As tenants, you can and should do your part to minimize conditions that attract these household pests. Mainly:
- Keep areas around your sink and stove clean, especially grease-free.
- Do not let dirty dishes accumulate in your sink or elsewhere.
- Be sure food is in covered containers (if you feed them. they will come).
More than that, if you see any bugs or rodents, or even any signs of bugs or rodents, let us know right away so we can treat them properly. You don't have to, and shouldn't wait, until the regular extermination day. The sprays and other remedies sold at hardware and other stores are only marginally effectice compared to the remedies we employ so the do-it-yourself approach is a waste of time and money.
The most common ways they make their appearance are:
- In luggage brought by guests, especially people arroving from foreign countries that have bedbug issues.
- In newly acquired furniture, primarily upholstered items such as mattresses, box springs, couches, and padded chairs.
- Used furniture is especially vulnerable to being infested.
- New furniture can also be a problem owing to bedbugs in the store.
- Do not bring used bed pillows into your apartment. "Throw pillows"for couches and chairs aren't as dangerous, but check them carefully for bedbugs before you buy them.
- Be sure to inspect any furniture you acquire for these insects before you bring it into the apartment.
- In the case of mattresses and box springs, it's a good idea to enclose these items in zippered plastic covers right away. Any bedbugs or bedbug eggs will die inside the covers and you'll never notioe them. Any bedbugs in the apartment will not be able to get inside to nest.
We wish to put an end to this negative attitude among our competitors for discerning tenants who want assurances that their landlords are using the latest tools for management. The accompanying photo, showing Al Krigman at KRF's newest document processing system, should do the job.
- If you're looking for accommodations, we're sorry we won't be able to help you.
- We appreciate referrals from current tenants, but you have an friend or colleague who asks, we won't be able to be of any assistance.
- The University of Pennsylvania off-campus living website at www.business-services.upenn.edu/offcampusservices/
- Craigslist at www.craigslist.com
- Some frank essays about renting in University City on the KRF website links at www.krf.icodat.com.
- We want to be sure that the unit is positioned so no condensing water drips onto your floor and as little as possible drips outside.
- Auxiliary support is sometimes necessary when units are installed in newer vinyl windows to avoid damaging the frames.
- We can help ensure that the gaps on the sides of the units are covered in a way that minimizes the air leaking in from outside.
The good news is that everyone who has on-line access to his or her bank account can make paperless rent payments. There are two methods, both free to account holders when available. Either lets you order the payment on a one-time basis whenever you want, or allows you specify that it be made on a regular schedule. The scheduled option is especially convenient for rents since the same is due on the same day every month.
- Almost all banks with on-line access for customers offer a Bill Pay service. Essentially, you tell the bank to send a payment, to whom, and when.
- This is paperless to you, but not to your bank or us; the reason is that your bank actually cuts the check and mails it to us and we deposit it along with other paper checks we receive.
- You register KRF Management as a recipient once. To do this, you give our name and address and your 6-digit KRF account number; e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll send you your KRF account number.
- Even better, many banks that offer their customers on-line access a free service called Pop Money. This is entirely paperless. From your viewpoint it works just like Bill Pay except that, during set-up, you don't give your bank our mailing address; instead, you register two numbers that identify (a) our bank and (b) our deposit account; again, e-mail us at email@example.com and we'll provide you with this information.
- Rather than cut and mail a check, your bank sends the payment electronically (technically, the transmission is through the Automated Clearinghouse -- abbreviated ACH).
- The money is credited directly into our account. You and we each receive a notification of the completed transaction. No paper, and no manual intervention.
Once you've set up either Bill Pay or Pop Money, you can log into your on-line account every month and enter the payment order. Or, if you wish, you may specify once that the payment be sent monthly, on a day of your choosing, through the term of your lease.
Neither Bill Pay nor Pop Money is instantaneous. If you order a payment on the first of the month, we won't get it until the 5th or 6th. We won't charge a late fee for the delay in receipt of a payment order you submit this way before the 5th of the month even if we don't actually receive it until a few days later.
There are two added benefits.
- You can't "bounce" a Bill Pay or Pop Money payment because you've inadvertently messed up your ledger or a check you deposited hasn't cleared. Neither system lets you submit a payment if the funds aren't available in your account. That could mean a $35 savings in returned check fees right away.
- Your payment is debited from your account immediately, so you don't have to wait for your check to be deposited by us and to "clear" through the banking system before it's shown on your on-line record.
Just click here then fill in the blanks and submit: www.krf.icodat.com/apt-inq
This makes extra work for your helpful, friendly KRF staff because we have to take them out and put them into the non-recyclable trash.
