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Central Ohio Bed Bug Task Force
Weekly Update – January 17, 2013
By Paul Wenning

- Chicago is debating new regulations (ordinances) that would penalize landlords who don't treat their properties for bed bugs.  Here are links to a couple of Chicago Tribune articles:,0,7246005.story   Here is also another interesting article from the Tribune: Thanks to Gerry Wegner for this lead!

- Dr. Jones sent a link to a USEPA webinar on bed bugs that is coming up.  Here's the link:

- Michael Duncan from Worthington Fire Department is developing a prevention and treatment document for EMS vehicles.  Thanks, Michael for taking this on!

- Here are updates about our reorganization:
The Chair and Vice Chair of the Education, Outreach, and Speakers Bureau Subcommittee are Bethany Dohnal and Lee Johnson

Here are the goals and objectives of the Publications Subcommittee:

COBBTF Meeting Jan 17, 2013
Publications Subcommittee Meeting Minutes

1) Organization – first meeting of group; introductions and shared employer info/background. Committee Members and Contact Information:

Carol Elder (chosen CHAIRPERSON)
Works in infection control/microbiologist at Mt Carmel Health System. Member of COBBTF Steering Committee

Cindy Yost
Attorney, works with new organization, Disability Rights Ohio, role is protection and advocacy for those with disabilities.

Kim Carpenter 614-365-5917; or 559-1093
Licensed School Nurse (RN)for Columbus City Schools, serves district as staff contact person for bed bug questions/issues.

Board member of Ohio Association of School Nurses
Dawn Abbott 614-644-0205
State School Nurse Consultant (RN)for Ohio Department of Health, School and Adolescent Health Unit. Provides phone assistance to school staff throughout Ohio for questions about bed bugs as well as many other topics, many other duties as well related to school health.

Board member of Ohio Association of School Nurses
Joan Keith (chosen Vice Chairperson) 614 -487-5091 or 614-806-1373
Licensed School Nurse (RN)for Upper Arlington City Schools, serves district as staff contact person for bed bug questions/issues.

2) Ideas and discussion

a) “Branding” of our product which is education/information out to the public. Perhaps we could ask OSU Marketing students to assist with the project.

b) Asking the webmaster to provide on the website a SITE INDEX of documents posted.

c) Expand/Create tool kits containing templates for handouts such as the small cards of info that COBBTF previously produced.
Specific Naming and Development of Tool Kits for each business type:
Some suggested:
School Took Kit for any educational (preschool, k-12, college)
Office Workers Tool Kit
Apartment Dwellers Tool Kit
Apartment Owners Tool Kit

d) Discussed informational poster development for schools, other public places: Libraries, grocery stores, banks, etc. Dawn will look into ODH participating in a development and production of a informational poster for schools which could be posted in areas where parents can see.

3. Goal established and reported: To provide Informational Toolkits for a variety of organizations based in easy to access format and make available based on need/funds.

4. Assignment:
Each of us are to look over the website documents before the next meeting. Discussion by email to determine how we want to proceed, divide up work. Preferably before next meeting.

Central Ohio Bed Bug Task Force
Weekly Update – June 10, 2010
By Paul Wenning

This week's edition of "From Scratch" will be another short one.  Here are the highlights:

  • USEPA has responded to Governor Strickland’s letter to the Director, supporting the Section 18 Waiver for Propoxur. The letter seems to reject the Waiver Request. However, Ohio Dept. of Agriculture Director Matt Beal has still not received a formal rejection letter, so the actual status of the Waiver Request is still unknown. Updates will be announced at next Wednesday’s meeting, and copies of the letter to Governor Strickland will be made available to those wanting a copy.

  • The Preparation Guidelines for Bed Bug Treatment are almost complete, and should be on the COBBTF website in a week or so. A plain text draft will be available for review you at the meeting

  • Recently received data about local bed bug infestations will be addressed at next Wednesday’s meeting.

  • Several letters have been received by the Task Force about last week’s "From Scratch," - specifically the multi-media program that is being used to sell "Hot Shot." The Task Force plans to address potential educational efforts at Lowes’ and Home Depot’s at the next meeting.

  • Think bed bugs are just an urban problem in Greater Columbus? Not anymore! The Task Force received a complaint from a mobile home park in Pleasant Township near Darbydale, and have spoken with an elderly person who lives in Brown Township near the Madison County Line. Neither person is certain how they acquired the bugs.


1:00 - 1:05: Introductions
1:05 - 1:30: Status of the Section 18 Waiver
1:30 - 1:45: PR update
1:45 - 1:50 Updated bed bug statistics
1:50 - 2:10 How can we reach companies that are selling over-the counter chemicals to treat bed bugs?
2:10 - 2:30 Open discussion

Central Ohio Bed Bug Task Force
Weekly Update – May 7, 2010
By Paul Wenning

This week's edition of "From Scratch" will be fairly short.  Here are the highlights:

  • Bethany Dohnal has been working with a Columbus Dispatch reporter who is interested in bed bugs.  The reporter is looking specifically at the human cost of bed bug infestations (i.e., financial and psychological toll that bed bugs cause for families).  She has interviewed several members of the Task Force, and is interviewing families who currently have bed bugs, as well.  The timing of the article is propitious, since the letter requesting financial assistance from the County Commissioners has been mailed.  The article should appear over the weekend.

  • Susan Jones forwarded a flier concerning a program for schools that OSU will be holding.  Click here to see that flier.

