Loveland (Denver) Public Library Closes Floor Due To Bedbugs

LOVELAND, Colo. (CBS4 DENVER) February 28, 2020 – Administrators of the Loveland Public Library have shut down the second floor of the building due to the discovery of bedbugs. The bugs were found in the computer lab by staff on Thursday morning.

Loveland Public Library

A cleanup of the area got started Friday morning and no one has reported having any ill-effects since the bugs were found. It will take two to three days for the cleanup process to be completed by exterminators. The director of the library told CBS4 on Friday after that dogs will be brought in to make sure the area is clear of the bugs.

“We’ve got beagles that will be coming out in a couple weeks to do a nose test to see if we have any live bugs left in the area,” said Diane Lapierre, the library’s director. “We’re all about public information and want to make sure people know what’s going on here and have the facts related to it and make a decision as to how they want to use the space or not.”

Lapierre believes the bugs did not make their way into their non-computer materials.

Bed bugs are nocturnal and are like mosquitoes — they feed on human blood leave itchy areas on skin they’ve bitten. Heat and chemicals are typically used to kill bedbugs. A trap, which uses other chemicals to attract the bugs, helps to count how many are in a room.

Loveland Library@LovelandLibrary

Unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances, the 2nd floor of the Library is closed until further notice. This includes the iCreate Makerspace, the iExplore Computer Lab, and the iLearn Classroom. Please check our website for reopening time and more information.

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Bed bugs, sex, and drugs: Records detail problems at Toledo adult care homes

 The Blade logo

A Blade review of hundreds of pages of public records found that 35 individuals suffering from mental health and addiction disorders were removed from six adult care homes in Toledo as a result of concerns about poor living conditions and possible criminal behavior.

The documents, obtained by The Blade through Ohio’s public records law, provide insight into how unscheduled inspections of the homes in Toledo in December and January raised questions about residents’ access to basic care and fundamental necessities. State and local social service officials performed the unannounced inspections after they received complaints about violence, unsanitary living conditions, and even individuals in one home being sex trafficked.

State reports show inspectors found some residents weren’t being fed three meals a day. Others claimed they were assaulted by group home employees. Bed bugs infested every bedroom of one home; while in a second location investigators found broken glass, a chicken carcass uncovered on a plate in the refrigerator, a room that smelled like urine, and a mattress flanked by used condoms in the backyard.

Now authorities are trying to determine next steps, while operators of the homes in question are pushing back against what they say are unfair accusations about conditions and safety, and the improper decision to displace residents from homes where, in some cases, they had lived for more than a decade.

 Reverend Otis Gordon looks at the agenda during planning and oversight committee meeting held by the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Lucas County in Toledo on Tuesday February 11, 2020.

Lucas County Mental Health Board takes next steps in group home relocations

State Department of Health officials have largely declined to discuss the case, while the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Lucas County has defended the removals, arguing conditions found in the homes were dangerous.

Some elected leaders and mental health service advocates and experts, meanwhile, are calling for better oversight of adult care homes, which total 112 in Lucas County.

Terry Russell is director of Ohio Adult Care Facilities Association, a Columbus-based nonprofit that works with group home operators to improve care and services for residents. He believes that operators have for years been left alone to fend off the many problems that can arise when caring for mentally ill individuals. State officials must do more to ensure such homes are clean and safe, and operators are supported, he said.

“Sometimes we treat the mentally ill like commodities,” Mr. Russell said in response to the allegations surfacing in Toledo. “The mental health system has just ignored them.”

‘Imminent danger’

The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services oversees the state’s adult care home program. The program aims to provide community-based housing opportunities to adults who suffer from mental and developmental disabilities, addiction, and other issues.

The homes, usually found among common neighborhoods, are operated by private citizens or enterprises, working under state licenses. Operators must renew their license every two years, according to state law. Home inspections are done annually, each time a licensee seeks renewal, and whenever a complaint, whether anonymous or by caseworkers and guardians, is filed with the state.

The home at 68 San Rafael in Toledo on Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020. The mental health services department has relocated 35 people from six homes adult group homes in Lucas County due to poor living conditions.

35 Toledo group home residents relocated due to poor living conditions

Operators must adhere to several regulations, including providing three meals a day, thoroughly and routinely cleaning homes, and ensuring adequate staffing.