Why? read this: http://www.recyclebank.com/live-green/330-the-pizza-box-recycling-mystery/. If you want the short version, it's because food particles especially those containing fats and oils (aka grease) contaminate the city's recycling equipment.
By the way, the same restrictions apply to:
- otherwise recyclable containers for take-out items from fast-food outlets,
- the plastic and foil liners sometimes used with otherwise recyclable boxes; these you may either place in the regular trash or remove the liners before putting them in the recycling bins.
Our local Second Mile Center is not in any way associated with the Second Mile Foundation headquartered in State College PA which has recently been in the news because of child abuse accusations against its founder.
If you've patronized their store in the past, please do not hesitate to continue doing so because you erroneously suspect they may be involved in highly questionable activities. If you've never visited their operations, consider doing so now. They may have items you find you can use, and – right now the organization and its employees need as much community support as they can get.
Use of lead paint was banned in this country in 1978. Still, it’s likely to be present in structures built before that year. That paint may be sealed or even stripped away, but the lead can be exposed by flaking if a building is poorly maintained or a surface is loosened by water leakage or scraping. And lead dust can be released by sliding windows up and down in their tracks or opening and closing doors in their jambs if lead paint was ever used on these elements. Likewise, leaded gasoline was banned in 1995. However, lead in the exhaust has settled into the ground and can be picked up simply by walking or playing on it.
Relatively simple good housekeeping can go a long way in preventing young children from being exposed to lead dust from these sources. Parents who fail to take the proper precautions for removing any old paint flakes as well as routinely damp wiping and mopping windowsills, floors, and other horizontal surfaces are being irresponsible and asking for trouble.
But there’s more they can and should do. Diet is a key factor. Foods rich in iron, calcium, and vitamin C are known to lower the body’s ability to assimilate lead. Those high in fat have the opposite effect and boost the propensity for lead absorption.
Suitable iron-rich foods include:
- lean red meat and liver;
- fish, oysters, clams, and scallops;
- chicken or turkey giblets;
- iron-fortified cereals and grains;
- lentils, chickpeas, soy, and other beans;
- pumpkin seeds;
- raisins, prunes, and other dried fruit;
- egg yolks;
- spinach, collard, kale, turnips, and other dark leafy greens;
Suitable calcium-rich foods include:
- spinach, collard, kale, turnips, and other dark leafy greens;
- calcium-fortified cereals
- fortified orange juice;
- enriched breads, grains, and waffles;
Suitable vitamin C-rich foods include:
- oranges and orange juice, grapefruit and grapefruit juice, tomatoes and tomato juice;
- green and red pepper;
- papaya, strawberries, peaches, guava, cantaloupe, and kiwi;
Foods and ingredients to avoid altogether or to reserve for special occasions include:
- lard and other shortening (olive oil is less undesirable than most other types);
- sausages and scrapple;
- potato chips, donuts, cupcakes, and cookies;
- chicken and turkey skin;
- deep-fried preparations;
- fat pockets in meat.
Experts also recommend that young children eat four to six small portions a day rather than be fed fewer large helpings because hunger between meals tends to increase lead absorption.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a booklet giving more tips, including meal and snack menus, to build children’s resistance to lead poisoning through proper diet. It’s entitled “Lead and a healthy Diet.” Copies are on-line at:
You can also obtain a copy by contacting EPA, Office of Pollution Prevention & Toxics, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Mail Code 7401-M, Washington, DC 20460, 202-564-3810.
By and large, lead in the environment is a legacy of bygone days. It’s now prohibited for use in plumbing, gasoline and all but a few specialized types of paint. Lead-bearing products are also pretty much gone from the marketplace. Foreign-made toys or other objects having some lead content occasionally sneak through and generate lots of buzz when they’re found, but instances are rare and consumer watchdogs generally catch them rapidly.
Nevertheless, everybody in Philadelphia, and in just about any other American city you can name, is exposed to lead. Once in place, it does not decompose into a more benign residue. So it’s in the ground as a result of particulates from automobile exhaust in the leaded-gasoline common from the mid 1920s to the end of 1995. It’s in the water flowing through the plumbing of older houses that still have lead pipes (phased out in 1930) and lead-based solder (banned in 1988) in copper, brass, and other more modern hardware. And it’s embedded in old paint (disallowed in 1978), often many layers below the surface. Young children and babies being carried by pregnant women, are the segment of the population chiefly affected by the trace quantities of lead remaining in the environment that may enter their bodies through their respiratory or digestive systems.
