Thinking of picking up some furniture off the street in Allston? This map might convince you to think again.
On and around Sept. 1 each year, tens of thousands of college students descend on the city, while thousands of other residents move in and out of apartments.
That means loads of furniture and other household products will be left curbside. And opportunist neighbors will snatch some of those free items up to decorate their new digs.
But city officials oppose this ritual, which has gotten the moniker “Allston Christmas” in that student-and-young-adult-centric neighborhood.
The key reason for the city’s disapproval: bedbugs.
Officials say that sharing mattresses, futons, coffee tables, and other items in such a manner can cause the hitchhiking insects to spread.
If you’re itching to bring unwanted furniture in from off the street, think again, officials say, or you may soon find yourself with some tiny, unwanted roommates.
Around move-in week each year, city workers patrol city streets, slapping bright orange stickers on discarded items to warn residents that they may contain bedbugs. Flyers and other informational packets are also passed out to new residents, students, and students’ parents.
City officials in Boston typically field a few hundred complaints of bed bugs annually.
Last year, the city received 427 complaints, the highest such total since at least 2012, records show. There were 398 complaints made in 2014; 336 in 2013; and 412 in 2012, records show.
So far this year (through Sunday), 249 such pleas for help have been filed with the city.
The map below shows a dot for each complaint filed since the start of 2012. Apparently, bedbugs are not picky about which part of the city they live in.
Bed bugs have not been shown to spread disease, but their bites can cause allergic reactions and secondary skin infections. They can also take a toll on a person’s mental health, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency. People living in infested homes have reported anxiety, insomnia, and systemic reactions.
Matt Rocheleau can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @mrochele.