Bed Bugs – Just Pests Or A Bigger Problem?
Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Ingham County Health Department doesn't track bed bugs, nor do they have experts or resources on hand to deal with them. It says that would take resources they don't have, and in the meantime, they have more important things in front of them.

"They're not a health risk. They're very irritating, but they don't spread disease," said Marcus Cheatham of the Ingham County Health Department. "Salmonella, E Coli, Meningitis...these are diseases that kill people, and that's when we get involved."

But for Lansing woman Ruth McBee, these critters are more than just irritating. Last week, she woke up to a real life nightmare.

"I was being bitten, and it hurt so bad, it felt like my skin was on fire," McBee said.

It was the second time she's ended up in the emergency room thanks to bed bugs.

"These things have made me sick and I can't take it anymore," she said.

McBee's situation is perhaps worse than others because she's diabetic, and some of her bites have abscessed. It started last November, months after she moved into Stonecrest Townhomes.

"We didn't have them when we got here, like I said, we did find out the unit was treated before we moved in," she said.

She says it took management more than a month after she complained to treat her unit, and that this time around, they only came after we--the news--got involved.

Stonecrest Management would not talk to us on camera but says Thursday's inspection found no sign of them. That's good news for McBee. She was getting tired of her routine.

"Everything we own as far as clothes is bagged up and sealed in our basement," she said. "I live with two outfits and two blankets. I take one outfit and one blanket, I run downstairs, put them in the dryer and I take what's in the dryer out, run upstairs and get dressed in the bathroom," she said.

Stonecrest Management added treatment requries everyone's cooperation, and that hasn't always happened. Those living not only in the infested unit, but also on either side of it, have to wash and then seal all their clothing and bedding before an exterminator can do his job.