Peeling paint in buildings constructed before 1978 is popularly viewed as the primary culprit; it can be a hazard, not only in poorly maintained properties but in those where age, water leakage, abrasion, or other factors have caused paint buckling, cracking, or flaking. However, most experts agree that dust is the main causal factor. Indoors, by release resulting from friction or impact of surfaces whenever old painted windows are raised or lowered in their tracks or doors are opened or closed in their jambs, or by infiltration from behind walls, ceilings, or floors. Outdoors owing to disturbance of soil containing exhaust residues of leaded gasoline.
The federal government, through the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has addressed one key aspect of this issue. Contractors working on buildings containing lead paint are now required to follow procedures that keep dust and debris from spreading beyond the project area and to do thorough cleaning when the job is completed.
Beyond this, some cities and states have enacted laws or incentives to remove or effectively encapsulate lead paint in older housing. These statutes have proven to be only marginally effective because of the overwhelming cost of the work and the virtual impossibility of totally eliminating the problem.
Fortunately, individuals can take some simple but remarkably effective common-sense precautions to mitigate the hazard and assume responsibility for protecting their own families. Variations of these steps are promoted nationally by the EPA and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and locally by the Philadelphia Health Department. The guidelines principally include:
- Notify your landlord about peeling or chipping paint. If you own your home, hire a certified contractor to do the repair or do the job yourself following the guidelines in the EPA’s brochure “Renovate Right” – available online at www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/renovaterightbrochure.pdf.
- Vacuum up paint chips as soon as you see them, preferably using a machine labeled as having a “HEPA filter.”
- Wet-wipe hard surfaces like floors, windows, window frames and windowsills at least once a week. Use a mop or sponge with warm water and a general all-purpose cleaner or a cleaner made specifically for lead, then thoroughly rinse or dispose of sponges and mop heads.
- Wash children's hands, pacifiers, bottle nipples, toys, and stuffed animals often, especially before they eat and before nap and bed time.
- Keep play areas clean.
- Never cook with hot water from the tap; always start with cold, and let it run for a few seconds so water that’s been sitting in contact with old lead piping or solder goes down the drain before drinking or cooking with it.
- Always wash fresh fruit and vegetables to remove chemicals which may contain lead.
- Store food that won’t necessarily be washed before eating in covered containers.
- Keep children from chewing windowsills or other painted surfaces.
- Wipe or remove shoes before entering your home to avoid tracking in lead from soil.
- Keep work clothes at your job site or change before you touch your child.
- Feed your children healthy, balanced diets with foods high in calcium, iron, and vitamin C – which help reduce lead absorption.
You can get more detailed tips from the EPA’s brochure “Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home;” it’s online at:
In addition, the Philadelphia Health Department offers a range of services, from free classes on various lead-related topics to speakers for your community, housing, or other group. Contact them at 215-685-2332 or its 24-hour information line at 215-685-2797.
- Under ordinary circumstances, we do not allow the antennas to be mounted on the roofs of the buildings. This is because our experience has been that the potential for damage to the roof and consequent leaks from melting snow and ice or heavy rain is too great.
- The City of Philadelphia is now considering an ordinance that would prohibit mounting antennas on the "street facades" of buildings as well unless it can be demonstrated that no other location is feasible. Anticipating the passage of this ordinance, we will no longer allow mounting on these locations, either.
Please keep these factors in mind when you make your arrangements with the satellite TV provider.
In most cases, we have found that side or rear locations with attachment to window frames, bays, or brick walls work satisfactorily. If this doesn't prove possible, contact the office and we will try to make special arrangements.
Note, however, that we will reserve the right to remove satellite antennas that have been installed without permission, and that tenants are responsible for either removing them when they leave or making arrangements for the new occupants to assume responsibility for them.
First, if you're buying a new room AC, be sure to select an ENERGY STAR(r)-qualified model, which will save you more than $100 in energy costs over the lifetime of the unit.
Next, installing your room AC unit correctly can save a bundle in energy costs, too. Researchers have found that the average room air conditioner leaks as much air as a six-square-inch hole in the wall.
Here are some tips for installing units most effectively:
- Seal the unit's top and bottom: Since most portable air conditioners are installed in an open window, the window must be lowered onto the top of the unit. Even if it looks like the window is tightly closed, there is usually a space between the unit and the window where air is leaking. Use a foam strip to insulate the gap where the two sashes meet.
- Home improvement stores sell kits to insulate your AC unit, which include foam rubber strips that squeeze into small spaces for a snug fit.
- Hardware stores sell foam insulation for pipes, usually in the plumbing section, which reduces "sweating" of the pipes in summer. These are usually available in various lengths, but you'll only need 3-4 ft. Be sure to buy the insulation for a 2-inch pipe, approximately the same size as the bottom edge of a window. Open the insulation where it is split and push it along the bottom of the window.
