Lawrence officials take aim at bedbug problem

LAWRENCE, Kan. - Bedbugs are booming in Lawrence, and now the City Commission wants to make sure these bugs are put to bed.

Commissioners were set to vote Tuesday evening on an ordinance that aims to put a stop to the spread. It would require property owners to employ a professional pest-control service, rather than try to fight the bugs themselves.

Mark Lillis of Schendel Pest Services says Lawrence is an area that has seen a boom in bed bug problems.

"We get phone calls daily for the Lawrence area, as well as all the market areas. It has picked up this year more than last year for the Lawrence market. That's to be expected because the bugs aren't going away. The bugs are actually resistant to a lot of the pesticides that are available to be used," said Lillis.

He also says these hitchhiking bugs are more prominent because of the thousands of students and other residents who move in and out of the area every year.

Kathryn Smith is in the process of moving out of a complex that's had reports of problems before.

"Every month they send out a flyer saying it's an epidemic and to look out," said Smith.

While she would not want bedbugs anywhere near her, she's not sure who would be responsible for the pricey treatment.

"I'm sure it would be an extra hassle because no one wants to deal with that anyway, especially if it's not your fault," said Smith.

And there's no GPS for the little critters.

"Literally, you could have someone who has bedbugs, and for no reason at all. Those bugs could have migrated from an apartment right next door or above it or below it. So tracing it down to the true reason is very difficult to do," said Lillis.

City Commissioner Bob Schumm said this ordinance would allow a code-enforcement officer to cite the owner of the property, but whether the tenant or manager is responsible is not specified.

 

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