Grant Awards to Support Bed Bug Education, Outreach and Environmental Justice Projects
April 6, 2011
EPA has awarded five grants totaling $550,000 for bedbug education, outreach and environmental justice projects. The projects supported through these grants will be designed to build broad, results-oriented partnerships for education and outreach programs to reduce bed bug infestations in communities disproportionately exposed to environmental risks. In addition, these awards are intended to support a diverse set of outreach and education projects designed to provide models and examples of outreach and education programs that can be used by other communities in their fight against bed bugs.
The recipients of the five grants are:
- University of Missouri St. Louis -- $89,074, over 12 months
University of Missouri St. Louis will develop training materials for immediate use in working with building inspectors and social service agencies that serve low-income minority and immigrant neighborhoods in the metropolitan St. Louis area and directly with residents in those communities, to address existing bed bug infestation problems and proactively avoid a larger contamination problem.
The project will translate existing information about bed bug control, prevention, identification and resources to a smartphone-friendly website. Studies indicate that while minority households trail the majority population in ownership of desktop computers for access to the internet, they exceed the majority population in ownership and use of mobile devices.
- Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Texas A&M University -- $76,358, over 24 months
- monitoring, mattress encasements, structural modifications to reduce harborage and facilitate inspections;
- quarantine protocols and treatment of belongings and furniture with a portable heat unit;
- limited use of insecticides to treat cracks, crevices and voids in areas that cannot be treated with physical or mechanical control methods may be conducted as well, but not with grant funding.
Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Texas A&M University will train shelter workers with a pilot IPM program at a minimum of three homeless shelters in Texas. The pilot project will include:
Monitoring methods will be evaluated and several surveys conducted to assess cost, frequency, severity, awareness and impacts of bed bug control.
- Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene -- $142,440, over 24 months
Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will develop and provide training as well as technical and material support to residents, service providers and retail operators in the 12 poorest zip codes of Baltimore City and county health offices throughout Maryland. This includes training to the migrant workers of Caroline County, who are extremely vulnerable to bed bugs.
Training efforts will promote reduced-risk and non-chemical methods of control that residents can use in their own homes, including: steam cleaning, drying fabric items on high heat, reducing clutter, using mattress encasements, and installing bed bug interceptors.
Also, training is expected to reach organizations and businesses that serve low-income residents, transitional housing managers, vendors of secondhand goods, health care providers and local pest product suppliers.
- Rutgers University -- $99,688, over 19 months
Rutgers University will implement a state-wide bed bug educational outreach program for low-income communities in New Jersey. They also will implement a train-the-trainer program in at least 50 low income communities in New Jersey, and assist an affordable housing community in setting up an effective and sustainable community-based model bed bug IPM program.
Their program will focus on community participation, early detection, maximization of cultural and non-chemical control practices, and judicial use of low toxicity insecticides (funded through another means) to provide sustainable management of bed bug infestations. Effectiveness of the program will be measured through monitoring of all apartments and documenting pesticide usage and changes in management practices periodically over a one-year period.
- Michigan Department of Community Health -- $142,440, over 24 months
- developing a specific education program focusing on the prevention and treatment of bed bug infestations for public health professionals and community partners;
- developing IPM-based do-it-yourself bed bug prevention and management protocols utilizing/modifying existing resources with the goal of preventing pesticide misuse;
- targeting the most vulnerable of Detroit's communities for outreach and education efforts, including community and facility training, bed bug infestation reporting mechanisms, and points of contact for consultation regarding bed bugs;
- developing a community "bed bug toolkit" for use by local governments to address tenant/landlord rights and responsibilities and the local authority to enforce laws and regulations; and lastly,
- developing an electronic surveillance and reporting system for bed bug infestations in Michigan.
Michigan Department of Community Health will promote the Michigan Bed Bug Working Group as a model for the creation of local bed bug task forces of governmental and community agencies. Efforts will include:
EPA believes that many communities, though geographically quite distant and distinct, may face similar problems when controlling bed bugs. By effectively networking and collaborating, these communities can learn from each other’s successes and failures, which could result in improved control of bed bugs and conservation of valuable limited health resources.
Because resources are increasingly scarce, it is crucial that all facets of government, industry, and academia work together efficiently. Effective bed bug control takes active participation and cannot be done in isolation, especially when multi-unit housing is involved. Collaboration and communication among all stakeholders are critical to minimizing cost and maximizing control at the community level. Through this grant project, EPA is making funds available to facilitate this interaction and collaboration.
For more information on bed bugs, please see http://www.epa.gov/bedbugs/.