- Check the sides: When you expand the accordian-like sides on the AC unit, be sure they are not cracked or split, and that they fit snugly. Replacement units are available at most hardware stores.
- Don't forget the area between the upper and lower sash: Be sure to insert foam insulation in the space that is left when your window is open.
NYSERDA also recommends the following tips to maximize the operation of your window-type AC unit:
- Size it up: A properly sized air conditioner will operate more efficiently and dehumidify more effectively.
- Stir it up: Run ceiling paddle fans on medium, blowing down, in summer.
- Close it up: Close shades and drapes during the day to help keep heat out in summer.
- Clean it up: Remove and clean the AC air filter monthly.
- Seal it up: Keep "fresh air" vents closed on window AC units.
When your air-conditioning unit is snug in its window, don't neglect the other places in your home where cold air could escape. Use caulk to seal other windows and doors.
For more energy-saving tips from NYSERDA, click here http://www.getenergysmart.org/Resources/Tips.aspx
Fortunately, nobody who went inside got hurt.
A West Philadelphia organization known as City Kitties has posted some information on the Internet about precautions you can take to protect your pets, in preparation for situations we all hope will never arise. It's on-line at http://citykitties.org/find-help/emergency-preparedness/.
This notice posted courtesy of Pluto and friends.
Sometimes, they just can't quite get everything up to the 68-to-70 degree range we try to maintain as a minimum. If this is the case in your apartment:
- Ask us to install plastic over the inside of some of your windows (those that seem the draftiest); this is a service we provide at no cost to you.
- Wear a sweater or other heavy clothing when you're at home; if you're lounging around in your skivvies and complain to us that you're cold ... well, you won't get much sympathy; a heavy blanket, an electric blanket, or a warm dog or cat might help when you go to bed.
Here's what NOT to do. Do not use any source of auxiliary heat except an enclosed oil-filled electric radiator with a built-in temperature controller. Other devices, such as kerosene heaters or electric heaters with exposed coils, are extremely dangerous. And using your cooking equipment for space heating is hazardous as well.
As we advised everyone in a memo last week, a young lady who worked for the Second Mile Center died in a fire caused by her use of the stove to boost the temperature in her apartment (the furnace was working in the building).
And, here's an item that appeared in the January 30 edition of The Press of Atlantic City:
By CAITLIN DINEEN Staff Writer
A combination of more heating appliances being used and homes not being properly treated and weatherized before winter set in last year has resulted in countless fires throughout southern New Jersey, local fire officials said.
The trend is nothing new, officials said.
“This has been going on forever. Or at least since I’ve been around,” said Atlantic County Fire Marshal Harold “Whitey” Swartz, who has 54 years of fire prevention experience.
The trend seems to ring true for hundreds of southern New Jersey residents who have been displaced by fires that have happened since temperatures began to dip.
More than 330 people were displaced Wednesday from the Metropolitan Plaza apartment building on South Rhode Island Avenue in Atlantic City after an electrical fire forced an evacuation.
Residents were allowed to grab a change of clothes, valuables and medication before they were locked out of the building from Wednesday night to Friday.
Firefighters who responded to the blaze Wednesday said it started after one of the main electrical feeds to the building overheated.
While some fires are the result of electrical errors, Swartz and other fire officials said most of the fires that occur in winter are simply the result of user error.
“There are a lot more appliances generating heat,” Cologne Volunteer Fire Company Chief Dave Elkner said Thursday.
Elkner said his fire company responded to 339 calls for service pertaining to fires last year. That was the second highest number of calls for fire response by the company, he said.
However, Elkner said that while the department is responding to more calls, the areas of Egg Harbor Township they respond to have also expanded in the past several years.
“Our worst fire season starts in November,” Swartz said, adding that the improper use of space heaters, both electric and kerosene, and unchecked and dirty chimneys start fires that are preventable. “They’re safe if used properly.”
Swartz said that between January and February, firefighters have responded to calls for a variety of problems that can occur during the winter.
He said Christmas tree fires used to be common — caused by the combination of dry needles and hot tree lights — but that has declined with the advent of new lights that generate less heat and the increased used of fake trees.
As a safety measure, KRF Management has installed emergency furnace shut-off switches at locations in all buildings where they can be readily accessed by tenants. These switches should be instantly recognizable because they have red cover plates and are imprinted to say "Oil Burner Emergency Shutoff," "Gas Burner Energency Shutoff," or words to that effect.
If your building has a common hallway and a fire alarm panel, the switch will be located above the panel high enough so it won't be shut off accidentally. If your residence has a direct entrance to the outside, depending on the details of your layout, the switch may be:
- At the top of the stairs leading to the basement.
- At the top or the bottom of the stairs leading to the outside or near the outside door.
