a chemical treatment you have no protection to prevent a re-infestation from surrounding apartments.

  • Tony

    Sorry, I mean with a heat treatment alone you have no protection from surrounding apartments.

  • Thank you Tony,
    I’m sure the readers/commenters (the offended ones anyway) won’t like your comment when they realize that added service methods will usually add to the cost.

  • Smart Cookie

    Then why do you even have to make the comparison. People who are poor or disabled can just live with it, huh. I hope the housekeepers of the rich drop a few in the mattresses of their employers, just so they know. No, I don’t really wish this on anyone, but if you want to get rid of bedbugs, then get rid of bedbugs. They don’t care about race and income, neither should YOU. so why bring it up at all. And Bug Doctor, I hope you are treating your “patients” who disagree with you better. If you can’t control your attitude or temper, you shouldn’t be blogging at all. I think he made his point loud and clear.

  • Smart Cookie

    The point that you are a total fuckwad is clear. And given that this is six yrs old, your holier than the poor attitude is all I need to know that you voted for that fuckwad trumph. Don’t care what else you have to say. An exterminator did an inspection and laughed at me because I was SURE I had them but I DON’T yet I’m still researching. Yours is the ONLY judgmental damn blog I came across in my probably hundred hours of research I’ve done on line. Congrats for being the bigot that you ARE.