Bugs at UN Headquarters

Renovation work at UN headquarters in Geneva over the past few years has turned up a considerable amount of bugs. Now there is another bug problem at UN headquarters in New York.

Whereas the Geneva bugs were of the eavesdropping kind (biologists might call them Cimex auditorius) the bugs in New York were of an entirely different kind, namely Cimex lectularius. These bugs, commonly called bedbugs, are, according to Wikipedia, “small parasitic insects […] that prefer to feed on human blood […] The name ‘bedbug’ is derived from the insect’s preferred habitat of houses and especially beds or other areas where people sleep. Bedbugs, though not strictly nocturnal, are mainly active at night and are capable of feeding unnoticed on their hosts.”

I always thought that New York is a city that never sleeps. Never mind. But the bugging of UN headquarters is surely a wonderful natural experiment. Insect specialists of the world, unite! And help political scientists find out which parts of the UN administration and which UN conferences are the most bug infested ones. Controlling for other factors this will allow us to determine where in the UN the real action is – there is, supposedly, an negative correlation with bug infestation rates.


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