- Adjacent to your circuit breaker panel.
This switch should be kept in the "ON" position under all normal circumstances. It should only be moved to the "OFF" position if there's a safety-related reason for shutting down the heating system such as a fire or the odor of smoke, oil, or gas that seems to be coming from the basement. If you shut down the system for any reason, call the office to alert us immediately. Depending on the condition, after shutting down the system, you may also want to notify the Fire Department by calling 911.
Three other points:
- Leave the switch in the "ON" position even if it's not during heating system. We will have the furnace shut down with the master control.
- Do not use the emergency switch to lower the temperature in your unit. If you're too warm, notify the office and we'll make the necessary adjustments.
- If you shut the furnace down accidentally, return the switch to the "ON" position right away; there is no danger in doing so.
If you call for service or information and get our voice-mail system, please:
- speak slowly and distinctly... calls from cell phones are often especially difficult to decipher, so try to err on the side of overdoing your message;
- if you'd like a response or acknowledgement that we have received your message, leave your phone number and repeat it twice.
When the office is closed, we typically monitor e-mail more closely than we check phone messages, so use e-mail when possible. Or call and use email we'd rather have the redundancy than miss your message. Our e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. When you use e-mail, be sure to write something relevant in the subject line of the message. Otherwise, there's more than a small chance your message will be discarded by our spam filter. Also, include your name, building, and phone number in the message. We can't always guess who you are from your e-mail address.
To the extent possible, call or e-mail early in the day. This applies when the office is open as well as when it's closed. The earlier we hear from you, the more likely we are to be able to give you same-day service. It should go without saying, but we'll mention it anyway, please don't wait until the end of the day particularly the end of the day on Friday to advise us of anything you could easily have reported earlier, when there was time to respond quickly.
Our goal is to provide our tenants with outstanding service. But we can't do it if you don't let us know your needs in an appropriate and timely manner.
Well, it's no bother because:
- We'd rather fix a leaky faucet or toilet than waste a valuable resource and, not unimportantly, can run up a bill a lot more than the repair cost.
- Small problems that are easily remedied are less of a bother than the big problems that arise because small problems are let go.
- If we didn't have maintenance to do, we couldn't justify having a work crew and you don't want to be responsible for unemployment, do you?
So, report needs for maintenance, even if you think a problem is minor and isn't bothering you.
Oh, yes, here's the trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, brave, clean, reverent crew dedicated to taking good care of you:
(l to r): Victor, Tim, Al, Vinicio
You can see an article about the encampment in the University City Review print edition, or click here for on-line version.
Here are some tips.
- Trash picking (aka dumpster diving)
- Don't be shy about trash picking. Everybody does it.
- Look around in the evening or early morning for the best selection.
- Plan ahead about transporting anything you find. If you don't take it when you spot it, it may be gone by the time you get back.
- Be considerate about not strewing trash around when you're doing your scavenging.
- Don't be shy about trash picking. Everybody does it.
- Porch and yard sales.
- Look for signs posted around the neighborhood for days and times.
- Mostly, these are held on Saturdays and Sundays.
- There's a trade-off between more items available early and an opportunity to bargain down the price of what's still available late.
- Look for signs posted around the neighborhood for days and times.
This is recycling in the highest sense. It's also a way to save money on all manner of housewares, furnishings, clothing, appliances, and the ever-popular whatnot everyone likes so much.
As a matter of policy, KRF has no objections if tenants wish to hold sales of this type themselves, on their porches or the sidewalks in front of their buildings. Anyone wishing to use their porch for this purpose should discuss it with the other tenants in the building to make sure that everybody is comfortable with the idea. Also, take precautions to ensure that the building is not left unlocked - just because you're standing there, it's possible that an ill-meaning person can take advantage of the crowd and chaos to sneak inside. In addition, be sure to keep people from trampling on the garden in front of the building, if there is one, and clean the area of trash when you pack up and go back inside to count all that moolah you've made.
One other thing. if you don't find what you need at the curb or in a porch/yard sale, try The Second Mile Center on 45th Street between Locust and Walnut (same block as the KRF world headquarters). This thrift store has four sites on the block:
- Furniture and large appliances
- Books, hardware, electronics
- Bric-a-brac, small appliances, lamps, pictures, jewelery
Prices are mostly reasonable. And they mark items down automatically after they've been on sale for specified lengths of time. In addition, they've been having a lot of sales at 25% or even 50% off. These are usually on Saturdays.
As for the caution, especially with items set out at the curb. Beware of roaches and even worse bedbugs. Roaches you probably know about. They've been bothersome in urban neighborhoods for years. But bedbugs, after being almost extinct in the United States, are staging a comeback. And, if you bring in a few, or even the right wrong female, the result will be hard to get rid of. So check upholstered items especially carefully, and look in crevices of other pieces as well, before you bring them inside.
