The purpose of this Unnumbered Letter (UL) is to reissue guidance to Borrowers, Management Agents, and residents of Rural Development multi-family properties and reaffirm the importance of prevention, identification, and treatment of infestations to include but not limited to bed bugs, insects, and all manner of vermin. This replaces the UL last issued on June 5, 2013.
The goal of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Rural Development’s Multi-Family Housing (MFH) programs is to provide adequate, affordable, decent, safe, and sanitary rental units for very low-, low, and moderate-income households in rural areas. Pursuant to 7 CFR 3560.103, the housing project must have all units free of visible signs of insects or rodents and must be free of signs of insect or rodent damage. This includes providing guidance aimed at preventing and addressing infestations. Of particular concern is the growing problem of bed bugs.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and USDA all consider bed bugs a public health pest. Although these insects are not known to transmit disease, bites may itch and cause an allergic reaction in some people, which may lead to secondary infections. The presence of bed bugs can also cause stress or anxiety. It is suspected that the resurgence is associated with greater international and domestic travel, lack of knowledge regarding the complex measures needed to prevent and control bed bugs, changes in pesticide availability and technology, and increased resistance of bed bugs to available pesticides. Bed bugs are not an indicator of poor sanitation, but excess clutter can provide them more places to hide, making early detection and targeted control difficult.
The ideal approach to bed bug infestations is to prevent them from occurring in the first place. Therefore, the guidance provided herein is to encourage MFH project borrowers and managers to develop an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plan to focus on preventing infestations. Such plans describe the ongoing efforts the property management will take to prevent and respond to pest infestations. For more detail on IPMs in general, please see the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) guide, online at http://www.stoppests.org.
Posted in: USDA