Socioeconomic drivers of urban pest prevalence

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Jun 01, 2020
Chris Sutherland, Andrew J. Greenlee, and Daniel Schneider



  1. Bed bugs have re‐established themselves as a common household pest in the United States and pose significant public health and economic concerns, particularly in urban areas.
  2. Documenting the scale of the bed bug resurgence and identifying the underlying predictors of the spatial patterns of their incidence is challenging, largely because available data come from biased self‐reporting through local government code enforcement.
  3. Here, we make use of a novel source of systematically collected data from periodic inspections of multifamily housing units in Chicago to investigate neighbourhood drivers of bed bug infestation prevalence in Chicago.
  4. Bed bug infestations are strongly associated with income, eviction rates and crowding at the neighbourhood level.
  5. That bed bug prevalence is higher in lower‐income neighbourhoods with higher levels of household crowding and eviction notices provides unique empirical evidence of the disproportionate allocation of public health burdens upon neighbourhoods facing multiple dimensions of disadvantage.

Read the article in People and Nature.


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