Family sues Disney, says BED BUGS bit them at resort, then went home with them.

disney-s-all-star-movies-800x400Stock Daily Dish – December 3, 2019

A Louisiana couple is suing Disney, claiming they took home some unwanted souvenirs — bedbugs — that infested their home and traumatized their autistic son during their stay at the All-Star Movies Resort last year.

Ashley and Robert LaCombe filed the lawsuit that was transferred into Orlando federal court this week. The suit seeks more than $75,000 in damages.

A Disney spokeswoman did not comment specifically on the allegations other than the company would respond appropriately in court.

Ashley LaCombe, a commercial Realtor, and her husband, who runs a welding business, said they were on a five-day vacation in April 2018 when they began feeling itchy and red.

After they returned to their home in a parish north of New Orleans, they realized they had been bitten by “numerous” bedbugs, the lawsuit said.

The bedbugs bit them hundreds of times, leaving scars, said their New Orleans attorney Jennifer Greene.

The lawsuit says they ed Disney, and employees confirmed there were bedbugs in their hotel, a value resort near the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex.

“The bedbugs from the Disney Hotel traveled with the LaCombes on their luggage, clothing, and personal belongings, infesting their home in Louisiana,” the lawsuit said.

The LaCombes accused Disney of not disclosing there was a problem with bedbugs and not keeping the hotel free of infestations, according to the lawsuit first filed last year in U.S. District Court’s eastern Louisiana division.

The couple said they hired an exterminator to kill the bugs at their home, which forced them to find another place to stay. They threw away infected furniture and belongings and the couple also had to take time off work to deal with the situation. The stress also hurt their 5-year-old child, who has autism, the lawsuit said.

“The LaCombes experienced and continue to experience additional mental anguish and stress as they cannot enjoy their home,” according to the lawsuit. “Family members and friends cannot visit due to the risk of acquiring the bedbug infestation.”

The bugs are still a problem and returned even after the home has been fumigated, Greene said.

“It’s unfortunate for a family to deal with after going to the happiest place on Earth,” Greene said

Bedbugs a problem at OKC building that houses important state agencies

NEWS4 | by Chase Horn | November 21, 2019

OKC

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – For the past two months, the Oliver Hodge building, which houses the Oklahoma Department of Education, Office of Management and Enterprise Services, Oklahoma Teacher Retirement and the Statewide Virtual Charter School Board, has been fighting off bedbugs.

An email detailing the situation to employees was shared with News 4.

The email was sent on September 25, letting employees know they were planning a broad-spectrum pest spray treatment for the entire building.

“You`re going to first go in and inspect and determine what kind of pest do I have here,” ABC Home & Commercial Operations Manager Clayton Schiegg told News 4. “Broad-spectrum will kill anything, be it bedbugs, roaches, ants.”

Two weeks later another email was sent to employees confirming that there were bed bugs in the building. Fighting bedbugs are routine for exterminators, but fighting them in a building that large is never easy.

“It’s difficult because you don`t know where they are coming from at that point,” Schiegg said. “Anyone visiting the building could be bringing re-infesting the building.”

Another concern when dealing with a building like the Oliver Hodge building, is the amount of people that come in and out of there on a daily basis.

“They are definitely hitchhikers. So they come in on a person’s beanie, a purse – just like I stated – backpacks,” Schiegg said. “You name it, they can hitchhike on those items.”

The Department did not want to go on camera, but did send News 4 this statement.

The State Department of Education has taken all appropriate precautions to address this situation. The Hodge building has been treated for pests multiple times in recent weeks, and an area of the building will be resprayed on Friday.

We have had visual confirmation of five bugs over the past several weeks, and recently two individuals have reported bites that may or may not be consistent with bedbugs. There is no evidence of an actual infestation.

We have been in constant contact with our landlord, the Office of Management and Enterprise Services Facilities Management Division, which is in charge of pest control management and other building management issues.

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.

Penn State Developing Poultry Bedbug Control

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Lancaster Farming | by Courtney Love, Philip Gruber |Oct 25, 2019

Penn State researchers are reformulating an exterminator spray to combat bedbugs in chicken houses.

Entomology professor Nina Jenkins started developing the biopesticide Aprehend in 2011 and, with her team, commercialized the product in 2017.

The product was originally meant for places like homes and hotels, where bedbugs can be a hard-to-kill nuisance.

Jenkins spoke about the project in an Oct. 8 call with PennAg Industries Association.

When they hitchhike into poultry houses, bedbugs bite the chickens to drink their blood. In heavy infestations, the birds may experience feather loss, lesions and anemia.

Bedbugs are tricky to manage because they can feed on many animals, including rodents, and they are developing resistance to common pyrethroid insecticides.

“You only need one to survive to re-establish,” Jenkins said.

Aprehend is not a pyrethroid. It is an oil-based spray that contains Beauveria bassiana, a fungus that infects the bedbug’s blood system and kills it. The fungus spreads readily among bedbugs but does not infect humans.

The product, available only to licensed pest control operators, works in dark, undisturbed household settings for up to three months.

Poultry buildings don’t provide such ideal conditions.

“It’s going to be an issue with feather dust and dander,” Jenkins said.

Before Aprehend can get to poultry houses, Machtinger and Jenkins need to secure funding. The product must also go through the Environmental Protection Agency’s approval process, which could take 18 months.

Aprehend would be just one part of a broader integrated pest management approach to bedbugs.

Poultry houses should have dedicated worker clothing that is run through a dryer, washed in hot water and then dried again.

Workers should also have designated shoes for poultry house use and practice good biosecurity, said Gregory Martin, a Penn State Extension educator.

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.

Bedbugs found in student-issued iPads in Minnesota

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School districts said bedbugs have been found in five of the iPads.  (golibo/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

New York Daily News | by David Matthews | September 17, 2019

These tablets have a few bugs. Literally.

Beginning in the 2014-15 school year, students in the St. Paul Public School District had the opportunity to be issued an iPad to improve their learning experience. This year’s iteration of the program has gotten off to a rocky start after students reported their devices being infested with bedbugs.

CBS 4 reports that the creeps have been found in district-issued iPads, necessitating a letter be sent to parents asking their help in keeping the devices clean. The district said that high school and middle school students can bring their iPads home, but did not clarify what year the students with the affected devices were enrolled.

The school system said that the bedbugs had only been found in five of the 17,000 iPads it had issued.

“There is no indication of the presence of any additional pests in any other iPads,” the district told CBS 4. “However, as the health and safety of our students are our highest priorities, we felt it was responsible and prudent to ask families to maintain the cleanliness of the devices.”

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.”