It was complaints about such requirements that led county officials along with the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, beginning in December, to conduct unannounced visits to eight homes in Lucas County. Eventually residents from six of those homes, all in Toledo, were removed.

Scott Sylak, the director of the Lucas County mental health board, said Ohio Revised Code gives his department authority to take action when residents are in “imminent danger.”

“I’m concerned for the health and safety of our clients which fall under our governing,” he said. “But, I’m also concerned about the providers and the operators and helping them. … We need them. We need to do a better job of supporting them and they need to do a better job of following through on the licensing requirements and addressing the issues that they know they need to address.”

Lori Criss, director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, declined to discuss specifics of the individual cases.

“In general, we view residential care facilities as an important part of the continuum of people staying in the community,” she said. “It’s a service we value. We’re working with stakeholders right now on how we can improve residential care facilities.”

San Rafael Avenue

The state conducted an unannounced  visit on Jan. 17 to a group home located at 68 San Rafael Ave. in South Toledo after receiving a complaint that two women living in the four-person home were being sex trafficked. State and local mental health officials inspected the home alongside Toledo police and Lucas County sheriff’s deputies.

Inspectors on site talked to residents — unnamed in inspection reports — who said two female residents would often have “strange men” in the home and would often use drugs. Those same residents  reported their concerns to owner Clara Brank, who operates Clara Mae’s Adult Family Home, LLC.

“One resident reported that she is afraid due to the strange men in the home and one of the other residents threatened her for telling the owner what was happening,” according to a state investigation summary. “The facility owner reported that she was aware that two of the residents were having men come into the group home and she contacted case managers and gave the residents [30-day vacate notices], but did not increase supervision in the homes to ensure the safety and well-being of all…”

Sgt. Paul Davis, a spokesman for the police department, said a detective at the scene determined no one at the home was being sex trafficked, however, at least one woman was “having sex in exchange for drugs and money.”

Officials found and documented other concerns during their visit, too.

Records from the inspection accuse Ms. Brank of not providing three meals a day to residents as required by the state. Inspectors found a chicken carcass uncovered on a plate in the refrigerator, and a room in the house smelled like urine. Broken glass was observed in some areas of the house and a mattress flanked by used condoms was observed in the backyard. Residents also reported Ms. Brank only came by twice a day to bring food and pass out medications, according to state documents.

Following the inspection at 68 San Rafael, Mr. Sylak and state officials decided as a precaution to relocate residents from there, and from Ms. Brank’s other group home, located at 72 San Rafael Ave.

Ms. Brank, when reached by The Blade last week, said she “has enough supervision” at the home on 68 San Rafael Ave., but declined further comment.

“I’d rather not say anything right now,” she said.

Previously, Ms. Brank told The Blade the problems at the home started after she agreed to house an individual who was released from jail on the basis that state and local officials would help her monitor the resident. After breaking house rules, the resident received a 30-day vacate notice and was supposed to be gone by Feb. 2, Ms. Brank said, but then on Jan. 17, authorities relocated residents from the two San Rafael properties.

“I’ve been sick. I’m depressed,” she said on Jan. 30. “I didn’t do anything wrong. Why am I being closed?”

Mr. Sylak said he doesn’t have the authority to “close down” the homes and added that the state will go through a process to determine the status of affected operators’ licenses.

Douglas and Clover 

Several reported issues led officials to Delores Place III, a group home at 3521 Douglas Rd.

A resident there accused a staff member of assault after a dinnertime argument. According to state documents, the resident left the dining room area after the argument and was followed by the employee, who barged through a door and tackled the resident onto a bed. The resident cut his head on a nearby window, an injury that required staples, according to the report.

The report says the staff member did not offer assistance to the resident and a family member then came to the group home to take the resident to the hospital. The report also accuses facility owner Tracy Price of asking the resident not to file a police report “due to not having another staff member available to work.” The employee and the resident subsequently filed police reports against each other.

Attempts to reach Ms. Price were not successful.

During an unannounced complaint-based visit on Dec. 20, 2019, inspectors found live bed bugs in every bedroom, facility operators only providing one meal to residents each day, and expired food made available to residents. The facility’s license had expired 10 months earlier on Feb 2, 2019, and the state never received a renewal application, records show.

Ms. Price also owns homes at 5565 and 5238 Clover Lane. Residents from those houses were relocated because of concerns about supervision. Live bed bugs and “bed bug excrement,” were also found on mattresses inside the homes, according to reports.

