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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

To Combat Bed Bugs, Sanitation Sets New Rules for Disposing of Mattresses and Box Springs

Beginning December 3rd, 2010, the New York City Department of Sanitation will require all City residents to fully encase within a sealed plastic bag all mattresses or box springs being discarded for DSNY collection. This new rule will help prevent an increase in bed bug activity, with bed bugs being found in homes and apartments. Bed bugs are generally nocturnal and tend to live in bedding, such as mattresses and box springs, hiding in their crevices until they are ready to feed.

Under the new rule, failure to place a mattress or box spring out in a proper bag can result in a $100 fine. The Department will delay enforcing the new set-out rule for 30 days, followed by full enforcement beginning January 3rd, 2011.

"There has been a rise in bed bug-related complaints within the City, and bedding is the prime nesting place for most bed bugs," said Sanitation Commissioner John J. Doherty. "With this new rule, and thanks to the support of Councilmember Gale Brewer, we will safeguard our workers and help to mitigate the spread of bed bugs throughout the City. We also suggest that the plastic mattress bags be placed around the bedding before it is removed from the room out to the curb to further limit bed bugs from infesting other parts of the home or apartment."

Councilmember Gale Brewer said: "I appreciate the efforts made by the Department of Sanitation to address the bed bug epidemic that our city has been grappling with, an issue I have been working on since 2006. In 2008, I introduced a bill, Intro 0872-2008, that would require all bedding and furniture set out for collection to be both completely contained inside a sealed plastic bag, and labeled with a sticker or decal indicating that it may contain bed bugs. I believe the rules promulgated by DSNY are a step in the right direction towards curtailing mattresses and box springs as a vehicle of spreading bed bugs. In our shared concern for the health and safety of city employees, I look forward to working with the Department to ensure that these rules are as effective as possible."

Plastic bags to contain the bedding are available at department stores, home improvement centers, at other home supply businesses, and online, at a modest cost. Bedding stores also provide removal options with purchases.

For further information, go to, or call 311.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Batten Down the Hatches here comes Winter

Today my front lawn was covered with glistening frost. I realized daylight savings was this weekend and I have a lot of chores to prepare my home for winter.

These things will help your save money and keep your home pest free during the winter months.

1) Heating
•Have your Furnace Inspected and cleaned.
•Clean & Cap your Fireplace\Chimney to keep out birds and rodents.
•Change any filters in your forced air heating system.
•Consider a programmable thermostat.
•If you have Hot-water radiator bleed the valves.

2) Foundation - Mice can slip through space as thin as a dime.
•Use weatherstripping around doors and caulk windows.
•Inspect interior sill plates for dry rot or pest infestation.
•Check that Dryer Vent is properly installed and working.
•Secure crawlspace entrances.
•Inspect exterior for cracks and exposed entry points around pipes & seal them.
•Switch out summer screens with glass replacements from storage. If you have storm windows, install them.

3) Roof, Gutters & Downspouts
•Clean gutters and check the downspouts.
•Installing leaf guards on the gutters.
•Use downspouts extenders to direct water away from the home.
4) Weather-Specific Equipment•Drain gas from lawnmowers.
•Service or tune-up snow blowers.
•Replace worn rakes and snow shovels.
•Clean, dry and store summer gardening equipment.
•Sharpen ice choppers and buy bags of ice-melt / sand.
5) Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors•Install carbon monoxide detector near the furnace & water heater.
•Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and replace batteries.
•Buy a fire extinguisher.
6) Plumbing Freeze Overs•Drain all garden hoses.
•Insulate exposed plumbing pipes.
•Drain air conditioner pipes and Sprinkler Systems.

7) Landscaping & Outdoor Surfaces
•Trim trees if branches hang too close to the house or electrical wires.
•Seal driveways, brick patios and wood decks.
8) Emergency Kit•Buy indoor candles and matches / lighter for use during a power shortage.
•Prepare a list of Emergency Phone Number and tape them by the phone.
•Buy a battery back-up to protect your computer and sensitive electronic equipment. •Store extra bottled water and non-perishable food supplies (including pet food), blankets and a first-aid kit in a dry and easy-to-access location.
•Prepare an evacuation plan in the event of an emergency.