  • Paul Wenning attended the Grove City Safe Housing Expo last Saturday to represent the COBBTF.  Although the focus of the event was home safety, he was able to distribute a lot of the Task Force’s bed bug materials.  Many of the people who stopped by the table to talk had heard about bed bugs, but very few of them considered that they might be at risk from them until that moment.  Many people still aren't taking this problem seriously.

  • Amber was able to work with a Somali newspaper that has translated and printed an article on bed bugs in their weekly paper.

  • All documents on the website are in the process of being streamlined for uniformity.

  • The "10 Most Common Questions About Bed Bugs" page for the website should be posted on the site very soon.   

Central Ohio Bed Bug Task Force
Weekly Update – February 18, 2010
By Paul Wenning

Here are the highlights from the latest Central Ohio Bed Bug Task Force Meeting:

  • The Task Force reviewed the bed bug maps which contain the data they have accumulated. The total # of bed bug infestations represented on the map is 2,040. This is probably just a fraction of the total # of cases in the county. If your agency or company has any bed bug statistics for 2010, please send them to Paul Wenning at

  • Elizabeth Kress passed copies of the OEEF funded materials for everyone to review. At this time, it appears that the COBBTF will receive about 50,000 wallet cards, an equal # of post cards and about 10,000 magnets. If you haven’t requested any of the materials yet, please do. It appears that there will possibly some extras.

  • The Task Force discussed the lack of involvement or interest in the COBBTF by Mayor Coleman, the suburban mayors, and the Franklin County Commissioners. There will be an effort to reach out to them and elicit their support, even if they do nothing more than link their website to

  • The Task Force discussed some changes that will be coming soon to the website. Goals are to make the website more accessible and easier to use. A button will be added for homeowners and tenants to the site, and will place all of the general information - and some new content - there.

  • Approaching the Franklin County Commissioners for additional funding was discussed again. Barb Sullivan from the Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging will develop a proposal. The Steering Committee will meet soon to put together a proposed budget, asking for money to:

    • Do more education through materials and media;
    • Purchase mattress covers;

    • Assist low - income homeowners pay for bed bug treatment and preparation;
    • Support the website

All the task force’s accomplishments this year will be highlighted in this presentation along with the data collected documenting the spread of this pest through the community.

  • Bethany Dohnal is going to create PSAs of various lengths to send to local radio stations to air.

  • Mona Geise provided Doctors West Hospital’s bed bug guidance documents to the Task Force. They will be compared to the ones from OSU hospital and a hybrid version will be put on the website.

Our next meeting will be held March 17, 2010 from 1:00 - 2:30 PM.

Central Ohio Bed Bug Task Force
Weekly Update – February 4, 2010
By Paul Wenning

Lots of good news this week!

  • FirstLink has agreed to accept bed bug calls for the COBBTF!  Now, the Task Force will have a centralized message center for anyone who has a question about bed bugs, or if they want to file a complaint.  Task Force representatives have to meet with FirstLink to finalize the details as to how this will work, but this will help the COBBTF a great deal.
  • The wallet cards and postcards have been translated into Spanish and Somali courtesy of Barb Sullivan and Lois Ross. 
  • The text and the graphics for the post cards magnets, and wallet cards are finished, and they are ready to go to the printer.  They might not be ready in time to distribute at the next meeting, and if not, they will be delivered to you directly.
  • The printer the Task Force has been working with will produce about 17,000 magnets, 50,000 wallet cards, and 50,000 post cards.  The Wallet cards and post cards will be printed in Somali, Spanish and English.  Here's the breakdown:
    • Somali:   5,000 each
    • English:  21,500 each
    • Spanish: 21,500 each
      • Please note that these numbers may change somewhat, and could increase by a thousand or so sometime in the future.
  • Click here to download an order form for the materials.  Please fill it out and send it to Elizabeth (contact info listed at the bottom of the form) as soon as you can.  If there are more requests than materials, materials will be split amongst orders as evenly as possible.

The first meeting of the Ohio Bed Bug Work Group happened last Monday, February 1st.  This was a preliminary meeting attended by COBBTF members Susan Jones, Matt Beal and Paul Wenning.  It isn't clear at this time what the purpose or scope of the group will be.  More details in a week or so.

The next meeting will be February 17th, at COLUMBUS CODE ENFORCEMENT 757 CAROLYN AVENUE (just off of I-71) from 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Central Ohio Bed Bug Task Force
Weekly Update – January 28, 2010
By Paul Wenning

This will be a short edition of "From Scratch". A report from the Steering Committee with a progress report on the postcards and other items will be out in the coming weeks.

Here are the highlights of what’s currently going on:

  • Dr. Jones and Paul Wenning conducted bed bug training for about 60 very engaged folks at the Whitehall Community Center Monday evening. They had lots of excellent questions, and took the presentations seriously. Thanks to Claude Nesbit for arranging this meeting!
  • The drafts of the "What to Do and What Not to Do" pages for the website are almost complete. Previews are forth coming.
  • The Task Force has received three bed bug guidance documents for hospitals. One item of note is that they do not address communication with EMS very completely, and are each somewhat different. The COBBTF would like someone with a medical background (or at least who understands hospital jargon) to help review these documents.
  • The bed bug data received for 2009 has been compiled. The numbers for some zip codes are staggering! The data so far shows that 2040 places in Greater Columbus had, or still have a bed bug infestation! Remember that this data represents a fraction of the actual cases.  The data is still being analyzed so these numbers are subject to change.

