The bedbug epidemic is damaging many businesses. Hotels, apartments, and other residential rentals are the more obvious victims to this spreading problem. But they are not the only ones. Airplanes and movie theaters have been listed before, but this is a new one. A retail clothing store gets hit and bad enough to close up shop for the 4th of July. But this wasn’t just any retail clothing store, this was Hollister of New York, NY. And a few days later Abercrombie & Fitch closed for bed bugs as well.
How does this happen and what next?
Up until about 2 years ago the bedbug problem in the US was pretty much extinct. Quoting the Illinois Department of Health’s website the bedbug “remains an occasional invader with infestations arising in homes and swank hotels as well as apartment buildings and homeless shelters.” Not only is this information outdated, but it incorrectly reinforces the idea that bedbugs are associated with a lack of care on the establishments part. It does correctly say that hosts have no idea that they are even catering to these blood suckers. “The bed bug’s adaptation to humans is so complete that its bite is rarely felt until well after the bug leaves its victim.” Thus controlling this epidemic is extremely difficult because by the time the problem is realized it’s a full blown infestation. And hosts will unknowingly carry them from hotel to home, from home to the retail store, from the retail store to the movie theater. Bed bugs will infest any location frequented by humans.
Fortunately getting rid of bedbugs in sheets and linens isn’t too difficult. The pest control company in New York assisting Hollister wants to assure people that the clothes will be fine.
“Bedbug expert Timothy Wong, the technical director of M&M Environmental who worked with Moving Right Along to help treat Hollister’s merchandise and is intimately familiar with the case, says that the clothes are fine after undergoing fumigation in an off-site warehouse — that process is foolproof (and smellproof — you’d never know the clothes had been treated, Wong says)”
But the problem could be far from over. If the bedbugs hit both Hollister and Abercrombie and Fitch then the pests could be coming from a warehouse. Plus, it’s going to be difficult for the stores to regain the millions lost while the problem is being solved.