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Archive for Tuesday, October 26, 2010

NYC bedbugs scare away tourists

October 26, 2010

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— New York City’s bedbugs have climbed out of bed and marched into landmarks like the Empire State Building, Bloomingdale’s and Lincoln Center, causing fresh anxiety among tourists who are canceling Big Apple vacations planned for the height of the holiday season.

Some travelers who had arranged trips to New York say they are creeped out about staying in hotels and visiting attractions as new reports of bedbugs seem to pop up every few days. And officials in Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration are concerned about the effect on the city’s image and $30 billion tourism industry.

The discoveries of the bloodsucking pests at high-profile places are often not full-blown infestations, or even in public areas. Bloomingdale’s reported finding exactly one bug in the famous department store, the Empire State Building had them in the basement and Lincoln Center’s were in a dressing room.

But those reports, along with bedbug discoveries in movie theaters, hotels and clothing chain stores, are causing skittish travelers to call off trips.

Sightings of the rust-colored bugs, about the size of an apple seed, have surged in New York and around the nation in recent years. Experts have theorized that an increase in global travel and the banning of certain pesticides may be partly responsible for their spread.

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