Beware the Nigerian Landlord Scam
Perpetuating his country's unfortunate association with internet scams, a Nigerian man has turned to a new source for ill-gotten money: home renters.
No tall tales of fake Nigerian royalty or bogus inheritances this time; the latest scam simply solicits deposit and rent money from unsuspecting renters. The catch? The "landlord" doesn't own the home.
Memphis, Tenn., resident Howard French found that out that hard way when he wired $1,200 to a man in Nigeria who had advertised a house for rent on Craigslist. The "owner" claimed to be in Africa on humanitarian work, and an unsuspecting French took him at his word when the too-good-to-be-true rental deal came along.
It's not a one-man show, either. Several bogus ads have been spotted on Craigslist, where scammers repurpose legitimate ads with their own contact information. The scam is apparently gaining traction in the Mid-South, where the FBI is working to spread the word to help protect others from sharing in French's unfortunate lesson.
If you run across a similarly suspicious ad, report it to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.
- The University City Review (serving the neighborhoods of West Philadelphia from the Schuylkill to 52nd Street)
- The Weekly Press (serving Center City Philadelphia).
For information and/or help with your ad, stop by the new community office of these neighborhood papers on any Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday. It's at 218 S 45th Street.
Or, check either of the papers for details.
- Notwithstanding the ads you may see on TV, they don't work very well.
- The chemicals can be rough on the piping and ultimately cause serious damage.
- The materials are quite caustic; if we have to send somebody to work on the drains and residues of the chemicals are still in the pipes, our people can get hurt.
We provide this as a part of our regular service. Unless we find that something's been dropped down the drain or that someone has been disposing of products such as tampons down the toilet or food wastes down the sink. In such cases, there will be a change.
- The longer you wait, the more entrenched the little buggers become and the more difficult it is to get rid of them.
- Even under the best circumstances, extermination is not like a magic wand that is waved to make the problem disappear instantly.
Also, be aware of the importance of not leaving food or garbage out in the open. Even things like boxes or bags containing edibles can attract insects or mice if they are not sealed properly. A precaution such as enclosing such packages in plastic bags or in plastic storage containers with tight-fitting lids can be a big help.
The article below, from the Press of Atlantic City is about bedbugs; however, it illustrates how difficult it can be in general to get rid of these unwanted guests.
Bed bug eradication continues in Atlantic City public housing
By EMILY PREVITI, Press of Atlantic City, August 18, 2009
ATLANTIC CITY - A bed bug eradication program heralded by officials as proactive continued Tuesday at four city public housing properties, where residents complained the four-month lapse between detection and extermination was too long.
Extermination started in late July, according to Jelani Garrett, acting director of the Atlantic City Housing Authority.
During a sweep at the end of March, Action Pest Control detected bed bugs in about one-third of more than 800 units among Altman Terrace, Inlet Tower, Shore Park Hi-Rise and Charles P. Jeffries Tower, according to Michael Russell, vice president of marketing for Action.
The bed bug infestation levels were quite bad, and nobody wants to wait, but it takes a few days just to get a trained dog out to sniff for the bugs, let alone take care of pest control, Russell said.
"We were impressed by speed with which they moved. Amongst all other groups we've dealt with, (the authority) has been among the most pro-active," Russell said
Shore Park resident Conchetta Caputo, 49, said building managers should have told residents upon confirming the presence of the pests and that eradication should have happened faster. In the interim, she suffered constant biting from bed bugs that she initially thought were mosquitoes that sneaked in the window in her living room, which lacks air conditioning.
Garrett attributed the delay to soliciting quotes from companies after Action conducted its initial sweep in late March and then finding the money to pay for the work.
Despite the 50 to 75 percent discount Russell said Action gave the city to secure the contract, Garrett said the authority spent between $150 and $250 to treat each unit.
"Maybe the perception from residents is that we just sat here or dragged our feet, but that's not the case," he said. "This is the first time we've dealt with bed bugs on a a mass scale. ... Early in the year, there was a problem in the (Inlet) towers, so we decided to be proactive and go through all of the units in all of the buildings."
Garrett also admitted officials kept the information from residents to avoid sparking panic , but said the current round of extermination marks the beginning of regular checks and, if needed, treatments. The authority has not formally adopted a policy establishing that procedure, but doing so would be "a good idea," Garrett said.
The authority also has asked building managers to enforce its policy requiring incoming furniture to have a receipt that either proves it's new or has been treated, he said.
"If we do that, it should never get to the point (beyond) having one or two apartments, it should never get to point where we have a hundred or 200 apartments again," Garrett said.
