01/29/2013 10:41 am ET Updated Jan 29, 2013

Chicago Bed Bug Crackdown Targeting Landlords Proposed By Aldermen


A group of three aldermen aren't taking Chicago's worst-in-the-nation bed bug ranking lying down.

On Tuesday, Alds. Ray Suarez (31st), Harry Osterman (48th) and Debra Silverstein (50th) plan to introduce a new ordinance that will require landlords to hire professional exterminators to rid their properties of any bed bug infestations, according to NBC Chicago. If landlords refuse to hire an exterminator, they would be fined $1,000 per day.

Tenants will be required to inform their landlords of feared infestations of the bug, which would officially be deemed "public nuisances" under the proposed ordinance, ABC Chicago reports. Property owners would also be barred from renting out any infested units.

The proposal will be heard during a hearing in front of the City Council Health and Housing committees on Tuesday.

Earlier this month, pest control company Orkin named Chicago as home to the most bed bug infestations in 2012.

"The city has a significant problem that needs to be addressed at a comprehensive level," Osterman told the Chicago Tribune of the ordinance.

Ruth Kerzee, associate director of the Safer Pest Control Project, explained to CBS Chicago that the city may be getting hit so hard at present since it's just getting caught up on the crusade against the critters. The proposed ordinance is similar to rules New York officials unveiled in 2011.

“New York used to have a terrible problem," Kerzee told the station. "They’ve reacted to that problem, and they’ve gotten it under control, whereas Chicago is seeing an uptick in bedbugs, because we are sort of behind the curve.”

Cleanliness is not a factor in bed bug infestations, though clutter is. At roughly the size of an apple seed when fully grown and fed, bed bugs are not always easy to see.

Below, the worst U.S. cities for bed bugs:



Worst Bed Bug Cities 2012