Bedbugs are becoming a “growing problem” in Brussels, according to research from Puerto, a non-profit organisation that supports (ex) homeless people.
“Until three years ago this was a rather rare problem. Today my colleagues are confronted with this every day in their practice,” Rosanne Claes, administrative assistant at Puerto, told Bruzz.
The problem has become substantial enough for the non-profit organisation that they consider it to be no longer about individual liability, but a matter of public health.
“It seems logical that, in order to get to the root of the problem, the Brussels Region should take on the disinfection of (sometimes) entire buildings,” Claes said.
According to Claes, many landlords don’t want to pay for treatments, so the problem doesn’t go away but instead continues to grow.
“For many households, the cost of a pest control company is too great a barrier,” Claes explained, but when a home with bedbugs isn’t treated, the insects spread to the upstairs, downstairs and next-door neighbours.
“Soon the bedbugs will also reach people who are well housed. A solution to this problem will really benefit us all,” said Marie-Alice Janssens of Puerto.
Janssens says the infestation is not neighbourhood-related, but rather “building-related.”
“It usually occurs in buildings that are in poor condition and are occupied by people with little means,” Claes added.
Other organisations in the social sector are also experiencing increasing problems with bedbugs, according to Albatros, a shelter for the homeless.