The next meeting will be Sunday, February 17th from 1:00 p.m. – 2:30p.m. Location will be announced next week.

Central Ohio Bed Bug Task Force
Weekly Update – October 15, 2009
By Paul Wenning

This edition of "From Scratch" is much longer than normal!

First, please remember the monthly meeting next Wednesday, October 21st, at the Upper Arlington Library, 2800 Tremont Road, in Upper Arlington from 1:00 - 2:30PM.

Quick Updates:

  • Quite a few people have already registered for the 2nd Annual Central Ohio Bed Bug Summit. The attendance goal is 200 people, and that target is well within sight. There will be representation from social services, the hospitality industry (hotels) and local governments. There are few or no schools, medical professionals, safety personnel, and other target groups. Please forward the letter and invitation to anyone that you know in those professions.
  • The Steering Committee met on Monday to finalize the agenda for the meeting. All of the speakers are lined up, except for a physician to discuss the physical and psychological toll that bed bugs take on their victims. Dr. Jones is attempting to find a physician to present, but if you know of someone who has experience treating folks with bed bugs, please contact a Steering Committee member a.s.a.p.

At the Summit, we will have:

  • The website
  • A display board
  • The bed bug poster
  • Vials with bedbugs to pass among the attendees, courtesy of Gerry Wegner. (The bed bugs will be suspended in Pure tm and quite dead!)
  • Pocket Guides
  • Furniture Stickers
  • Copies of the school, hotel, housing, guidance, and CDs of the Firefighter PowerPoint.

COBBTF Meeting Agenda, November 10, 2009 1:00 - 2:30 PM
Upper Arlington Library
1:00 - 1:05: Introductions
1:05 - 1:30: Discussion of the Summit Agenda
1:30 - 2:25: Working on presentations for the Summit
2:25 - 2:30: Wrap up

Everyone will break into groups to work on the different presentations concerning How Bed Bugs are Effecting Our Community.  The following people have been asked to lead each group:

  • Rental Housing – Mike Snyder, Claude Nesbit, Paul Wilkins
  • Health Care – Mona Geise, Ricky Hoover
  • Schools – Kim Carpenter, Joan Keith, Janet Hyme-Householder
  • Hospitality - Ken Johnson, Jim Hale
  • Social Services – Lois Ross, Terri O’Connor, Barb Sullivan, Donna Dennis
  • Public Safety – Tammy Sheaks, Chuck Brooks, Leslie Dybiec
  • Pest Mgt Companies – Gerry Wegner, Andrew Christman, Sue Poulton, Jennifer Montgomery
  • Used Furniture Purveyors – Jon Vidosh, Rick Selegue
  • Enforcement – Sue Carpenter
  • Regulation – Matt Beal

The rest of the members will circulate and try to help these groups develop a message and pick a speaker.  The presentation will last 7 - 10 minutes. The format is up to the group. A formal presentation is fine.

Directions to the UA Library:
From the East, South, Downtown: Take SR 315 north to the Lane Ave exit. At the bottom of the ramp turn west (left.).
From the North, Northeast: Take SR 315 South from I-270 to the Lane Ave Exit. At the bottom of the ramp, turn right (west.) Follow Lane Ave to Tremont Rd - about 2 miles. Turn north (right.) The library is on the right side of the street near Northham Park

Central Ohio Bed Bug Task Force
Weekly Update – September 25, 2009
By Paul Wenning

This edition of “From Scratch” will summarize the work done at the last meeting. The COBBTF Summit Agenda is final!  There was good representation at the monthly meeting, and people have volunteered to develop short presentations for the Summit during the section entitled, How Are Bed Bugs Effecting Our Community and Our Agencies?
Presenters who've submitted their program already are marked on the agenda with an asterisk.
Here is the final agenda:

NOVEMBER 10, 2009, 9:00 AM

8:30 – 9:00 AM             Registration
9:00 – 9:10 AM             Welcome
Robert Boggs, Director, Ohio Department of Agriculture
9:10 – 9:25 AM             Bed Bugs 101 – A Refresher Course 
Dr. Susan Jones, OSU Extension Entomology
9:25 – 9:40 AM             Medical and Psychological Implications of Bed Bugs Infestations 
Kim Carpenter, RN Columbus Public Schools
9:40 – 9:55 AM             How Extensive is the Bed Bug Problem in Central Ohio?
Paul Wenning, Franklin County Board of Health
9:55 – 10:05 AM           Break
10:05 – 11:40 AM         How Are Bed Bugs Affecting Our Community and Our Agencies?
Christopher Eddy, Wright State University and Members of the COBBTF
11:40 – 11:50 AM                      Break
11:50 – 12:10 PM                      Panel Discussion with Moderator
12:10 – 12:25 PM                      Legislative Update, Representative Mallory
12:25 – 12:40 PM                      Bed Bug Sniffing Dog Demonstration
12:40 – 12:50 PM                      Concluding Remarks
Areas of Concern:

  • Rental Housing (Mike Snyder, Claude Nesbit, Paul Wilkins)
  • Health Care (Rick Hoover, Mona Geise)
  • Schools (Kim Carpenter, Joan Keith, Janet Hyme-Householder)
  • The Hospitality Industry (Ken Johnson, Jim Hale)
  • Social Service Agencies (Lois Ross, Terri O'Connor, Barb Sullivan, Donna Dennis)
  • Public Safety (Tammy Sheaks, Leslie Dybiec)
  • Pest Management Companies (Andrew Christman, Jennifer Montgomery, Gerry Wegner)
  • Used Furniture Purveyors (Rick Selegue, John Vidosh)
  • Enforcement Agencies (Sue Carpenter)
  • Regulation (Matt Beal)

We want to thank the Ohio Pest Management Association. They have agreed to supply refreshments for the Summit!

