The bedbug offensive has finally reached our doorstep — and we’re making a stand.
Today, bedbug-hunting beagles will patrol our office at 1 Metrotech Center in Downtown, one day after National Grid, which occupies an upper floor in the southern wing of the building, admitted that it was the latest victim of the ongoing infestation of Downtown.
“Bedbugs were identified in two small work areas,” company spokeswoman Karen Young said on Friday. “We notified the landlord and immediately took action with pest control experts to clean and inspect the affected area.”
But the effort to eradicate the pernicious pest went beyond National Grid’s offices. Building management notified the rest of the tenants in the Bruce Ratner-owned tower on Jay Street that today, the entire building would be swept by a “Canine Detection Team” from 7 am until 3 pm.
The news that 1 Metrotech Center — also known as the Community Newspaper Group Building — had been hit by bedbugs was hardly a surprise, given that the wretched mites have been on the rampage for a month in the city’s most-important civic center.
There is still some hope for us, dear reader, as there is no access between National Grid’s portion of the building and ours — no access for humans, that is.
But this enemy is resilient, bedbug experts confirmed.
“If their food source [blood] is eliminated, they’ll go through electrical circuitry seeking heat and carbon dioxide for more food,” said Alexander Rogue with Beyond Pest Control. “They can certainly spread fast — when they run out of food, they move on.”
On Friday afternoon, morale in our office was low, as reporters dug in before the seige. Some were clearly cracking.
“I’m afraid for my well being!” said intrepid Brooklyn Paper reporter Stephen Brown. “Bedbugs have such a stigma that I’ll be a pariah, a leper! People will be running across the street to get away from me.” (Editor’s note: Basically, nothing would change for Brown.)
Whatever our fate, this battle plays only a small role in a burgeoning citywide war being waged against bedbugs. Officials have said that the mites have attacked one in 15 residents — and that number is supposed to increase over the next five years.
We’ll let you know if we see any of the bedbug warning signs: tiny, clustered bite marks, blood on bed sheets (or office chairs) and small patches of excrement that look like ground pepper.