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Bedbugs Invade Brockton Senior Housing Complex

24 Oct

10/24/2011 Bedbugs Invade Brockton Senior Housing Complex: Kennedy Drive Apartments For Elderly & Disabled Amongst Affefected

Barbara Owens tried sleeping in her Kennedy Drive apartment, but it creeped her out – literally.

Knowing there were tiny bedbugs biting at her arms, legs and neck while she slept was too much for her.

“I couldn’t sleep that night. I was waiting for them to come out,” she said. “I left the next morning.”

Since last weekend, Owens has been staying with her sister in Rhode Island to escape the bugs that left quarter-sized welts on her skin.

Owens is not alone.

Executive Health Officer Louis Tartaglia said bedbugs have been a problem throughout the city.

Health Inspector Mark Zeoli said he gets about one call a week for bedbugs, including a couple of recent complaints from the Kennedy Drive complex, a which is managed by the Brockton Housing Authority for elderly and disabled individuals.

Bedbug treatment is more involved than for mice or roaches, said Owen Ahearn, facilities manager for the authority, as it requires a series of three treatments and a lot of cooperation from the tenant to make sure bedding and clothing is properly laundered and de-bugged so that the bugs aren’t reintroduced after the treatment.

Jeffrey White, a research entomologist and technician for BedBug Central, a bedbug information and exterminator referral company, said reporting and treating bed bugs right away is important.

“As an infestation grows, the chances it’s going to spread from one apartment to another is greater,” he said. “The sooner you deal with it the better.”

He said a realistic response time should be between one and five days.

While you’re waiting for the exterminator, White said, there are things you can do to provide relief, such as vacuuming the carpet and the bottom of the box spring, installing a plastic cover over the mattress, and installing bug traps that slip under the pedestals of the bed.

“That will dramatically reduce your problem,” he said.

The worst thing you can do, he added, is apply your own pesticide. If you spray your bed with pesticide, it merely pushes the bugs into other areas of the house or apartment, spreading the infestation.

“I can deal with an infestation that hasn’t been treated with pesticides way easier than one where they’re been spraying,” he said. “If they haven’t been spraying, I know where they are.”

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