The most well known insect pests, such as cockroaches, termites, and mosquitoes, are typically associated with warm and humid climatic conditions. This is why everyone expects to be eaten alive by mosquitoes while vacationing in Florida. Considering the relatively cold winters and temperate summers in Maine, the state is not commonly associated with insect pest activity. But this is a mistake, as Maine leads all other US states in the number of reported lyme disease cases, making ticks a serious public health threat within the state. To be accurate, ticks are actually arachnids, not insects, but Maine is also home to a booming bed bug population. Bed bugs were causing grief to Maine residents before the bloodsucking insects became common in all other US states. Today, bed bug issues are more problematic than ever in Maine. In fact, it could be said that bed bug infestations are leading to civil unrest within the state.
During the summer of 2017, an elderly man walked into an Augusta municipal building where he proceeded to dump a cup of bed bugs on a counter in front of government employees. This particular act was the man’s way of protesting the government’s failure to address a long-running bed bug infestation that he had been forced to tolerate within his public housing unit. Unfortunately for this disgruntled individual, his act of protest earned him a charge of assault and obstruction of government administration. To make matters worse, the man also became homeless due to his act of frustration. However, this man is not the only resident of Maine who feels that the government is not doing enough to protect tenants from bed bugs.
Many tenants in Maine are claiming that their landlords are doing little, if anything, to eradicate bed bug infestations from their rental properties. Many of these residents also claim that the government is not doing enough to enforce tenant rights when it comes to insect infestations. According to state law, tenants in Maine are required to notify their landlord immediately upon discovering bed bugs within their rental unit. The landlord is then given 5 days to have the property inspected, and if bed bugs are found, the landlord has an additional 10 days to eradicate the insects. If landlords in Maine fall short of their legal requirements in this regard, they could be fined $2,500.
Have you ever fallen victim to a bed bug infestation within a rental property?