Philly councilman calls for bedbug hearings

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 A mattress sits  among litter in a South Philadelphia lot. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

A mattress sits among litter in a South Philadelphia lot. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

A Philadelphia Councilman, calling for a hearing on the bedbug situation in Philadelphia, hopes to direct more attention to fixing what has become a common problem in town.

Councilman Mark Squilla’s says bedbugs are a growing problem in Philadelphia.

“We’re receiving many calls from constituents throughout the city that neighbors have bedbugs,” he said. “It’s really creeping into their properties, and those people can’t afford to get the bedbugs exterminated from their properties … once you have them, you have to get them eradicated.”

A bedbug infestation is no laughing matter, Squilla said.

“If you have a person who is on a fixed income, and they find out they have bedbugs, it might be thousands of dollars in extermination fees — not to count the money it costs to encase your mattresses or get rid of some of the stuff you have,” he said. “So we’re finding there’s no means of how the city deals with this.”

To curb the spread of bedbugs, the city requires residents to place old mattresses in sealed plastic bags before throwing them out. But Squilla said that might not be enough.

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