For the second consecutive year, Chicago has been named the worst city in the country for bed bug infestations, according to pest control company Orkin 1 . Bed bugs are being found in hotels, department stores, movie theaters, hospitals and colleges, as well as private homes.
The problem appears widespread, and the culprit may be increased travel and the reduced use of pesticides such as DDT, which was banned in the 1970s. Bed bugs, which are brown or red in color and the size of an apple pit, can travel in luggage and clothing, and once they get into an area, they are difficult to exterminate.
Standard commercial property insurance does not provide coverage for insect infestation. However, today several insurance companies 2 are offering the coverage for commercial enterprises such as the hospitality industry. These insurance programs typically include an insurance as well as a bed bug management/prevention component. Insurance coverage for lost revenue due to business interruption is also available. Targeted industries include:
Proper risk management practices are crucial in preventing or minimizing the effects of an infestation. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene recommends several steps (which can apply to any location, not just New York) that should be taken to prevent or minimize the infestation.