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jul 21

Should taxpayers fund the war against bedbugs?

A handful of members of the House of Representatives are championing the "Don't Let the Bed Bugs Bite Act of 2008."

The bill would give inspection grants to any state that can prove it has a bedbug problem. The money—$50 million a year to cover all states—would come from the U.S. Department of Commerce's existing budget. To qualify, a state would have to require the inspection of at least 20 percent of its hotel rooms.

Inspections would offer a chance at an independent, comprehensive assessment of the bedbug problem. Today, most statistics about the spread of bedbugs come from the sellers of pest control products, which have an interest in inflating statistics to persuade hotels to spend more on their products.

The blog Bedbugger.com offers news updates. Plus, some individual travelers report bedbugs they find to The Bedbug Registry. While New York City is a well-known "hot zone" for bedbugs, Denver, L.A., and Maryland seem particularly hard hit, too.

The bill (posted here) was co-sponsored by five Democrats and one Republican (all listed here). The bill has been in committee since May, and its future is unknown. The bill may strike some people as unfair because it asks taxpayers nationwide to fund inspections that, in all likelihood, will happen in only a handful of states. For others, the bill may seem wrong on principle because it encourages federal nosiness into state affairs or because government expenditure on such matters is perceived to be economically inefficient.

Got a bedbug story of your own? And do you think that the Feds should encourage bedbug inspections? Let us know by posting a comment.

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For info on bedbugs and how to watch out for them, see the BT article: "They Want to Suck Your Blood."

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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