Action exterminators already have finished treatments - which take between 90 minutes and two hours per unit - at Inlet and Jeffries towers. They expect to finish Altman and Shore Park by the end of the month. Workers will return 10 days after initial applications and treat units again if they detect bed bugs. The company guarantees exterminations will last for 90 days, meaning it will treat units again for free if the bugs are detected during that time, Russell said.
The authority will bring back Action to check for bed bugs again in March, Garrett said.
How it works Exterminators employ dogs that have undergone between 500 and 800 hours of training to sniff for bed bugs.
Before workers return to treat infested units, residents vacuum and collect clothes and other items, bag them with a flea collar and running them through a dryer to kill any bugs that might have attached.
Once the unit has been prepped and vacated, exterminators treat the area with steam 100 degrees or hotter and then apply chemicals to all cracks and crevices: moldings, furniture, walls, wall fixtures, the ceiling, carpets, closets and shelves. The process takes as long as two hours.
Workers return 10 days later to check for more bugs because false negatives occur in about two-thirds of checks. If they detect the pests, they apply another steam treatment .
Carbon dioxide attracts bed bugs, so if one resident brings them in and then leaves the apartment empty for a while, the bugs will detect higher levels of carbon dioxide via outlets or vents and spread into occupied apartments where tenants are exhaling the gas.
The bugs also scatter after sexual reproduction, which is so painful for female bugs that they flee after mating.
"It has nothing to do with filth," said Michael Russell of Action Pest Control.
What's nextOwners of multi-unit dwellings might soon face a tighter timeline for exterminating bed bugs. The state Assembly approved a bill in February that would require landlords to start the extermination process within 10 days of detection. Another bill would require annual inspections by the state Department of Community Affairs.
An ordinance has recently become effective in Philadelphia mandating the use of CO detectors at key locations in specified dwellings.
All KRF units have alarms sensitive to both smoke and CO, with installation meeting or exceeding the requirements of Philadelphia Code. In some instances, these replaced the smoke detectors already in use. In other cases, the combination smoke-CO detectors were placed in new locations consistent with the latest safety standards and codes, and the older smoke-only detectors were left as-is for added protection.
The devices selected by KRF are powered by the electrical supply lines and also have battery-backup. To alleviate problems sometimes encountered with nuisance alarms – such as those caused by cooking odors – all the new units have pushbuttons that will silence the alarm for a short period to give a known temporary condition a chance to clear.
Information about the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in KRF building is available on-line at:
For interested parties, the city's ordinance mandating use of these devices is also posted on the KRF website, at:
www.krf.icodat.com/CO detector ordinance.pdf.
Testing by KRF
Every unit will be tested on the second Tuesday of each month - at the same time we are in your apartment to do preventive extermination. In addition, we would encourage you to test these devices yourself occasionally. All you have to do is press the button on the unit and see whether it "beeps." If it does, everything is OK. If it doesn't there's a problem and you should call us immediately to check the unit, the wiring, the battery (if any) - remedy whatever is wrong.
Sources of fires
Some fires start in kitchens or are a result of faulty wiring (or foolish overloading of circuits, use of frayed extension cords, flammable items in contact with auxiliary heaters, etc). However, the greatest cause of fire fatalities in the home is smoking in bed or on a couch and falling asleep without fully extinguishing the cigarette, cigar, or pipe.
Carbon monoxide hazards typically result from "incomplete combustion" of fossil-fuels. Instead of the products of combustion being largely carbon dioxide, some carbon monoxide remains. This is what happens in an automobile because of inherent inefficiencies. It can also occur if a furnace or fuel fired space heater does not get enough oxygen or is defective in some other way. The furnaces in KRF buildings are checked annually so these are not likely to be sources of problems. You shouldn't be using portable space heaters but, if you are, be sure they're located away from walls or other obstructions that could block the flow of the air they need to operate efficiently.
Here's what is recyclable at the present time:
- metal: tin, aluminum, and steel cans
- glass: food & beverage jars & bottles
- mixed paper: newspaper, magazines, mail, phone books, food boxes, computer paper, and similar materials
- plastic: containers marked #1 or #2
- cardboard: empty and flattened
Here's what's not recyclable at the present time (and can foul up the system)
- metal: aluminum foil, pots & pans, paper clips
- glass: light bulbs, window & mirror glass, plate glass (e.g., tabletops)
- plastic: bags and containers other than #1 or #2
- other: polystyrene foam, chemicals, rubber, wood
More details are available on an information page at the KRF website: www.krf.icodat.com/krf recycling.htm.
