Four On Your Side Investigates Bed Bug Infestation in SE Albuquerque
KOB-TV (Albuquerque, NM)
Monday, October 31, 2011
On Halloween, residents at a local apartment complex weren't
battling zombies or vampires. Instead, they were trying to protect
their children from being bitten by a different kind of horror.
One man who lives in the Plaza Dorado Apartment Complex near
Central Avenue, east of Juan Tabo Boulevard SE, and who
didn't want to be identified out of fear of possible retaliation or
even eviction, told 4 On Your Side Reporter Gadi Schwartz that the
bugs are eating him up.
"It's a nightmare. Just the thought of having bugs crawling all
over you while you're sleeping," the man with clearly visible bites
on his arms and legs said.
He is not alone.
KOB's Four On Your Side investigative news team found the creepy
pests, both dead and alive, piling up in hallways and in several
A property manager at the complex confirmed six units had been
infested with the insects.
Erica Blankenship said she moved out of the community when the
bugs invaded earlier this year.
"My kids were afraid to sleep," Blankenship said.
The young mother said she tried to get management to spray her
rooms numerous times, but said they never did.
Blankenship said the infestation was so bad she left her
furniture behind when she moved out.
Living with her family now, Blankenship said replacing her bed,
a couch and two recliners and other household items may cost her
thousands of dollars.
Another tenant, who also did not want to be named, said he has
tried everything to keep both bed bugs and cock roaches away from
his two young sons. He has taped cracks in the wall along his
unit's door and has sprayed every day.
It has been a losing effort for him. So far he has had to throw
out mattresses and a couch.
At one point during our interview, he spotted a small cockroach
scurrying down his shirt.
"If I could move out I would," he said.
Other buildings on the property that KOB viewed had fiberglass
insulation clearly exposed, nails sticking out of stairways and in
one area outside, what appeared to be a live electrical wire
exposed near the door to an apartment building.
KOB met with the onsite property manager to discuss the
residents' frustrations living at the complex.
Kathryn Bowen said her staff addresses residents' concerns
within seven days. She assured Schwartz that she recently signed a
contract with an exterminator to fight the bed bug problem.
"We do our absolute best to get out there" Bowen said, adding
that residents have a responsibility to help keep bed bugs out of
their homes, showing us an Amended Lease agreement she sent to
residents telling them how to battle the bugs.
"We will come out and do what we can, but you have got to do
what you can do to get rid of them," Bowen said.
As for the exposed wiring, Bowen said no one ever reported the
problem to her and did not know whether the line was charged or
"I'm going to have to get a hold of maintenance on this one,"
Meanwhile, residents are asking property managers to spray
entire buildings for bed bugs as opposed to individual apartments
to make sure the bed bugs stop spreading into other units.