Clark Arms Residents Dealing with Bed Bugs
Thursday, May 3, 2012
JEFFERSONVILLE - Some residents at Clark Arms are having to move
belongings out of their apartments as a bed bug infestation has
Jenny Eldridge, who's mother-in-law lives at Clark Arms - a public
housing complex for elderly and disabled residents - said she and
family members spent several days last week clearing out closets
full of coats, clothes, pictures, Christmas decorations and other
Bags of clothes had to be sealed, taken to a laundry facility, and
washed in hot water to kill the bugs.
"This has been a nightmare," Eldridge said, noting that she's
worried about other residents who don't have family to help them
move things out. "Some of them are sick and disabled and don't have
people that can help them."
Her mother-in-law's place was sprayed Monday and she's back in the
apartment now. However, Eldridge is still upset because a couch
from the apartment might have to be tossed out in order to get rid
of the bugs completely.
Louisville-based OPC is treating the infestation and their staff
told her the couch might have to go. OPC President Donnie
Blake said he understands how hard the request is but said it might
be necessary in order to treat the apartment.
"Bed bugs are tough," Blake said. "Trying to do these treatments
are extremely invasive. It's no fun whatsoever."
In some cases, Blake said, the value of the furniture may not match
up with the cost of treatment. Eldridge wants the authority to hire
someone who will treat the used furniture.
Further, she doesn't like that OPC is going apartment to apartment
to treat the bugs rather than treating the entire floor. Blake said
treating only the infested units and adjacent units is the
company's standard practice.
There are 101 units in Clark Arms and seven of them are under
treatment for bed bugs, said Housing Authority Executive Director
Phillip Bates. The housing authority is paying for the treatments
and Bates said OPC's methods have been successful at eradicating
the bed bugs when they've worked at other authority
Further, he said authority staff tries to educate residents on how
to avoid bringing the mites into their homes. Avoiding used
furniture purchases is one such tip they give.
Bates and Eldridge have spoken about the problem. Bates said he was
willing to discuss having her pay for an additional contractor if
she's not satisfied after OPC has finished their spraying and final
BED BUG LAWS
Clark County Health Department Environmental Health Supervisor
Scott Wilson confirmed there have been three bed bug complaints
filed in regards to Clark Arms. However, unlike roach, rat and
mosquito infestations there aren't laws that will allow the
department to take punitive actions related to bed bugs, Wilson
"There really aren't laws written to control bed bugs," he said.
"If it's written in the state codes or our ordinance we can give
orders to correct the problems."
A GROWING CONCERN
OPC is a member of the National Pest Management Association and
Blake sits on a national bed bugs task force within that
Nationwide, he said, bed bugs are becoming an epidemic.
"Our bed bug treatments, since 2005, are doubling every year," he
According to the group's website, pestworld.org, the blood-feeders
have been on the increase since 1995. Several factors led to their
resurgence, according to the site, including increased
international travel, more targeted pest control products and
methods and a lack of public awareness about pest prevention
The association notes bed bugs have been a household pest issue for
more than 3,300 years, dating back to ancient Egypt. They were
first brought to the United States by early colonists, where they
thrived for many decades. By the 1950s, bed bugs had been all but
eradicated in the developed world thanks to the availability of new
pest control products, coupled with the widespread use of vacuums
and washing machines.