Bed Bugs at Harbor Towers

ABC57.com (South Bend, IN)
Monday, November 7, 2011

BENTON HARBOR, MI - People who live at an elderly and disabled housing community in Benton Harbor are itching to have some problems fixed. Last week a woman claimed she was attacked and that security cameras didn't record the incident at Harbor Towers. Now a bed bug infestation is raising questions.

Everyone seemed to have a bed bug horror story when we asked residents outside Harbor Towers on Monday."They crawl in your face and in your hair. You know, they just crawl and eat on you," said Gidget Franklin."You wake up with all kinds of bite marks, it's ridiculous," said David Moss. "I had to get rid of all my furniture, everything in my house," said Quana Blomer. "I don't think we'll be able to get rid of them because everyone else in there has got them," said Herbert Carlyle.

Harbor Towers is a low-income, elderly and disabled apartment complex that's home to hundreds of people and apparently plenty of bedbugs. "I had a couple bite my lag last night. My leg and my back," said Franklin.

Franklin sleeps with bed bugs every night and said it has been a building-wide problem for more than a year. "They will crawl in the hallways to other apartments and everybody just gets it," she said.

The Benton Harbor Housing Commission runs the building. Ralph Crenshaw said bed bugs have been reported but said it is under control. "No it's never been an issue at that building, not a serious issue," said Crenshaw. He said when the bugs are reported exterminators are called within days.

Crenshaw estimated the commission paid more than $15 thousand in the past year for exterminators. A pest control company was parked outside the building Monday. At $350 per treatment, half of the apartments in the complex have already been treated, according to Crenshaw.

Residents said the treatments don't work very well. "We're still having a serious issue with it," said Blomer. "Spray only does so much," said Carlyle. "I might go over to your house one day and they might get on me," said Moss.

Franklin said she thinks the whole building would need to get treated at the same time to rid the bugs. "I want to see the whole building cleaned because nobody should have to live like that," she said.

Crenshaw said the Housing Commission is determining the next course of action. "We're in the process of talking with an exterminator to see what it would cost to clean up (the) floors affected or even the building," he said.