Tom Johnson, who lives next door to the home at 5238 Clover, told The Blade he and other neighbors have had to call the city about trash in the backyard, which caused rats to appear.

Mr. Johnson said he worries residents are often without food and he will offer them vegetables from his garden.

“Those people don’t deserve to be treated like that,” he said.

Hadley Homes

At 2262 Collingwood Blvd., complaint-based visits were conducted on Jan. 3 and Jan. 7 after a resident alleged the operator’s son “beat him” and told him he would be thrown out of the facility.

Durell McGhee runs the 14-person adult care home under his Hadley Homes LLC. He said he didn’t learn about that complaint until he received a letter from the state on Feb. 10. He told The Blade he immediately fired his son once he got the letter — but that was 33 days after the incident. Mr. McGhee said he was in the dark during that time, wondering why residents were removed from the home.

“When I found out what the problem was I fired him immediately,” Mr. McGhee said. “They never told us a reason. If I would have known, I would have fired him right then.”

Mr. McGhee said he’s now working to better train new employees and taking other preventative steps so future problems don’t occur. But Mr. McGhee also believes county officials are “overstepping” by removing residents from the homes.

“What they’re doing is wrong,” Mr. McGhee said. “The county is totally out of order. There were people there 15 years, crying, asking them not to take them.”

Mr. Sylak defended the decision to remove residents in order to keep them safe. He also said the residents all moved willingly and voluntarily.

“We’re always going to protect people when we believe their health or safety is in imminent danger,” he said.

Attempts by The Blade to contact adult care home residents were unsuccessful.

As of Monday, no criminal charges had been filed in relation to the adult care home complaints and inspections.

Since the removals, the operators of the affected homes have been given until Thursday to provide the state a written plan that identifies how owners “will correct, or have corrected each finding,” records show.

Eric Wandersleben, a spokesman for the Ohio mental health department, said the state will then check compliance with the corrective plans through follow-up site visits.

“If the providers are still out of compliance, the department has the authority to take further action,” he said.

Mr. Russell  feels more resources need to be provided to support operators who provide adequate living conditions for residents.

Toledo city councilmen Larry Sykes and Yvonne Harper put the blame more pointedly at the state level. Both said state officials need to be doing more to regulate such homes, and ensure those who live in them receive quality care.

“The state needs to be held accountable,” Mr. Sykes said. “They need to reassess their policies. There’s a lot of questions that need to be asked.”

The Lucas County mental health board will hold a regularly scheduled monthly meeting Tuesday at 4 p.m. at 701 Adams St.

Midtown home infested with bed bugs; renter calls on state to fix clean-up mistake

State warns property manager over pesticide after bedbugs found in home

 

02132020MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) – A bed bug infestation soon turned into a much bigger health concern for the woman renting a midtown home. State inspectors say her property manager improperly sprayed pesticide hoping to get rid of the problem.

Eva Woywod moved into her midtown home a couple of days before Christmas in 2018.

“The history. I’m drawn to historic places. It’s a beautiful home,” said Woywod.

She moved to Memphis from Wisconsin to be closer to her son but she was unknowingly moving closer to some unwanted guests.

“The next morning my son woke up covered in bites, just bites all over his body,” said Woywod.

Bed bugs were found all over her son’s bedroom wall.

“They attack at night. They literally attack. It’s like an army of bugs coming at you at night,” said Woywod.

Woywod spent months asking her property manager Bernard Evans to hire an exterminator. Bed bugs are incredibly difficult to get rid of. According to the Centers for Disease Control, bed bugs are tiny and excellent at hiding. They can go months without feeding and only come out when an appropriate host is available.

Waywod says she spent more than nine months in her home before her property manager offered to come fix the problem, but instead of hiring a professional he decided to do it himself.

“He left puddles down the hallway. He saturated our furniture with it. My furniture got ruined,” said Woywod.

As Woywod suspected, her property manager shouldn’t have been spraying her home in the first place.

“Pesticides are regulated by state law. It by nature is named a pesticide. It means it’s designed to kill something and if used improperly it can cause a lot of damage,” said Jerry Seabolt with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture Pesticide Department.

Seabolt says state law only allows certified, licensed professionals to use those types of chemicals.

“The appropriate way to take care of a bedbug issue is to call a professional,” said Seabolt.

Bernard Evans of First Choice Properties was issued a warning last November for violation of the Pesticides Act of 1978. If he does it again, he could face criminal charges.

Pesticide use is taken seriously because Seabolt says improper use of pesticides can cause skin burns and if ingested can damage the kidney, liver and lungs.

“Well yeah, that kind of kicked him in the butt. He got a real exterminator,” said Woywod.

Woywod says her home is now bed bug-free but hopes other renters learn from what she calls a nightmare. She says it’s also important to know who actually owns your rental, not just the property manager.

“It is extremely important because like in this situation the middle man wasn’t communicating and doing his job,” said Woywod.

Tuesday afternoon we went by the property manager’s home. He did not want to be on camera but said he is no longer managing that property.

It’s unclear at this time if he manages any other properties in the city.

The State Department of Agriculture tells WMC Action News 5 that they will follow-up with Evans within the next six months.

 

Gross! What you need to know and do if your hotel room has bedbugs

USA TODAY | David Oliver | October 30, 2019

One of the last things anyone wants to see after entering a hotel room is a creepy, crawly bedbug — or to wake up with bedbug bites.

Bedbugs are tiny insects approximately the size of an apple seed. Adult bedbugs are oval, reddish-brown and flat. Younger ones can be difficult to see because they’re so small.

And there’s a reason they’re called bedbugs: They like to lurk during the daytime where people sleep and feed on them at night (bed bugs feed on both human and animal blood). The insects can be found in a host of places from mattresses to bedding to cracks in furniture to under carpeting and more.

Bedbugs can be found worldwide, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and are not a reflection on the cleanliness of any accommodation (so, yes, even a five-star hotel can have bedbugs). They don’t spread disease nor are they seen as dangerous, but allergic reactions to bites could require a doctor visit.

The bites look like mosquito or flea bites, with a swollen, red spot that could itch or hurt. They could present randomly as well as in a straight line. Some people might not have any adverse reaction to the bites, but others could see swelling.

AP-Bedbug-Insecticide-Risk

One of the last things anyone wants to see after entering a hotel room is a creepy, crawly bedbug — or to wake up with bedbug bites. (Photo: Carolyn Kaster, AP)

One of the last things anyone wants to see after entering a hotel room is a creepy, crawly bedbug — or to wake up with bedbug bites.
How do I look for bedbugs in my hotel room?
Make this a priority.

The University of Minnesota recommends looking at the edging and seams of mattresses and box springs, as well as a bed’s headboard. You should also check out the furniture near the bed, cracks in night stands as well as behind picture frames, where bedbugs can hide.

“If you think your hotel bed has bedbugs, you can either check your bed yourself, looking for small blood spots or small blood smears on the sheets and strip the bed and check under the mattress seams or ask the manager to organize for the housekeeper to do it for you,” Maureen Spencer, travel blogger, told USA TODAY. “Take photos of any evidence you find and ask for a room change.”

There’s no federal bedbug law, but 21 states do have bedbug-related legislation, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, like ensuring hotels are maintaining cleanliness and that hotels must exterminate bedbugs before housing different guests.

What should I do if I find bedbugs in my hotel room?
Step one: Panic! (Just kidding.)

“The very first thing that you should do if you encounter bedbugs in your hotel room, or even if you have a suspicion that there might be bedbugs in your room, is to pack up your stuff and place it as far away from the bedbug-infested places as possible,” Kristiana Kripena, digital and content marketing director for InsectCop tells USA TODAY. You want to avoid the bugs coming with you to your own house, she says.

You should also obviously notify hotel staff, but do your best to stay calm.

“Remember – this is never going to be something that hotel staff wants to hear,” Becca Siegel of travel blog and Instagram @halfhalftravel tells USA TODAY. “Actually, it’s the last thing they want to hear because it’s going to affect everyone staying in the hotel, their staff, their efforts in eradicating bedbugs and also their ratings online. Try to remain calm and empathetic.”

Also remember that what you think is a bedbug might not be one at all.

“I can’t tell you the number of times that a guest just sees a bug near a bed or on a bed and makes an assumption,” Victoria Agredo, a hospitality industry veteran, tells USA TODAY. “An untrained eye checking a room for themselves really isn’t that helpful. They may find something or they may create a panic over nothing.”

If they are indeed bedbugs, make sure you ask to be moved to a different room (and not one next to the one where you stayed).

Jordan Bishop, founder of consumer watchdog and travel website Yore Oyster, recommends sealing your clothes and other belongings in plastic bags and running them through a hot laundry cycle ASAP.

You can also use a garbage bag, and place that in a freezer overnight to get rid of bedbugs. For non-washable items, enlist a pest-management professional.

 

Union demands action as bedbug problem spreads to new federal building

These are not isolated cases,’ says PSAC after bugs found at Tunney’s Pasture

Jeanne

As a Tunney’s Pasture tower becomes the latest government building in the National Capital Region flagged for bedbugs, Canada’s largest federal workers’ union is demanding a more proactive strategy to deal with the pests.

The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) says bedbugs have now been identified in buildings in Ottawa, Gatineau, Montreal, Hamilton, Toronto, Winnipeg, and Milton, Ont.

  • Signs of bed bugs spotted at 2 more federal buildings

CBC has learned that one office tower at Tunney’s Pasture — the Jeanne Mance Building, whose primary tenant is Health Canada — is the latest to be monitored.

“I would like to inform you of the activities that are taking place in the building in order to respond to an incident where one bedbug was found on the 12th floor,” wrote Stefania Trombetti of the Responsible Building Authority Thursday, in an email to workers obtained by CBC.

“We are making arrangements for high-heat steaming of the immediate area where the bedbug was found and we are considering additional measures.”

The insect was “eliminated,” Trombetti added.

This email sent by Stefania Trombetti on Oct. 24 outlines the steps being taken to stave off a potential bedbug problem at the Jeanne Mance Building. (Supplied)

Growing problem

It’s been a bad month for bedbugs in federal buildings.

Trombetti’s note came the same week Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC), which manages government properties, told some Employment and Social Development Canada employees to work from home Friday.

That request was made so that a pest control company could deal with a bedbug problem at 22 Eddy St. in Gatineau.

PSPC also revealed bedbugs had been spotted on the 16th floor of the Jean Edmonds Tower at 300 Slater St. in Ottawa.

Hundreds of federal public servants also had to work from home earlier this month to allow for bedbug treatments at 70 Crémazie Street in Gatineau — an infestation that had gone on for more than a year.

Magali Picard, national executive vice-president of PSAC, wants the federal government to proactively fight bedbugs in their buildings by, among other things, letting sniffer dogs track them down. (CBC)

‘Not isolated cases’

“These are not isolated cases,” said Magali Picard, PSAC’s national executive vice-president.

  • Bed bugs found inside immigration offices at Guy-Favreau
  • Gatineau office building treated for bedbugs

“Employees have a right to feel safe at work, and they’re rightfully worried about bringing bedbugs home with them and affecting their families, which is having an impact on their mental health,” said Picard in a statement to CBC.

The union would like the federal government to start proactively inspecting its buildings with sniffer dogs, while also creating a registry of buildings contaminated by pests.

They’re also asking them to:

  • Cover fumigation expenses for workers in infested buildings who bring bugs home.
  • Give them the technological ability to work from home if pests become a problem at their buildings.
  • Allow workers stay home after fumigation until a follow-up inspection has been made.
  • Teach them how to identify and report a bedbug problem.

Finally, PSAC said it wants to see the government stop attacking the problem one floor at a time, and fumigate entire buildings when problems persist.

‘It’s worrying’

Some employees who read the note told CBC their biggest fear is bringing bedbugs home.

“It’s worrying,” said one woman as she left the building Friday.

“It’s hard to know if you’ve got some on you or [if] you’re bringing them home. I have small children — I don’t want my kids to be subject to bedbugs in my own home.”

Trombetti wrote in her email that the building’s property management team and the workplace health and safety committees were both “taking this issue seriously.”

“As a precaution, we have installed pheromone glue traps on the floor to monitor the situation,” she wrote.

Health department investigates bed bug complaints at several Louisville hotels

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — by Valerie Chinn | October 14, 2019 |

Creepy, crawly bed bugs can be found everywhere: in schools, movie theaters, homes and hotels.

The small insects bite, and while they aren’t known to carry disease, Connie Mendel, deputy director of the Louisville Metro Department for Public Health and Wellness, said they can cause itching and create red bumps and welts.

“We’ll strip the beds. We’ll look at linens,” Mendel said. “We’ll look at mattress covers, seams, furniture, bed frames, anything around, and we’ll look for signs of bed bugs.”

Hotels are not required to self-report. Complaints often come from guests.

“If we do find signs of bed bugs, the facility is not allowed to use that room, and we’ll also look at adjacent rooms,” Mendel said.

The health department said its most recent complaints were at the HomeTowne Studios on Taylorsville Road, the Louisville Marriott Downtown and the Budgetel Inn on Bardstown Road last month.

“In our quest to be the cleanest, friendliest and most well maintained choice for our guest, we take every claim very serious,” a spokeswoman with the Marriott said in a statement Monday night. “We isolated each room, call in a third party expert to determine if there is activity and remediate if necessary. No room is turned back into use without being cleared by our certified vendor. “

All have since been resolved. The list for 2019 include hotels all over Louisville.

A Lexington woman sent WDRB News a video showing a cup with a bed bug inside. She said she found it in her room at the Galt House Hotel while she was visiting for the Bourbon & Beyond Festival.

The health department wasn’t called in her case. After she posted about it and it was shared several times with pictures, the Galt House posted about a full refund and apologies and said no bed bugs were found.

Patrick Gregory, the general manager of the Galt House, issued this statement.

The safety and comfort of our guests is always our first priority. Immediately upon receiving our guests’ complaint, they were moved to a new room, and a third party pest control service was called, as is standard operating procedure. No bed bug activity was found. During the second night of their stay, our guest again reported bed bug activity. This room was also inspected, and no evidence of bed bug activity was found. Out of an abundance of caution, both rooms were treated proactively. Our guests were provided additional food and beverage vouchers, and were offered a reimbursement for their stay.”

“The Galt House Hotel has been in touch with the guests over the weekend and the situation has been resolved to their satisfaction,” a Galt House spokeswoman said. “The Facebook post in question has been removed.”

Mendel said you can put your luggage in the bathroom while you check for bed bugs in the sheets and mattresses, even head boards. If you do find them, ask to be moved to another room farther away.

“Unfortunately bed bugs can be found anywhere. It’s not a sign of cleanliness. They are great hitch hikers,” she said. “You may find rust colored spots. That’s the droppings. You may find casings where they are multed, or you may find one where they’ve crushed them in their sleep, and it’s a blood spot.”

See below for the complaints across Louisville in 2019:

 

Maine school district warns parents about bed bugs

by WGME | October 9, 2019

95e2071c-0169-4596-8910-3a66540e6714-large16x9_bedbugMSAD 11, which serves Gardiner, West Gardiner, Pittston, and Randolph, is warning parents and guardians about bed bugs after a student contracted them.

Superintendent Patricia Hopkins said a student with bed bugs was riding bus 643 and was at Gardiner Regional Middle School Tuesday morning.

Bed bugs are a nuisance and can cause considerable discomfort. They are usually active at night and feed on human blood. The bite does not hurt at first, but it may become swollen and itch, like a mosquito bite.

Hopkins said if parents have medical concerns, please contact your doctor.

Hopkins said even though it is unlikely for bed bugs to infest a school, Gardiner Regional Middle School and bus 643 are being thoroughly inspected and, if needed, they will implement their integrated pest management plan.

If you have questions regarding bed bugs in MSAD 11, contact Director of Operations Gabe Dostie at 582-6663 or gdostie@msad11.org.

Bed Bugs Notification by WGME on Scribd

 

NC – Recent bed bug infestation marks growing trend in Asheville’s housing developments

Asheville Citizen Times | by Brian Gordon and Joel Burgess | Aug. 29, 2019

An apartment complex for the city’s low-income and disabled seniors is struggling with a bedbug infestation.

About 50 of the 248 units at the Asheville Terrace public housing development have been infested with bedbugs in recent weeks, according to the Asheville Housing Authority. This infestation represents a growing prevalence of bedbugs infestations across public housing in Asheville.

“Bedbugs have become something we deal with on a regular basis, all around our properties,” said David Nash, executive director at the Asheville Housing Authority. “It’s a trend.”

Asheville Terrace, off Tunnel Road, is designed specifically for tenants age 55 and older. Pest control costs at Asheville Terrace, which includes bedbug exterminations, have risen from nearly $14,000 in 2016 to over $30,000 last year. So far in 2019, the housing authority has dedicated $27,815 to pest control at the development.

“We have a full-time staff member dedicated to it,” Nash said. The housing authority contracts with Orkin Pest and Termite Control to handle bedbug situations.

While bedbugs are gently inserted into night-time nursery rhymes, infestations are serious matters.

The tiny, round insects sustain themselves on the blood of humans and animals. They seek out crevices that provide easy access to their food source, and their bites leave red marks on exposed skin. According to WebMD, female bedbugs can lay hundreds of eggs over a lifespan.

Nash said bedbugs are often carried into units on used furniture. Tenants with impacted apartments must exit the room as spray is applied. Infested clothes must be washed, and any furniture exposed to bedbugs must be thrown away. Tenants are not financially compensated for any furniture lost to bedbugs, including any chairs or beds with special features for disabled tenants.

The housing authority provides tenants tips on how to avoid bringing bedbugs into apartments after each infestation, but not before.

Several tenants at Asheville Terrace expressed concern about voicing their complaints over bedbugs or other facility issues, saying they feared eviction. Asheville Terrace is categorized as a project-based property, meaning the public voucher that subsidizes rent stays with the apartment if a tenant were to leave. To relocate to another public housing development, tenants would have to reapply and be put on a waiting list. The main waiting list for the housing authority has 1,518 applicants.

Nash said tenants are not evicted for voicing concerns. “Speaking with the press is not a lease violation,” Nash stated in an email. “They just need to be sure they pay their rent and comply with the other terms of their lease.”

Baltimore Number One City in Country for Bed Bug Infestation

Breit by Michael Patrick Lahey | July 29, 2019

Orkin declared Baltimore the number one bed bug infested city in the country in January.

It was the second year in a row that Baltimore topped the list of the Top 50 “Bed Bug Cities” in the United States.

Balt

Flickr/AFPMB

“The number of bed bug infestations in the United States is still rising. They continue to invade our homes and businesses on a regular basis because they are not seasonal pests, and only need blood to survive,” Dr. Tim Husen, an entomologist who works for Orkin, one of the nation’s leading pest control companies, said in a statement released by the company that accompanied the announcement that Baltimore was once again the bed bug capital of the United States.

“The list is based on treatment data from the metro areas where Orkin performed the most bed bug treatments from December 1, 2016 – November 30, 2017,” the Orkin statement said.

The Top Ten cities for bed bug infestation for this one year period were:

  1. Baltimore
  2. Washington, D.C.
  3. Chicago
  4. Los Angeles
  5. Columbus, Ohio
  6. Cincinnati
  7. Detroit
  8. New York City
  9. San Francisco-San Jose-Oakland
  10. Dallas-Fort Worth

Baltimore was also in Orkin’s list of Top Ten “Rattiest Cities” announced in 2018, along with Washington, D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles, Detroit, and New York City.

All six of these pest “double-threat” Top Ten cities are currently run by Democrats, as Breitbart News reported earlier.

Two cities on Orkin’s Top Ten list of “Bed Bug Cities” ranked just below the Top Ten “Rattiest Cities.”

Columbus, Ohio, fifth on the “Bed Bug Cities” list, was the 25th “Rattiest City.”

Cincinnati, sixth on the “Bed Bug Cities” list, was the 20th “Rattiest City.”

One metropolitan area–Dallas-Fort Worth–was ranked tenth on the “Bed Bug Cities” list and 12th on the “Rattiest Cities” list.

The San Francisco-San Jose-Oakland metropolitan area was ninth on the “Bed Bug Cities” list, while the city of San Francisco, part of that metropolitan area, was the 5th “Rattiest City.”

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“Bed bugs cannot be completely prevented so early detection is critical,” Orkin advised in its statement.

Bed bugs are always in motion. They travel from place to place with ease, including luggage, clothing and other belongings. In addition to single family homes, bed bugs can be found in apartments, hotels, hospitals and public places like daycare centers, public transit, schools and offices.

According to a 2015 “Bugs without Borders Survey” by the National Pest Management Association, the top three places where pest professionals report finding bed bugs are apartments/condominiums (95 percent), single-family homes (93 percent) and hotels/motels (75 percent).

Orkin noted that “Bed bugs are capable of rapid population growth with an adult female laying two to five eggs per day (up to 500 in her lifetime), often making treatment challenging.”

Bees are dying. Would a consumer ban on a pesticide help?

Bees pollinate almost three-quarters of the 100 crop species that provide 90 percent of the world’s food supply, say advocates working on a campaign to protect bees from insecticides.

