Bedbug panel: NYC should have bedbug czar

(AP) - A panel of experts studying New York City'sbedbug problem is recommending the city hire a bedbug czar andstart a bedbug academy to help combat the pests.

The bedbug advisory board gave its report to Mayor MichaelBloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn this spring.

Officials have studied it and plan today to discuss therecommendations and announce what steps they plan to take.

Bedbugs have spread quickly throughout New York City in recentyears. In fiscal year 2004, the city fielded 537 complaints aboutthe bloodsucking bugs. In fiscal 2009, there were nearly 11,000.

The panel says a czar would be the city's top entomologist andwould control all efforts to fight the bedbug spread. An academywould help educate building superintendents and property owners.

The report also recommends a heightened public awarenesscampaign.

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