Bed bugs increasing problems for public housing

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bed bug complaints in public housing have doubled since last year, according to the Lucas County Health Department.

It's so bad at one apartment complex that residents have been displaced and now crews are doing routine inspections with a specialized dog! However, it's a problem that can easily be prevented.

Bed bugs are such a problem at Parqwood Apartments that special dogs were brought in to inspect each unit. Paul Bollinger, regional manager of Lucas Metropolitan Housing Authority, says, "Very similar to a drug dog or a cadaver, very same concept. There taught to sniff certain things, and the bed bug has a unique smell that's only picked up by a K-9."

This is the second time in less than a year that dogs have been used to inspect every apartment. "Been dealing with them for the past 24 months. The last 18, we've gone exclusively to doing heat treatments as opposed to chemical," says Bollinger.

Since September, nearly 70 apartments have received heat treatment. During that time, residents were displaced. According to the Lucas County Health Department, complaints have gone up 50 percent since last year!

"It's an issue of re-entry. We're comfortable that when a unit is heat treated that it's pest free, so our problems come back from reentry."

In many cases, bed bugs are carried into a home after vacation, but authorities from lmha aren't blaming hotels. "If they're shopping at second hand stores, garage sales and getting used items from friends and family, if they're not diligent in inspecting those items, they're not bringing them back in, then we're working against each other." For those of you second-hand shoppers out there, simply putting clothes in the dryer on high heat will kill bed bugs. Experts also suggest getting a steamer, which will allow you to kill them on furniture.