Space is still available for people who would like to attend the Summit!

Central Ohio Bed Bug Task Force
Weekly Update – September 18, 2009
By Paul Wenning

Here’s what’s happening in this week’s edition of "From Scratch":

The Wednesday 9/16/09 COBBTF meeting was very productive. Most of the time was devoted towards the upcoming Second Annual COBBTF Bed Bug Summit. A lot of great ideas were put forth in the meeting, and the theme of the summit was refocused slightly. The main challenge is to make this year’s meeting different enough from last year’s that people who attended the ‘08 meeting will feel as if this one will give them new information and that it will be will be worthwhile.

The Second Annual Bed Bug Summit will be held at the Ohio Dept of Agriculture on East Main Street in Reynoldsburg from 9:00 - 12:30 on November 4, 2009.
The tentative agenda follows:

  • Welcome / Keynote: The Central Ohio Bed Bug Task Force after one year: What have we learned, what have we accomplished, what challenges do we face?
  • How Extensive is the Bed Bug Problem In Central Ohio?
  • How Are Bed Bugs Affecting Our Community? (Multiple presentations, about 10 minutes each)
    • Rental Housing: What are the challenges for landlords and tenants? How extensive is the problem? What can be done to lessen the problem? What has COBBTF done so far?
    • Health Care: Who’s being affected? What can be done to lessen the problem? What has COBBTF done so far?
    • Schools: What are the challenges for school nurses, custodians and students? What can be done to lessen the problem? What has COBBTF done so far?
    • The Hospitality Industry: What are the challenges for hotel managers and staff? What can be done to lessen the problem? What has COBBTF done so far?
    • Social Service Agencies: Who is being affected by bed bugs? How extensive is the problem? What can be done to lessen the problem? What has COBBTF done so far?
    • Public Safety: What are the challenges for firefighters and police? What can be done to lessen the problem? What has COBBTF done so far?
    • Pest Management Companies: How extensive is the problem? What works? What doesn’t? What can be done to lessen the problem? What has COBBTF done so far?
    • Used Furniture Purveyors: What are the challenges? What can be done to lessen the problem? What has COBBTF done so far?
    • Enforcement: What challenges do enforcement agencies face? What can be done to lessen the problem? What has COBBTF done so far?
    • Regulation and Research: Where do we stand?
  • Legislative update – Representative Mallory
  • Bed Bug Sniffing Dog Demonstration (if permission is obtained)

We will invite the following groups to the summit:

  • School Maintenance and custodial supervisors
  • Public Officials, including the Franklin County Commissioners
  • College Student Government Associations
  • College Admissions Officers
  • Hospital Environmental Services Directors
  • Representative of the Ohio Nurses Association
  • Representative from Ohio Dental Association
  • Cab Drivers Association
  • COTA
  • Ohio Restaurant Association
  • Ohio Attorney General, Office of Consumer Protection
  • Ohio Dept of JFS
  • Representative from License Bureaus
  • Representative for skilled / unskilled nursing providers
  • Movie Theater Managers (if they have an association)
  • Goodwill / Salvation Army/ Habitat for Humanity
  • Columbus Division of Refuse
  • The Renter’s Union
  • New Media

if anyone has a contact within these groups and organization, please contact Paul Wennig with their name(s) and addresses as soon as possible. Invitations are scheduled for mailing no later than the first week of October.

Central Ohio Bed Bug Task Force
Weekly Update – September 3, 2009
By Paul Wenning

This edition of "From Scratch" is pretty exciting!

  • The NBC Affiliate in Columbus (Channel 4) aired a story earlier this week about a bed bug infested apartment complex on the West Side of Columbus. The story implied that the management, Columbus Code Enforcement Officer and the pest management company involved with the complex weren’t doing enough to solve the problem, which isn’t correct.
  • Columbus’s 10TV News interviewed Paul Wenning on September 3rd concerning the scope of bed bug infestations in Central Ohio.
  • The COBBTF participated in a bed bug strategic planning meeting with Franklin County Children’s Services earlier this week. A representative of Children’s Services will be joining the Task Force.
  • The Fire Fighter Power Point and the Guidance for Realtors are nearly complete. Look for them on the website.
  • The Steering Committee met earlier this week to discuss a funding request to the County Commissioners. Trying to find funding was discussed for the following projects:
    • Website: $5,000
    • Providing laminated posters of the Hotel Guidance Document in English and Spanish. Enough posters would need to be printed for the 198 hotels in Greater Columbus, (estimate printing about 400 copies).
    • 20 Bed Bug Guidance CDs for fire departments.
    • Advertisements (the bus cards) on COTA buses, and OSU buses.
    • Displays.
    • Fliers or brochures for area residents.
    • Any knowledge of costs associated with these advertising mediums can be sent to the COBBTF by clicking here.

We also discussed the 2nd Annual COBBTF Bed Bug Summit. The Auditorium at the Ohio Dept, Of Agriculture has been reserved for the event, which will be held November 4, 2009. Time to be announced.