Recycling bins are provided at all KRF buildings. If yours is missing, or isn't big enough for your needs, please call or e-mail the office and we will get more for you. We are using the blue bins provided by the city, along with the white 5-gallon plastic pails in which paint, plaster, and other construction materials are packaged.
Please use these for your recyclables and do not put nonrecyclable trash into them because this will contaminate the recoverable stream.
Note: Cardboard and otherwise acceptable food containers with plastic or foil liners, and those contaminated by food remnants or grease, cannot be run through the city's recycling system; the latter include but are not limited to pizza boxes and take-out cartons from fast-food outlets. Please any such items in with the nonrecyclable trash.
To facilitate recycling and also keep the alleys from getting too messy between collections, we have started bagging twice a week. Trash and recyclables will be moved to the rear of the alleyways on Friday afternoons, so containers will be empty over the weekend and will have enough capacity to handle last-minute disposal on Monday.
If you have trash or recyclables on Tuesday mornings, and the material at the curb has not yet been picked up by the Streets Dept, please bring your new waste to the curb rather than leaving it in the containers in the alleys where it will be around for an entire week.
While we're on the subject, if you're walking around the neighborhood, keep in mind the fact that some streets are inherently safer than others. When you have a choice, use those with more slower-moving traffic for instance, Spruce rather than Walnut or Chestnut; those with open commercial establishments, people coming and going, and a minimum of places where people can lurk unseen; and house fronts close to the sidewalk rather than set back. Many street corners also have Penn Police call boxes easily spotted because of blue lights above them; in your travels, it won't hurt to take note of where they are and plan your routes accordingly because they can be more effective than 911 calls on your cell phone.
Crime does not run rampant in University City. But there are, indeed, people who occasionally come around with evil on their minds and in their hearts. Miscreants like these generally don't have particular subjects in mind but seek targets of opportunity.
- to help you see where you're walking
- to illuminate alleyways as a means of discouraging well people who need to be discouraged.
If any of the lights on your building are not coming on, please let us know so we can remedy the situation.
Also, if the lights in your hallways are out or flickering on the way to lightbulb heaven (aka the landfill or recyclery), let us know about that too.
We have been testing these occasionally for your safety. However, after reading about a few disastrous fires around Philadelphia where the authorities found either no smoke detectors at all or no working smoke detectors, we have decided to increase the frequency of testing.
Every unit will be checked on the second Tuesday of each month - at the same time we are in your apartment to do preventive extermination.
In addition, we would encourage you to test these devices yourself occasionally. All you have to do is press the button on the unit and see whether it "beeps." If it does, everything is OK. If it doesn't there's a problem and you should call us immediately to check the unit, the wiring, the battery (if any) - remedy whatever is wrong.
You should also be aware that although some fires start in kitchens or are a result of faulty wiring (or foolish overloading of circuits, use of frayed extension cords, flammable items in contact with auxiliary heaters, etc), the greatest cause of fire fatalities in the home is smoking in bed or on a couch and falling asleep without fully extinguishing the cigarette, cigar, or pipe.
Trash is normally collected at the curb on Tuesday mornings, in the neighborhoods where KRF buildings are located. Our staff sets it out late on Monday afternoon, to ensure that it's ready if the Streets Dept comes by early in the morning. (Note: When Monday is a holiday, trash will be set out on Tuesday afternoon for pickup on Wednesday morning. This also holds for recycling, when it is scheduled that week).
The process will be most orderly and least messy if you make it a point to take all the trash out of your unit and place it in the areas designated for your building by mid-day on Monday. Second best is to carry it to the street on Tuesday morning and place it at the curb.
It makes no sense whatever to put trash in the alley or other storage area on Tuesday – either:
- when it can be set out at the curb because what's out there hasn't been picked up yet;
- when it will sit around for a whole week attracting scavengers.
Trash is an inherent problem in a high-density neighborhood, with no infrastructure for proper storage. Some attention to the times and places you set it out can avoid making the situation worse than it has to be.
The neighborhood has single-stream recycling every week, on the same day as regular trash collection. Single-stream means you can mix your recyclables in one container. You can do your part by separating items such as #1 and #2 plastic (generally beverage and detergent containers), newspaper, flattened cardboard cartons, and metal cans from the rest of the trash and place it in the recycling buckets in your alleyway. Also, please be careful not to throw regular trash into these buckets because it makes the items other people have separated un-recyclable.
KRF staff will continue to take trash from the alleys to the curb for collection. You may bring your recyclables out yourself the evening before or the morning of scheduled pickup. Or, you may place them in the alley during the week - but please keep them apart from the non-recyclable trash.
Click here for more details about recycling specific to KRF buildings:
For more information about the Philadelphia recycling program in general, call the Streets Department hotline at 215-685-7329 or visit the website at: