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

 

Bedbugs Cause Three-Day Restricted Access at NY Hospital

October 7, 2019 |By Cathy Jakicic | Facilitiesnet.com

img_2370 The outpatient area of C.R. Wood Cancer Center at Glens Falls Hospital in New York was restricted recently because of bedbugs, according to the Post-Star.

A patient came to the outpatient Cancer Center with bedbugs, according to a hospital spokesperson.

In response, the facility restricted the area and gave it a thorough cleaning.

The hospital tried to contact all patients who had an appointment scheduled to tell them of the restriction.

The area was reopened three days later.

Clairton, PA schools cancel classes amid bedbug issue

Tribune Review | by Brian Rittmeyer | September 19, 2019

Allegheny County, PA | Clairton City School District is dismissing students early Thursday and will be closed Friday because of bedbugs, the district announced.

According to a letter dated Wednesday from Superintendent Ginny Hunt, a bedbug incident occurred in the district’s building, which houses its elementary and middle/high school.BB_Clairton

Clairton Middle/High School September 18, 2019 5:01 pm

Please be advised;

This is a follow-up to the letter posted on the districts social media pages and sent home on Wednesday afternoon;

Clairton City School District will have a 11:30 am early release on Thursday 09/19/19 and will be closed on Friday 9/20/19 for preparation and administration of a secondary treatment.

All after school activities will be cancelled on Thursday and Friday. The Home Football Game at Neil C. Brown will still take place and is scheduled for a 7 pm kickoff.

As always our number one priority is the safety and well-being of our students and staff and we will continue to take all necessary precautions and safety measures. As always it is at the parents discretion to keep the student home (this would be an excused absence, if a note is received to the office within 3 days of returning)

School will resume on Monday 9/23/19.

Bedbugs are small, oval, brownish insects that live on the blood of animals or humans. Adult bedbugs have flat bodies about the size of an apple seed; they swell and are a reddish color after feeding. They do not fly but can move quickly.

The district has contacted an exterminator to treat multiple classrooms in addition to common areas.

“We will continue to monitor the situation and consult with public health and pest control professionals to eliminate any remaining bedbugs in the building and to minimize the potential for future bedbug activity in the school, as necessary,” Hunt said in the letter.

For the preparation and administration of a secondary treatment, the district will release students at 11:30 a.m. Thursday. The district will be closed on Friday.

After-school activities on Thursday and Friday are cancelled; however, a home football game at 7 p.m. Friday at Neil C. Brown Stadium will still take place.

Classes will resume on Monday.

The Edge at Union Station settles tenants’ class action lawsuit for $550,000

edge

The Edge Apartment Building and Union Station in Worcester Christine Peterson

Telegram.com | by Brad Petrishen | September 18, 2019

WORCESTER – The Edge at Union Station, the upscale off-campus student housing complex behind Union Station, has agreed to pay $550,000 to settle a class action lawsuit alleging it improperly handled security deposits and built illegal stipulations into leases.

Among the provisions the owners agreed to not enforce going forward was one that allowed them to fine tenants $100 for not answering the door for a law enforcement officer, as well as a clause stating the complex was not liable for property losses attributed to bedbugs.

“The Edge did a good job recognizing the issues and working with us to help resolve them,” Josh Gardner, lawyer for the plaintiffs, said Tuesday.

About 535 people who lived in the building between June 2016 and June 2019 are expected to be eligible to file a claim, court documents show, and claims are due Oct. 25.

Mr. Gardner filed the lawsuit in Worcester Superior Court in October 2017 on behalf of Douglas Schaffer, a three-month tenant of the building at 8 Grafton St., who alleged his security deposit was returned late after he departed in June 2017.

The suit alleged that The Edge did not properly account for the security deposits it collected, did not always return them quickly enough and improperly charged a $50 application fee.

It also alleged The Edge billed tenants on estimates of their electricity usage rather than using dedicated meters, and violated sanitary code by not cleaning common bathroom areas.

Opened in June 2016 in the former Osgood Bradley building, The Edge was specifically built with students in mind. According to court records, it features one-, two- and four-bedroom suites, and tenants pay for bed space within a unit rather than for a whole suite.

Each tenant pays a pro-rated portion of the electricity, court papers show, while the multi-unit suites have bathrooms in each bedroom as well as a half-bathroom in the common area.

Noting that each bedroom had its own bathroom, it argued it also was not legally required to clean the common half-bathroom once every day.

In a joint motion filed Aug. 13 urging a judge to certify the class and preliminarily approve the settlement, lawyers on both sides agreed the bathroom and electricity claims faced “significant legal obstacles” for the plaintiffs and had “the least likelihood of success.”

The Edge did concede that it “did not properly handle the security deposits in some respects in the past.”

The lawsuit had alleged the complex broke a law governing security deposits by collecting application fees, failing to hold deposits in separate interest-bearing accounts, failing to providing notice to tenants of which bank accounts held their security deposits, failing to pay interest on the security deposits and failing to properly withhold or return the deposits within 30 days of the end of tenancy.

According to the joint Aug. 13 motion, The Edge has stopped charging application fees and has “placed security deposits into a compliant account.”

It also states The Edge has “agreed to amend (its) standard lease to take out the provisions plaintiff believes do not comport with Massachusetts law.”

Also removed was language allowing The Edge to charge up to two months of rent as security deposit, allowing it to terminate utilities “at any time,” and language pertaining to certain fees and procedures relative to lease enforcement.

As for the electricity bills, The Edge will determine those charges by dividing the number of bedrooms in each unit rather than dividing the number of tenants in each unit.

Mr. Gardner, of Gardner & Rosenberg in Boston, said it is “not often the case” in a class action lawsuit that the defendants recognize and work to solve issues, but that is what happened here.

“It’s a good settlement, and it’s a credit to them and their attorney that we were able to reach it,” he said.

The bulk of the settlement – $500,000 – will be covered by an insurer, court records show, while the remaining $50,000 will be paid by The Edge.

“The defendants themselves have significant financial constraints,” the joint motion reads. “For this reason, the remaining $50,000 will be paid by defendants, with a personal guarantee from two individuals.”

Mr. Shaffer and Mary Shaffer are listed in the settlement as the two people guaranteeing the extra $50,000.

Karen Friedman, the lawyer for The Edge, did not immediately return phone and email messages left Tuesday afternoon. A voicemail left at the office number for The Edge late Tuesday afternoon was not immediately returned.

The amount individual claimants receive from the settlement will depend on how many of the estimated 535 eligible tenants file a claim.

The $550,000 – minus about $182,000 in lawyers’ fees, and some other expenses – will be spread among the people who file claims by Oct. 25.

Mr. Gardner said he anticipated everyone who files a claim will get at least $500, and likely more than that.

Mr. Schaffer, who now lives in Ohio, will get $5,000 for being the lead plaintiff.

The settlement will not technically become official until after the claims are submitted and the judge gives a final approval. The agreement notes that The Edge is not admitting any wrongdoing by agreeing to settle.

Wipe the remote, and 9 other tips for a clean, safe and relaxing hotel stay

Be wary of drinking glasses, and don’t put your luggage on the bed if you want to avoid bed bugs

IrishTimes

Don’t assume that just because hotel is super posh it won’t have bed bugs. Image: iStock

Irish Times |by Geoffrey Morrison | August 14, 2019

I’ve lost count how many hotels I’ve stayed in. Hundreds, for sure, and on every continent except Antarctica. From beach-side resorts in St Kitts in the Caribbean, to a grand, soaring high-rise in Tokyo, to a castle-adjacent treehouse on the north coast of Scotland, I’ve stayed in some truly lovely places. I’ve also stayed at dilapidated dives in Vegas with rusty taps and rugs so thin you could see the concrete underneath. The memory of the latter still makes me itch.

Over the years I’ve come up with a set of tips and tricks I use in every hotel, from 5-star to wear-your-shoes-in-the-bathroom-star. They range from a little peace of mind and a reduction of annoyance to maintaining a bit of safety and health while travelling. Starting with …

1. The remote is gross
What is touched by everyone but rarely cleaned? A quick swipe with some baby wipes or a damp (not wet) hand towel should help a bit.

2. 20°C is 68°F
Need to set the thermostat in your room? Twenty degrees Celsius is equal to 68°F – a good place to start.

3. Be skeptical of drinking glasses, especially if the hotel lacks a restaurant
Generally, drinking glasses are cleaned after every guest. Generally. If there’s no on-site restaurant, though, how are they cleaned? By hand presumably, but how well? Give them a rinse and a sniff, at least.

4. Don’t put your luggage on the bed
Bed bugs are gross little vampires. Like mosquitoes, but worse. Putting your luggage on the bed can give them a free ride to your next location … like your house. The luggage rack might not be a good option either, since it’s usually close to the bed. Your best bet is to put your luggage in the bathroom and then give the bed, rack, and chair/sofa a close look. Also, don’t assume that just because hotel is super posh it won’t have bed bugs. They might have more means to get rid of the problem, but it can happen anywhere.

5. Bring long cables for your phone
As the number of devices needing to charge increases, the number of outlets available in hotel rooms … stays the same. I’ve stayed in new hotels with zero easily-accessible plugs. Mind blowing. In most airports you can pick up long USB cables so you can plug in and still, hopefully, use your phone from the bed. Travel power strips are handy for plugging multiple devices into that one outlet you found behind the bed.

6. Yes, you can take the little shampoo bottles. No, you can’t take the robe
Some hotels give the remaining soaps to charities like Clean the World. It’s worth checking if they do, as perhaps that’s a better use of the remaining soap than getting lost in your luggage or forgotten in your home medicine cabinet. Many hotels are moving toward large-bottle dispensers, both as a cost- and Earth-saving measure.

7. Lock, latch, and put out the do not disturb sign
Housekeeping comes early. Exactly 100 per cent of the time I’ve wanted to sleep in and forgot to put out the sign, housekeeping wakes me up. In how many languages do you know how to say “come back later, please?” For me, when woken from a deep slumber, a croaky none.

Enabling the safety latch also lets you open the door to see if it really is management knocking while preventing said knocker from unexpectedly opening the door fully. Exceptionally unlikely, sure, but why take the chance?

8. Take a picture of the safe code
Even if you just use your birthday or something memorable in the moment, take a picture of the number you program into the safe.

9. Laundry is expensive
I travel for months at a time. I do laundry about once a week. At an expensive laundromat in Paris I paid €7 for a load of all my clothes. While trapped at a hotel in Fiji during a typhoon I paid $10 for each pair of underwear.

You should definitely pack light enough that you’ll need to do laundry on any trip longer than a week. Some hotels, and nearly all hostels, have inexpensive laundry facilities on-site or nearby. The staff will usually help you find a place. There’s always washing in the sink too, which is free if you have the time.

10. And lastly … Stay in a hostel instead
I’ve spent the majority of nights during my extended travels of the last five years in hostels. Hotels can be great, but they’re invariably expensive. Hostels probably aren’t what you think, and can be a great way to save money and meet new people.

– New York Times

CNET report details guest’s bed bug problem at Philly Airbnb

Plus, some tips to make sure your stay is free of any creepy-crawlies

airbnb bed bugs philly

                                                                                                                                     JAYMANTRI/PEXELS

PHILLY VOICE by Bailey King – August 14, 2019

Airbnb has taken the world by storm since its 2008 launch, providing travelers a more home-y and authentic experience at costs often lower than hotels.

While the user experience with Airbnb is generally regarded as seamless, one irritating problem has bothered some travelers: bed bugs.

A quick Google search of “Airbnb bed bugs” brings up pages and pages of reports of the discovery of reddish brown bug infestations or clustered itchy bites on the skin.

A CNET story published Tuesday about Airbnb’s problem included one woman’s report of bed bugs at an Airbnb here in Philadelphia. (Perhaps this is no surprise since Philly topped one list of cities  most infested by the pests.)


The woman, Dariele Blain, told CNET she found a bug crawling on the bed of a six-bedroom townhome she rented for a birthday party in July. She sent photos to Airbnb, which confirmed her suspicion that it was a bed bug, but the company said it could not relocate her 20-guest party to another Airbnb, to prevent spreading the bugs. Instead, the group was told to book a hotel, which Airbnb reimbursed – plus the original rental fee – within a few days, Blain said.

Blain told CNET:

“There’s nothing in there [about] what to do if the house is not clean or if there’s bedbugs. They need to be more proactive with stuff like that because it’s a public health issue.”

(This appears to be common protocol, as friends of mine had the same experience in Montreal and had to move to a hotel.)

While this is Airbnb’s unofficial protocol, there is no official one. The company claims to handle bed bug cases on a case-by-case basis and, in one such instance, reportedly asked a renter to sign a nondisclosure after an incident.

Bed bugs are a type of insect that feed on human blood, usually during nighttime hours. While they do not transmit disease, their bites can result in skin rashes, psychological effects and allergic symptoms. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, bed bugs are, indeed, a public health issue.

While hotels primarily have a handle on the little critters, no place is truly safe from an infestation.

The New York Times has an all-inclusive tip guide for to make sure you don’t bring any bed bugs home with you. These tips include looking out for the telltale brown-black stains on sheets, mattresses and boxsprings, avoiding putting your luggage on the bed and use a lint roller to test luggage for bugs after travel.

And read the full story from CNET, “Bedbugs are giving Airbnb users headaches… and itchy bites.”

Thousands of bugs, “deplorable conditions” found in home with four children

CRESTVIEW, Fla. (WKRG) — August 2, 2019 by Cody Long — Deputies responded to a call of domestic battery Tuesday to find a home with thousands of cockroaches, spiders and other bugs and children sleeping on the floor, according to an arrest report.

James Reid, Latina Reid and Daniel Reid were arrested at their home on Fleming Drive, charged with child neglect and taken to the Okaloosa County Jail.

Four children were home when their grandmother Latina Reid battered her adult son Daniel Reid who’s the father of two of the children, according to the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office.

The arrest report states the home was in “deplorable conditions” and there were thousands of bugs crawling around. There was no bed for the children because it was thrown out because of an infestation of bed bugs along with the living room furniture.

Children were seen sleeping on a pallet on the floor while bugs crawled on their face. There was mold on the walls and floors, household garbage was found throughout the house and there was rotting food in the bathroom and cockroaches crawling on children’s toothbrushes, according to deputies.

Deputies also reported seeing bug bites on the children.

The Department of Children and Families removed the children from the home.

Woman’s Attempt to Kill Bedbugs May Have Sparked Upper Darby Apartment Fire

The woman said the flames from her stove lit up rubbing alcohol that she had poured to try to kill the bedbugs

NBC10 Philadelphia | by Randy Gyllenhaal and Rudy Chinchilla | August 1, 2019

A fire that consumed an Upper Darby apartment and caused evacuations in the rest of the complex may have been sparked by a woman’s misguided attempt to get rid of bedbugs.

An elderly woman living on the fourth floor of the Elizabeth Manor Apartments complex told firefighters and NBC10 that it was she who accidentally caused the Thursday morning blaze after the flames from her stove set alight rubbing alcohol that she had poured as a way of getting rid of bedbugs.

Because the fire station is only a few blocks from the complex, firefighters were able to respond quickly, going door to door to tell people to evacuate as they extinguished the blaze, Upper Darby Township Fire Company Deputy Chief Peter Huf said.

“First-arriving companies were met with heavy fire showing out the top floor and window of the apartment and a report of people trapped,” he said.

Dozens of residents were temporarily displaced, but there were no reports of injuries. The fire was also contained mostly to just the woman’s unit, with some minor smoke damage to neighboring units, and residents were allowed back inside.

Fire investigators, however, were still working to determine whether or not the blaze really was caused by a bedbug extermination attempt gone wrong, Huf said.

 

Woman claims son was bit by bed bugs at local hotel

WEST SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) — by Ryan Trowbridge and Audrey Russo

A woman who stayed for a night in a West Springfield hotel is speaking out after she says her son got bit by bed bugs.