Tentative Agenda:

  • Introduction, Summary of our first year: Paul Wenning
  • Bed Bug Refresher Course: Susan Jones
  • Legislative Update: Representative Mallory form Cincinnati;
  • Status of bed bugs in Central Ohio: Sue Carpenter, Susan Jones, Ken Johnson, Andrew Christman, Charlie Broschart, Tammy Sheaks;
  • Section 18 (pesticide) Emergency Exemption: Matt Beal
  • Managing Bed Bugs in Rental Property: Wendy Fisher, F&W Properties;
  • Experiences: Trish Powers, Huckleberry House, Joan Keith or Kim Carpenter, Schools Barb Sullivan, FCOA.

There are three 3 ½ hours of presentations. If anyone has other topics / speakers, contact the COBBTF.


  • COBBTF SEPTEMBER MEETING:              09/16/2009       Hilliard Public Library   1:00 - 2:30 PM
  • COBBTF OCTOBER MEETING:                10/21/2009       Upper Arlington Library          1:00 - 3:00 PM
  • 2ND ANNUAL COBBTF BED BUG SUMMIT:           11/04/2009       Ohio Dept of Agriculture         TBA
  • COBBTF NOVEMBER MEETING:                         11/18/2009       CMHA                          1:00 - 3:00 PM

Central Ohio Bed Bug Task Force
Weekly Update – July 23, 2009
By Paul Wenning

This update is an important one. During the last few months, the number of people who regularly attended COBBTF meetings has dropped off. Although vacations and other summer commitments have certainly played a large part in the reduced attendance at meetings, “other” issues have arisen. The Steering Committee will attempt to address them before the next meeting on August 12, 2009.

They include:

  • The feeling by some members that they’ve completed their work.
  • A sense that the Task Force doesn’t have a clear direction.
  • A feeling that the subcommittees aren’t a part of the larger group.
  • Frustration with the length of time that it takes to finish a project.
  • Lack of direction from the Steering Committee.
  • Frustration that people who don’t show up have a say in the development of a subcommittee’s work.
  • There is little understanding about the interconnectedness of the work of each subcommittee.
  • Few people provide any feedback to the Steering Committee about their concerns and issues with the COBBTF. The feedback is needed. All Steering Committee members are accessible via phone or e-mail. If there are additional concerns, please contact one of them as soon as possible.

Some of these issues are easily handled. Solutions proposed include:

  • Beginning next month, a member of the Steering Committee will sit with and facilitate subcommittee meetings.
  • The era of writes, rewrites, and more rewrites of documents is OVER!  There is no reason why it takes months to complete a document. The Steering Committee set a reasonable schedule for approving documents in April, and hereinafter it will be adhered to very strictly!
  • More time will be devoted to general issues in meetings. This means that subcommittee chair people are going to have to find ways of meeting with their members at another time and place. It is not up to the Steering Committee to schedule these meetings. However, a report will be expected from each subcommittee at the beginning of each monthly general meeting.
  • More people will be actively recruited with public relations and fund raising skills to become part of the Task Force.;


  • The bed bug problem is getting larger every day. COE and FCBH staff are handling more and more complaints
  • The public is hungry for information. The public needs to be reached in more ways, even if print and electronic media ignore this committee.
  • Someone is going to be hurt or killed after using the wrong material to treat bed bugs;

The bottom line is that the bed bug problem is growing, and the members of the Steering Committee and Subcommittee Chairs have to know who is serious about carrying forth the work of the Task Force.  Beginning with the August meeting, the monthly meeting sign - in sheets will be examined. Anyone not attending one, or all of the August, September, or October meetings will 1) not be allowed to provide input to the Task Force; 2) not receive the weekly updates 3) have their organization removed from the list of partners on the website.

The goal is to strengthen the Task Force and we hope that some of these measures will help.

Central Ohio Bed Bug Task Force
Weekly Update – July 16, 2009
By Paul Wenning

There is a lot to report in this week’s edition of "From Scratch."

  • The COBBTF had a table at the Franklin County Fair on Saturday. Dr. Jones’s bed bug poster, a screen capture of the website home page, and copies of the various documents created so far were all on hand.

Other news:

  • Andrew Christman has asked all of the members of the Ohio Pest Management Association that operate in the Columbus Area to provide the COBBTF with the numbers of bed bug infested places that have been treated. To overcome concerns that other pest control companies could use the data that will be provided, each company will e-mail their results directly Paul Wenning. They will ONLY provide data by zip code, not by address. A spreadsheet has been created that asks them to share the number of owner occupied structures, apartments, schools, public buildings, health care facilities, and other places that they’ve treated. This information will be used to target educational efforts and map the scope of the infestation throughout the county on the website. The data will help convince the public that the infestations are far more widespread than they might think.
  • The Jackson Township Fire Department has created a terrific training Power Point TM concerning bed bugs that was viewed during the monthly COBBTF meeting. This presentation will become a valuable training tool that will be available to all fire departments in the area.
  • The Franklin County Sheriff has expressed an interest in bed bug training for his deputies. COBBTF will be working with the Sheriff’s Department to arrange the training.
  • Although the COBBTF monthly meeting was sparsely attended, many things were accomplished at the meeting. Thanks to the members of the Health Care and Social Services Subcommittee, the key element in our effort was isolated and examined. Unless we close all gaps in communications between agencies and organizations along with assumptions held about who is doing what, the bed bug cycle will never be broken.
  • A presentation will be created for the next COBBTF meeting that outlines the things observed.

Our next meeting will be held on August 12th, 2009. Jackson Township Fire Department has agreed to host us again, so the meeting will be held from 1:00-3:00 at 3650 Hoover Road in Grove City.

Central Ohio Bed Bug Task Force
Weekly Update – July 10, 2009
By Paul Wenning

This week’s update is very brief:

  • The number of bed bug complaints received by Columbus Code Enforcement and the Franklin County Board of Health continue to rise. Almost all of the complaints received involve rental housing, but the proportion of single - family, owner occupied homes is growing.
  • Representatives from some of the Columbus Fire Department fire houses on the Far East Side received bed bug training on Wednesday of last week.

The next COBBTF meeting will be Wednesday, July 15th from 1:00 - 3:00pm at the Jackson Township Fire House: 3650 Hoover Road in Grove City.  

Central Ohio Bed Bug Task Force
Weekly Update – July 3, 2009
By Paul Wenning

Here is the important news concerning bed bugs:

  • Dr. Jones participated in a "town hall meeting" in Cincinnati on Monday, sponsored by Representative Mallory. Mr. Mallory has sponsored bed bug awareness legislation in the State House of Representatives, and he has multiple sponsors for his bill. Dr. Jones indicated that the event was well attended, but that there was no, or little, subsequent press interest in the meeting;
  • The number of bed bug complaints received by the Franklin County Board of Health (hereinafter FCBH) and Columbus Code Enforcement (hereinafter CCE) are increasing rapidly. We received 20 complaints this week alone, and the complaints that we receive represent a fraction of the actual infestations that are "out there" in the community;
  • Jackson Twp Fire Department is the second fire department in our area to undergo a "bed bug audit." Conditions were observed in all three of their fire houses that could exacerbate a bed bug infestation. The Department Administrators are already taking steps to correct those conditions;
  • The Licking County Health Department has adopted a hotel inspection regulation similar to one that has been adopted by some of Columbus’ suburbs. The regulation becomes effective this summer;
  • The Steering Committee met on Wednesday, July 1 to discuss a range of issues, including:
    • A report from Andrew Christman that two elderly patients returned home from a local hospital, and soon after found their home infested with bed bugs. Whether they acquired the bed bugs in the hospital is unknown;
    • Dr. Jones passed out the first stickers for discarded furniture to the Steering Committee. The stickers, which say "Do Not Take!" in English and Spanish are the "first run. " If they fade quickly, or do not adhere, she can utilize another printer for the rest of the stickers that have been funded by a grant from Region 5, USEPA;
    • We discussed the problem of used furniture dealers. Could Representative Mallory include funding for training them in his bill?
    • Amber Breedlove is working on press releases for Media Week. She found an article in one of the Suburban Newspapers about an Otterbien College professor who requires his students to "dumpster dive" around the campus. The article mentioned that the students were retrieving all sorts of items from the dumpsters to local charities. They may also be distributing bed bugs. (Article not found).
    • We discussed at length the media and their seeming disinterest in bed bugs. We wondered if part of the issue is that cities don’t like negative publicity, and hence media outlets are reluctant to say too much about the pests, especially when they are found in places of commerce or public interest. Perhaps the cause is simple apathy. We don’t have an answer, but as the problem gets larger, ignoring it will NOT make it go away.
    • We discussed adding a section to the website entitled "Where to Go For Help." The object of the section would be to help people understand which agencies and can help them, and in what ways. The Steering Committee also feels that it would be helpful to either post, or link, to both the CCE and FCBH Code provisions related to bed bugs.
    • Andrew Christman related that approximately 10 people / day are coming to his shop to purchase pesticides so that they can treat bed bugs, and other pest control operators are seeing the same thing.
    • We agreed that we must collect and post data concerning the extent of the bed bug infestations throughout Greater Columbus. Christman will collect data from local pest control applicators throughout the area. CCE and FCBH will supplement his data with the data that they have, and are accumulating.

The next meeting will be July 15th, 2009 at the Jackson Twp Fire Department, 3650 Hoover Road in Grove City.

Central Ohio Bed Bug Task Force
Weekly Update – June 18, 2009
By Paul Wenning

Information coming soon.

Central Ohio Bed Bug Task Force
Weekly Update – June 4, 2009
By Paul Wenning

From Scratch” is back after a week’s hiatus.  Here is what is happening with bed bugs in Central Ohio:

  • We’ve begun to add all of the modifications to the website that were suggested at the last COBBTF meeting.  The “buttons” are in place:  some of the text and other modifications will be added soon.
  • Channel 4 ran two stories about a bed bug infested apartment building last week.  The first dealt with the condition of the apartments, and the second featured a local bed bug sniffing dog!    These apartments, which are in Franklin Township, are under orders to eradicate the bed bugs, so the problem should be solved.  (We’ve had many problems with this place.)
  • Channel 10 apparently ran a story yesterday about a new method for eliminating bed bugs that is under study at OSU.  Dr. Jones has more information about this, so please contact her if you’d like to learn more;
  • The COBBTF Steering Committee met yesterday to discuss a wide range of issues, including, publicity for the Task Force, assistance for elderly and low income people who are suffering with a bedbug infestation, and the issue of used furniture. We talked about:
    1. Setting up a program like “Farm Aid” with local celebrities (Matt Beal suggested we talk to Willy Nelson) to get donations to help low – income people pay for bed bug eradication.
    2. Getting our local legislators to talk with us about the scope and extent of the bed bug problem  in Central Ohio;
    3. Having Dr. Jones contact the media to try to elicit more interest in the bed bug problem in our area;
    4. Trying to get the local media to run announcements about the hazards associated with buying or taking used furniture into the home;
    5. ) Adding language at the bottom of all of our documents like: “Produced by the COBBTF”
    6. Please visit our website:

Our next meeting will be held June 17thfrom 1:00 – 3:00 at the Jackson Twp Fire Department at 3650 Hoover Road in Grove City.

