Over the weekend, we linked to the Gothamist story about the bed bug problem plaguing the Kings County D.A.’s office. The bed bug epidemic is sweeping New York. Yes, California, have your laughs. Just know that in New York we slough off bed begs; in California, the Earth itself will scratch you off into the ocean.

Still, your Manhattan-based Above the Law editorial team is well-protected from the brunt of this plague, as the New York Daily News reports:

Ten percent of respondents in Queens, Staten Island and Brooklyn reported bedbugs at work, as did 8% of Bronx residents, but just 3% of Manhattanites were afflicted.

And I bet those 3% of Manhattanites are the ones who fall for the occasional “come to my [party / wedding / wake] in Brooklyn, it’s not that far” email. Idiots. If God wanted us to cross rivers and risk the savages of the outer boroughs, he would have provided more helicopter pads.

Oh we kid, Kings County, ’cause living in Brooklyn is like living in Manhattan, only not nearly as cool. And because when the Kings County D.A.’s Office has a bed bug problem, they send out some hilarious emails.

And we’ve gotten our hands on those emails…

Sit back and enjoy the wonders of living and working in Brooklyn, as it plays out in the following emails. The first went out last Thursday:

From: [Bed Bug Busting DA]
Sent: Thursday, August 12, 2010 11:23 AM
To: # All Employees
Subject: Bed Bugs

Recently, there have been reports of the presence of bed bugs in this building. We brought in specially trained dogs to check a number of locations on the 16th and 17th floors. In addition, 1 office on the 12th floor was checked. The presence of bed bugs was detected in several offices on 17 and in the riding room on the 16th floor.

Starting tonight, there will be additional trained dogs checking every office on every floor for the presence of bed bugs and they will commence extermination. We will do our best to work at night to avoid any disruption of work and avoid contact with the dogs and or the extermination materials.

[Itchy & Scratchy] and/or I will keep you updated and provide informational websites.

Random zoological notes:

* A dog’s sense of smell is 100 million times more sensitive than a human’s. So they probably can smell a bed bug fart. Thanks for the info, National Geographic.

* Bed bugs can go for months without feeding, but are susceptible to high levels of carbon dioxide and extreme heat. So if you can’t afford to burn your mattress, consider doing some heavy breathing activity on your bed.

On to the next email, from Friday:

From: Bed Bug Busting DA
Sent: Friday, August 13, 2010 8:49 AM
To: # All Employees
Subject: Bed Bugs

The exterminator checked 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19 last night. Unfortunately, the dog located spots on 15, 16, 17 and 18 that tested positive for the presence of bed bugs. [Bug Bugger] and I are in the process of posting notes on every work station and/or office where bed bugs were detected, instructing the occupant not to enter. The balance of the floors and the extermination will begin tonight. If you must enter an office that is posted, please do not sit on anything. If you must remove items that are in the room, please search it very carefully before moving it.

Thank you for your attention. I will continue to keep you posted.

God, just reading these emails is making me itch. Isn’t it possible that you would see the note or read the email only after you sat down at your work station? If so, does Brooklyn have to compensate you for the clothes you immediately stripped off and burned?

In any event, this seems like a good time to bring up why the DA’s office might be infested with these little creatures. All joking about Brooklyn aside, here’s one tipster’s supposition:

[H]onestly, with all kinds of people coming in all the time, and a major hotel next door, something like this is probably foreseeable. It does make me wonder if they came over from the hotel or not.

It makes me wonder who the hell goes to work when their building is infested with bed bugs — which leads us to the next email.

From: Itchy & Scratchy
Sent: Friday, August 13, 2010 11:58 AM
To: # All Employees
Subject: Note to Employees Re Bed Bugs

During this period of bed bug exposure, we want you to know that our goal — first and foremost — is to protect our KCDA employees.

If you believe you have been bitten, we encourage you to stay at home and seek the advice of your health care professional.

If you have little or no sick time accrued, we will be flexible during this period.

If you have not been bitten, but are uneasy being at the 350 Jay Street building site, speak with your immediate supervisor(s).

With the permission of your supervisor, legal staff and non legal staff may use annual leave should they choose to leave the office today.

I provided below an information sheet from the NYC Department of Health.

We will do whatever we can to get you answers to your questions so let me know what else we can address on your behalf.

http://home2.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/vector/vector-faq1.pdf

Check the timestamp. It took the people at the Brooklyn DA’s office three hours to figure out that maybe people wouldn’t want to come into a pest-infested workplace? I know it’s a recession and people are desperate for work, but this isn’t 1930.

And who is the supervisor who would have a problem with his or her direct reports fleeing the building? I could see a Biglaw partner telling a junior associate to stop bitching and get back to his scratchy desk. Hell, I could imagine a Biglaw partner planting bedbugs in shared offices, just to see how long it would take for the officemates to turn on each other.

But we’re talking about government work here. These people are economically downtrodden enough; they’re not about to sit on the depressing L train (or the Theta train or whatever they take out there), scratching themselves like homeless people, just because the boss wanted people to put in a full day’s work.

Bedbugs Besiege Brooklyn D.A.’s Office [Gothamist]
Bedbug City: 1 in 10 New Yorkers has grappled with bedbugs in their home [NY Daily News]


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