Bed Bugs Found In Hempfield Towers Low-Income Apartments
Friday, March 2, 2012

Westmoreland County Housing Authority officials on Thursday confirmed that exterminators have removed beg bugs from seven apartments at Hempfield Towers.

Residents last week reported finding the nuisance insects in their homes, authority Executive Director Mike Washowich said.

"We didn't want this to be transported all across the facility," Washowich said.

Hempfield Towers is a high-rise complex with 202 units for low-income, elderly and handicapped tenants.

According to a fact sheet published by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, bed bugs are small insects that feed on human blood and do not spread disease. Bed bug infestations are usually caused when the insects move via furniture, bedding, luggage and cloths. Bites are usually evidenced by itchy welts.

The health department recommends that licensed exterminators remove bed bugs.

Washowich said the housing authority used both its own staff and private exterminators to treat the apartments at Hempfield Towers.

Bed bug outbreaks have hit some of the nation's larger cities, including Pittsburgh.

Last year, the University of Pittsburgh treated more than two dozen dorm rooms after bed bugs were discovered in the living quarters for students. In 2010, common areas at nine buildings throughout the Community College of Allegheny County network were affected by bed bugs.

Washowich said there have been no signs of a larger infestation at Hempfield Towers.

"We're not doing a full inspection of all 200 units. If you have bed bugs you get bit," Washowich said.

The housing authority treated several apartments in Greensburg and Monessen last year for bed bugs, according to Washowich. No other problems were reported at the authority's other units, he said.