If you try to reach me and your e-mail is returned, Bill Oxenrider, our IT Manager has told me that our spam blocker has probably blocked your server.  Until we’re able to fix this, you can also reach me at:

Central Ohio Bed Bug Task Force
Weekly Update – May 21, 2009
By Paul Wenning

Highlights from May 21st meeting:

  • There is a growing problem of bed bugs and that they are not only the problem of the poor and unclean. The task force hopes to involve the media by having a “Media Day” to get the story onto the air and print.
  • There was a discussion to improve the website: remove some of the text from the front page (inside) to provide a cleaner look; adding a “do and don’t feature- i.e. “Don’t use “bug bombs” “Do encase your mattress” as bullet points; placing buttons on the side of the home page for each sub committee so their information is more accessible, but leaving the menu tabs alone; add information about bed bug sniffing dogs; prominently feature on the home page an article title” So, you think you’re safe from bed bugs?” then follow with a list of questions, such as “Do you ever go to the movies?”; create separate “buttons” for Heathcare and Social Services; use the bus cards that the Housing Group is working on (great graphics) on the home page; post the date, time and location of upcoming meetings on the home page;
  • In addition, each subcommittee presented a summary of the projects they are working on. These include:

Social Services: Outreach to homeless shelters, children services. The group would like to be able to print 10,000 brochures for residences of senior housing and develop and distribute 2,500 posters to senior housing units.
The School Subcommittee wants to distribute a six-eight page packet of bed bug information to every school building in Franklin County (about 600 schools).
The Housing Subcommittee wants to print 8,000 brochures for distribution through libraries, 3000 brochures to be distributed to used furniture dealers and bus cards for COTA vehicles.
The Public Safety Subcommittee wants to print a small laminated card that would be placed on every fire truck and medic in the county.
Our next meeting will be held June 17th from 1:00 - 3:00. The Jackson Township Fire Dept. has graciously agreed to host our meeting again at 3650 Hoover Road.

"From Scratch" will be on vacation next week, but it will return on June 4th.

Central Ohio Bed Bug Task Force
Weekly Update – April 30, 2009
By Paul Wenning

The Housing and Public Safety Subcommittees have been busy this week
  • .Tammy Sheaks and the other members of the Public Safety Subcommittee have begun to develop a screen saver for use on fire department computers and they are developing a power point that will be used for a "train the trainer" project;
  • Bill Willis, Andrew Christman and Paul Wilkins submitted draft documents to the Housing Subcommittee to modify for use with landlords and tenants.  Subcommittee members are working with the "raw material" that they've been given by these members, and we may have some very creative web content under the housing tab very soon;
  • We've been in contact with a group from New York City that wants to create a website and a task force that is similar to ours.  They've been asking lots of questions and have been really impressed with our model;
  • Tammy Sheaks secured the Jackson Township Fire House on Hoover Road in Grove City for our next meeting on May 20th, 2009.  More information  and directions to follow.

Central Ohio Bed Bug Task Force
Weekly Update – April 23, 2009
By Paul Wenning

This was one of the most well attended and productive meetings that we've had.

  • Leslie Dybiec and the Washington Twp Fire Department (Chief Woo) provided a great meeting room for us, as well as coffee and snacks. 
  • Dr. Jones gave a brief presentation concerning the USEPA Bed Bug Conference that she attended last week.  The proceedings of the conference are on the web and are accessible.  Please e-mail Dr. Jones if you'd like the link.
  • Mona Geise from Doctor's Hospital related to us that they have had two significant bed bug infestations at the hospital.  One of the patients was transported by an EMS unit!  We don't know if the squad was infested as well, but chances are good that it was.
  • The Public Safety Subcommittee has developed some innovative strategies for getting the message to local fire  and  police departments.  They will:
  • Create a bed bug screen saver to share with all fire departments in our area.  They hope that the fire chief will approve putting it on all the computers in the department;
  • Develop a "train the trainer" program that will be offered to any fire department that wishes to use it;
  • Create displays for each fire department using (DEAD)  bed bugs in various states of development.  They won't be labeled, and firefighters will win prizes by guessing what the critters are AND answer basic questions about them.
  • The Housing Subcommittee is working on educational materials for landlords and tenants.  Bill Willis from COAAA distributed a draft brochure that can be used as the starting point for the new documents.  Also, they intend to create a bed bug checklist for tenants who are undergoing or will be undergoing bed bug treatment.
  • The School Subcommittee revised the School Protocol. They are planning training for school custodians and contacting administrators later this year;
  • The Health Care and Social Services Subcommittee is refining procedures for home care workers, and they are developing materials for hospitals and other health care agencies.

 One of the most exciting things about today's meeting was the level of sharing that occurred. Several of the groups stated that they are going to use (modify) existing documents that we have already produced. 

A few other highlights:
The Other Paper published a lengthy (if a little irreverent) article on bed bugs today.  It is also on their website;

  • WCBE Radio interviewed Dr. Jones about the website this afternoon;
  • Ohio EPA issued a press release concerning the Ohio Environmental Education Fund awards. COBBTF's $5,000 award is listed.

We've had messages from bed bug groups in Boston and New York congratulating us on the site, so the site is being read by many organizations throughout the country.

Central Ohio Bed Bug Task Force
Weekly Update –Thursday, April 16, 2009
By Paul Wenning

  • Susan Jones and Matt Beal attended the USEPA Bed Bug Conference in Washington D.C.  They will give us a brief report of their experience there at our meeting next Thursday.
  • The web site has officially been "launched" A press release was sent to all local media outlets this afternoon (Thursday.) We hope that one of the TV stations or the Dispatch will call us and ask to do a feature on the Task Force.  We've all worked hard to get information for the website and into the community, but we really could use some media attention. There is a lot of new content on the website. Some of the material is a filler- a placeholder until our sub committees provide documents that we can post to the site. Our next task will be to get people to visit the site and use the information.
  • Dr. Jones completed the USEPA Pre-Proposal for grant funding for the Task Force. We have to wait and see if the proposal is accepted or rejected.
  • Our next meeting will be held on April 23, 2009 at the Washington Township (Dublin) Administrative Offices, located at 6200 Eiterman Road, from 1:00 - 3:00 PM.  Eiterman Road is located just west of the interchange between SR 161 (Post Road) and US 33 in Dublin.  Please e-mail me if you need directions.


    • Introductions: 5 Min
    • Report on USEPA Bed Bug Meeting: 10 Min
    • Break into Subcommittees: 90 min
    • Brief report by each subcommittee - Where are we? What are We working on? 10 Min
    • Adjourn

Central Ohio Bed Bug Task Force
Weekly Update –Thursday, April 2, 2009
By Paul Wenning

  • “From Scratch”-The COBBTF Weekly Update ( Charles Broschart deserves the credit for the name)
  • The Ohio Environmental Education Fund for the Housing Subcommittee has awarded our group money. We're hoping for the $5,000 maximum amount possible. The money must be used to promote Integrated Pesticide Management and responsible pesticide use by homeowners, apartment managers, etc. There will be more details next week. Housing Subcommittee members may want to schedule a meeting
    soon to discuss the grant;
  • Dr. Jones will be conducting two presentations for the Central Ohio Agency on Aging staff during the next week.
  • We're modifying the website. You'll soon see a button that says "What's New" (or something similar.) It will highlight the most recent additions to the website;
  • People are visiting the website. We've had nine requests for information during the last two weeks;
  • The Columbus Dispatch published an article on Wednesday. The crux of the article is that scientists have unequivocally determined that bed bugs do not carry disease. The reporter may have overstated that case. Here is the link to the article: After you've read it, please check out the Journal of the American Medical Association from which the story is derived – it’s a little more ambiguous in its findings. (If you aren't able to access the JAMA article and you'd like to read it, please e-mail me and I'll send it to you as a .pdf file.) The reporter did mention the COBBTF, but only briefly.

Central Ohio Bed Bug Task Force
Weekly Update – Thursday, March 26, 2009
By Paul Wenning

  • Channel 10 did a story about bed bugs in hospitals last night (Wednesday). I did not see their newscast, but one of my colleagues at the Board of Health did.  She was not certain if they were talking about hospitals in Greater Columbus or not.  I've tried navigating the WBNS website and it doesn't seem to be posted there.  If anyone saw the feature, please let me know and I'll inform the rest of the group.
  • We will have Leslie Dybiec's "Bed Bug Fact Sheet for Communities” posted on the website tomorrow.  Please check out the photographs from last week's school training.  We are getting a lot of good content under the school tab!
  • The Worthington Fire Department has requested our assistance to set up training for the firefighters on all three units (shifts.) As far as I know, this is the first fire department to do so. Is this something that the Public Safety Committee (or anyone) would be willing to help with?
  • Our April 23rd meeting will be from 1:00-3:00 p.m. at the Washington Township (Dublin) Fire Department, 6200 Eiterman Road. It is located a little west of the  I-270.-US 35 interchange. A map will follow soon. 
  • Andrew Christman, Chair of The Media Relations and Public Outreach Subcommittee suggested that  we incorporate our web address into our logo. We will work to insert the address into the logo, which should make our documents a little cleaner, and highlight the website.

Central Ohio Bed Bug Task Force
Weekly Update – Friday, March 13, 2009
By Paul Wenning

  • The School Subcommittee has completed, and we have posted to the website (, a suggested letter for school districts to send home with students in the event that bed bugs are found in a school, and a suggested protocol for school districts to adopt concerning bed bugs.  The School Subcommittee has really worked hard to produce these documents.  Check them out when you have a moment.
  • According to Erin Day, who's been handling registrations for the School Bed Bug Training to be held, Monday March 16th from 4 – 6 PM, over 80 people have registered for the training, and more may show up.  That's a great turnout!  Everyone on the School Subcommittee has done a terrific job putting this event together!
  • We've gotten reports of bedbugs in three more hotels in the suburbs, as well one in Columbus.
  • Our next monthly meeting will be held on Wednesday, March 18 at the Columbus Code Enforcement Offices (757 Carolyn Avenue) from 1 – 3 PM.
  • The agenda for the March 18 meeting will include introductions, issues, comments, concerns as well as individual sub-committee meetings.  Combined sub-committee meetings will be held for information and strategy sharing.  Brief reports will be included from each group about their projects.