The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is doing its share to combat bed bugs. The government agency announced on Thursday that it is giving $550,000 in grants to five organizations, three of which are universities. The EPA hopes these grants will create innovative methods in bed-bug pest control.
These grants will be used to serve immigrant, low-income and minority neighborhoods where bed-bug infestations are most prevalent.
“Low-income communities suffer disproportionately higher bed bug infestation rates,” Rutgers University entomologist Changlu Wang wrote in his grant proposal. “Unfortunately, low-income communities lack the necessary resources and knowledge to cope with rapidly expanding bed bug infestation.”
Three universities will use their own educational outreach programs while adhering to the Integrated Pest Management, or IPM, plan put in place by the EPA.
Rutgers University received $99,688 and plans to decrease the bed-bug population by starting a statewide outreach program that will educate low-income communities on how to rid their homes of the bed bugs.
Texas A&M University will use its $76,358 to implement a pest-control plan in homeless shelters across the state.
The University of Missouri plans to develop an easy-to-use website that provides tips on how to exterminate the bugs with its $89,074 grant. The school also wants to create educational programs for lower-class communities with the money.
Bed-bug infestations were at their prime last summer as they swarmed all over New York City’s Time Square. Four-star hotels and name-brand clothing stores like Abercrombie and Fitch and Victoria’s Secret were crawling with the critters and had to shut down briefly.
While only five organizations will receive the grants, Dale Kemery, with the EPA, expects that neighborhoods throughout the U.S. will benefit from these outreach programs. He said, “Lessons learned from the grants will be available for use by other communities.”
Via Northjersey.com and CNN.com