Last week, the grassroots group Environment North Carolina delivered a petition with 13,452 signatures to Gov. Roy Cooper’s office, calling for a consumer ban on the sale and use of neonicotinoids (neonics) pesticides. Advocates gathered in downtown Raleigh, not far from regional headquarters for Syngenta and other businesses like Bayer and Dow Chemical that manufacture neonics and say their products are safe when applied according to label directions.

Every winter for the past 12 years, about 30 percent of commercial honeybee hives in the United States have collapsed because of diseases, parasites, poor nutrition, pesticides and other issues, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Services has said.

While pesticides aren’t the only cause, they contribute to the problem, according to the department, which recommends gardeners use pesticides sparingly or not at all.

Drew Ball, state director of Environment North Carolina, believes banning sales to consumers in the state would be a step in the right direction toward bigger bans.

Maryland and Connecticut have banned the sale of neonics to consumers, said state Rep. Pricey Harrison. The European Union has banned neonics and Canada is phasing them out.

Harrison is one of the sponsors of House Bill 559, also known as the Pollinator Protection Act. The bill, whose primary sponsors also include Reps. Chuck McGrady, John Ager and Mitchell Setzer, stalled in committee this spring.

Concerns about agricultural pesticides are not new, said Hannah Burrack, professor of entomology at N.C. State University. People disagree because there are positive and negative effects, so it’s a trade-off, she said.

“The thing that gets glossed over in the discussions of banning neonics is that the pests themselves aren’t going to go away in these farming systems,” said Burrack, who is also an extension specialist. “Something needs to be done to manage them, and that something might become a more toxic pesticide if this one is removed. That needs to be a part of the conversation.”

A Google search can yield numerous alternatives to insecticides, like using fabric covers to keep pests off crops. The Natural Resource Conservation Service suggests people who do use insecticides should choose products with less harmful ingredients and spray them on dry evenings after dark when bees are not active.

Neonicotinoids are classified as a “general pesticide” by the EPA, which means no training or licensing is required to use them.

Consumers, who may not know as much as farmers about the chemicals they are using, often over-apply neonics, at a time when non-farming regions have become increasingly important habitats for bees, said Libba Rollins, Environment North Carolina’s campaign lead.

“Private citizens aren’t typically aware of the impact this has on pollinator population,” Ball explained. “A lot of people are buying these over the counter without recognizing the effect.”

Environment North Carolina is seeking a consumer ban because “bees are dying at record rates,” Ball said. “Beekeepers report losing an average of 30 percent of all honeybee colonies each winter, roughly twice the loss considered sustainable. A recent study found that more than half of all (wild) bees are in decline, too.”

It is not clear if neonics are causing the decline in wild bees, Burrack said. “There is limited science available and it’s harder to research wild bees because they can’t be raised in captivity,” she said.

However, fewer wild bees could affect crop production. North Carolina is fourth in pumpkin production, seventh in cantaloupe, apple and tomato production, eighth in squash and watermelon production and ninth in cabbage production, and all of these crops require pollinators, including wild bees, Rollins said.

Bayer, Dow, Monsanto and Syngenta are some of the biggest producers of neonics and say they should not be blocked or banned.

“Neonicotinoids are rigorously tested before going to market to ensure they can be used safely and effectively while allowing bees and other pollinators to thrive,” Syngenta said a statement to The News & Observer. “The weight of scientific evidence clearly shows that bees and other pollinators can coexist safely with neonicotinoid insecticides when product labels are followed.”

Bayer agreed, adding that the potential exposure to bees by consumer application is far below levels that would cause concern.

“Distinguishing toxicity from risk is a routine activity performed by most of us, even if we’re unaware we’re doing so,” Bayer said in its statement. “For example, caffeine is more toxic than many pesticides, yet we drink it in coffee without fear because the levels are so low.”

In 2014, Home Depot, the world’s largest home improvement company, announced that it had stopped treating 80 percent of flowering plants with neonics and would completely stop using neonics in flowering plants by 2018.

Lowe’s Home Improvement announced in 2015 that it would phase out neonics after the EPA announced it would stop approving new uses of the pesticide.

While groups disagree about bans, insecticides like neonics are part of a larger discussion about how our food is grown, Burrack said.

“I believe the best solution is to use the whole suite of pest-management tools we have available to us,” she said. “We monitor insect populations and select the least disruptive treatment available to us which in some cases is chemical control or not chemical-based controls.”