Spatiotemporal trends in bed bug metrics: New York City

Kathryn P. Hacker, Andrew J. Greenlee, Alison L. Hill, Daniel Schneider, Michael Z. Levy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bed bug outbreaks pose a major challenge in urban environments and cause significant strain on public resources. Few studies have systematically analyzed this insect epidemic or the potential effects of policies to combat bed bugs. Here we use three sources of administrative data to characterize the spatial-temporal trends of bed bug inquiries, complaints, and reports in New York City. Bed bug complaints have significantly decreased (p < 0.01) from 2014–2020, the absolute number of complaints per month dropping by half (875 average complaints per month to 440 average complaints per month); conversely, complaints for other insects including cockroaches and flies did not decrease over the same period. Despite the decrease of bed bug complaints, areas with reported high bed bug infestation tend to remain infested, highlighting the persistence of these pests. There are limitations to the datasets; still the evidence available suggests that interventions employed by New York City residents and lawmakers are stemming the bed bug epidemic and may serve as a model for other large cities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0268798
JournalPloS one
Issue number5 5
StatePublished - May 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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