Czhanell McCray doesn’t live in western Massachusetts, but she wanted to warn travelers locally and spoke exclusively with Western Mass News about how a few small bugs caused bigger problems for her family.

“On our way home, early afternoon, he really started profusely scratching really bad,” McCray said.

After a day of shooting hoops in a local basketball tournament, McCray’s 14-year-old son was taking home more than a trophy.

McCray told us over video chat that the night before, something had bitten her son.

“I just said mosquitoes must have, you know, gotten a hold of you,” McCray added.

However. the scratching got worse and after taking her son to urgent care, McCray noted, “the doctor didn’t even want to touch him. She just, you know, looked at him and said well, this is the bed bug situation here.”

McCray showed Western Mass News the doctor’s note with the diagnosis. She said she called the hotel where she and her son stayed – the Hampton Inn in West Springfield – to report the issue.

“Just want to make people aware to, when they’re coming to any hotel, just to make sure that they, which I found out they, strip down the bed, check the bed boards, look up under the mattresses,” McCray said.

We went to the West Springfield Health Department. Their records show two bed bugs were found by a pest management company a few days after McCray and her son checked out.

The report showed the bugs were likely introduced recently to the room and that it was treated and ventilated.

Western Mass News reached out to the Hampton Inn and they said “The hotel employs a comprehensive detection program which maintains the highest levels of vigilance.” They went on to say that they refunded McCray’s stay, but McCray said the issue will end up costing her more in extermination fees.

“Now we have to, out of inconvenience, have to get my home bombed,” McCray said.

Health department officials said they’ve seen increase in community bed bug reports in the last five years.

“The fact that people travel so much has increased the likelihood of being exposed,” said West Springfield public health nurse Mary Allen.

Health officials said the best thing you can do is check your hotel bed before sleeping in it, along mattress seams, headboards, and baseboards.

“They’re not as small as a tick, they’re a little bit bigger…like an adult would probably be the size of a normal house fly,” said Lauren Kennedy with the West Springfield Health Department.

Something, the size of a fly has caused much bigger problems for McCray’s family.

“The uncomfortability that he’s saying, the pain that he’s saying. How many showers that he has to take, he’s home from school. I’m taking half days from work just to come check on him to make sure he’s all right. The doctors tell him that’s going to take awhile for this thing to go away,” McCray said.

Battling bed bugs? They’re spreading around Spokane

SPOKANE, Wash. – Maher Kawash – July 26, 2019 – You may want to check your home and office for bed bugs.

Did we mention your favorite coffee shop isn’t safe either?

Bed bugs are popping up in homes, offices, and even stores around Spokane in larger than usual numbers.

Buying pest spray from the story may not cut it. Instead, you’ll need a couple thousand dollars to get rid of those bed bugs.

4 News Now spoke to a family in Medical Lake, whose home was infested with bed bugs which they believe came home with their daughter from Downtown Spokane.

“The bugs are downtown though I’m 99 percent sure they came home on my daughter,” Gail Vanamburg said.

VanAmburg says her daughter works at the Spokane Public Library four days a week and always comes home directly after that on the bus.

4 News Now reached out to the library but hasn’t heard back.

When we spoke to the Spokane Transit Authority, they told us they inspect and clean their buses every night.

Pest control expert Raymond VanderLouw said it’s really a matter of more people carrying their stuff around with them when they travel.  He said those bed bugs can get in backpacks, sleeping bags, and blankets before moving onto your body or other belongings.

A majority of what we end up treating are multi-family units, we do some hospitality spots, we have treated coffee shops, clinics, imaging centers. There are a lot of places that we’re seeing them that I honestly didn’t think we would end up seeing them.” VanderLouw said.

He also says the most common place for bed bugs is used furniture.
It’s easier than you’d think for bed bugs to move around in public, sitting in people’s bags, purses, or strollers.

So how do you know if you’re at risk? Well, it’s all about awareness.

“You got to assume there’s bed bugs in everything. I assume there’s bed bugs everywhere I go, and because I’m aware and I take those steps, I protect myself and my family,” VanderLouw said.