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New York City takes a swat at bedbugs

By Katie Silver, CNN
  • New rules crack down on landlords
  • Online Bed Bug Portal gives advice

New York (CNN) -- An online web portal and tough new regulations take aim at the creepy friend who's terrorized New York in recent years -- the bedbug.

The New York City Council has created an online Bed Bug Portal so "we can all fall asleep in our beds a little easier," Council Member Erik Martin Dilan said in a City Council press release.

Following iPhone applications to address the issue, this "new web-based bed bug tool" details what bed bugs look like, the myths that surround them and has downloadable guides on how to prevent and cure outbreaks of the squirmy crawlers, the press release said.

Along with the web portal, the council released new protocols that require landlords to treat not only their units but those neighboring units as well. They must also employ a licensed pest control professional and multiple treatment strategies, not only chemical pesticides, according to the release.

If the creepers are found in more than one apartment in a building, all tenants must be notified and a building-wide plan developed. If a landlord is a repeat offender, they must get an affidavit from a licensed exterminator affirming the problem has been eliminated.

If they don't comply, the landlord will be subject to a hearing before the Environmental Control Board, face fines and maybe a lien on their property.

For those keen on entomology, the average bedbug is a wingless blood-sucking insect that can live for up to a year without eating and can reproduce up to 400 times in a lifetime, making them a tough opponent to get rid of.

The developments come in response to last year's bedbug crisis that saw various high-profile businesses shut for days including Niketown, Victoria's Secret and Juicy Couture. University dorms, hotels and one in 15 New Yorkers' homes were affected, according to the New York Department of Health last year.