By Adam Nichols
DNAinfo News Editor
Manhattan — A war has to be declared on bedbugs before their infestation of Manhattan becomes a full-blown invasion, the borough's president said.
"I'm calling a full-on war against bedbugs starting in the public school system," Scott Stringer told the Daily News.
"We should deal with bedbugs the way we deal with crime spikes, and we need to do it before it gets out of control."
His remarks follow a 21 percent leap in the number of bedbug complaints made to the city since 2004.
There have been 336 confirmed cases in city schools in the first two months of this academic year, compared to just 135 last year.
Bedbugs have also forced businesses to close, including Nike's flagship store in SoHo, branches of Abercrombie & Fitch and Victoria's Secret. The insects have been found at the Lincoln Center and the Empire State Building, and are at the center of lawsuits filed against the Waldorf-Astoria.
Stringer said the city needs to hire an army of inspectors and exterminators to search and destroy the invaders.
"We're forcing principals and teachers to act like CSI inspectors," he said.
"It's like fighting a building fire with a garden hose. You can't fight this epidemic with a paltry small army. We're in the middle of a bedbug war."