Bed Bugs Discovered at Housing Authority Complex for Elderly
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Residents of New Bern Towers, a Housing Authority apartment
complex for the elderly, are being temporarily displaced by
Gerald Wingate, interim executive director of New Bern Housing
Authority, said several residents complained about bedbugs a couple
of weeks ago.
An inspector was brought in Friday and on Monday exterminator
Rid-A-Pest of Wilson was called in to begin work on the eighth
floor of the building.
The work requires that residents leave their rooms during the
extermination process, but not overnight. There are approximately
12-14 residents on each floor, officials said.
The 106-unit building will be worked on from top to bottom, housing
authority officials said.
"We decided to do it floor by floor and exterminate every square
inch," Wingate said.
Wingate said he did not know how the bed bugs got into the
"Nowadays people travel all over the world and visitors come in,"
he said. "It is impossible to determine the point of origin.
"We are being very proactive to make sure the residents are not
impacted by the bedbugs," he said. "I feel confident this process
will be completed … and there will not be any bedbugs in New Bern
The Housing Authority will do a follow-up survey in 20 to 30 days
after the extermination is complete to make sure the problem is
corrected, Wingate said.
Lee Smith, vice president and an entomologist and with Rid-A Pest,
said his company hired the independent contractor Logos K9 of
Raleigh to use dogs trained to alert inspectors to bedbugs.
Bedbugs were found in not quite half of the 106 units, Smith
"There was not any heavy infestation," he said. "It was kind of
throughout the building in various units. But any bedbugs are
Workers are using industrial-sized heaters to raise the temperature
in each apartment to 120 degrees. Smith said that is the only way
to kill the bedbugs and their eggs.
The only way to keep the bed bugs out of the units is through
education, Smith said.
The pest control company is working with management at New Bern
Towers and the Housing Authority to educate residents on the
importance of avoiding discarded furniture and to refrain from
visiting neighbors in the units that have not yet been treated,
Smith said it would probably take a little more than a week to rid
the apartment complex of the pests.
Gill Meadows, a resident of New Bern Towers, said Tuesday he did
not have a problem with bedbugs in his room on the fourth floor,
but he wasn't surprised some people had them in their rooms.
"People are moving in and moving out," Meadows said. "I think that
is where they come from. …What you want to watch for is
George Taylor, a resident of the sixth floor who was sitting in his
wheelchair in the parking lot of the apartment complex, said he has
seen a few bedbugs in his room. But he didn't seem concerned.
"It's not a big problem," he said.