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Bed bug cases in NYC drop to 4-year low

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NEW YORK CITY (PIX11) – Good news, New York. There are fewer bed bugs crawling in your sheets.

Infestations by the tiny brown critters have dropped every year for the past four years, according to new data from the housing department.

A vial of live bed bugs is displayed. (Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty Images)

A vial of live bed bugs is displayed. (Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty Images)

Brooklyn has the unsavory distinction of having the most bed bug violations since 2010, but all five boroughs have seen declines in confirmed bed bug cases, according to the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development.

  • Manhattan: 846 violations in 2010 | 520 violations in 2013
  • Bronx: 1,104 in 2010 | 768 in 2013
  • Brooklyn: 2,147 in 2010 | 1,290 in 2013
  • Queens: 593 in 2010 | 478 in 2013
  • Staten Island: 118 in 2010 | 80 in 2013

Citywide, bedbug infestations were cut by nearly 53 percent – from 4,808 in 2010 to 2,268 in 2013.

Housing officials credited the drop to legislation enacted in 2011 that required landlords to properly deal with infestations, and to better awareness citywide of the crawly critters.

“As opposed to just a few years ago, people today are considerably more vigilant and there is more and better information available to the general public regarding how to prevent and deal with infestations,” the city said in a statement releasing the new figures.

The numbers reflect confirmed infestations between fiscal year 2010 and fiscal year 2013, which ends in July.

The cases were reported in the housing department’s jurisdiction, that is, homes that are being rented. The latest data does not include statistics for co-ops, condos, private homes, public housing, schools, offices, hospitals or any commercial spaces, including movie theaters.

Bed bugs are tiny insects, about the size of an apple seed, that are usually active at night. They live in cracks in furniture, floors and walls, and feed on blood.

The critters haven’t been found to spread disease, but they can leave behind bothersome, itchy bites.

And contrary to popular belief, bed bugs do not only infest dirty or cluttered homes. Any residence can become a home for the insects.

If residents suspect they have bed bugs in their home, they should first tell their landlord then call 311 to report the complaint to the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development.

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