Bed bugs in Grand Forks, North Dakota public housing

by nobugsonme on August 10, 2008

in bed bug epidemic, bed bug treatment, bed bugs, bed bugs and people with disabilities, bed bugs and the elderly, bed bugs in hotels, bed bugs in public housing, motels

Public housing tenants in a Grand Forks, North Dakota public housing development are suffering from bed bug bites, according to a story in he Grand Forks Herald Saturday.

The article, “Bedbugs infest GF apartment complex again,” said twelve units were infested in the 76-unit Cherry Heights complex (at 110 Cherry Street), which houses those over 62, the disabled, and people on low incomes.

The word “again” in the headline referred to the fact that one unit in the building was infested back in March. This suggests that either (a) all bed bugs in the original infestation were not killed and later spread to others, (b) bed bug infestations were present at the time in other units that were not known about, (c) one or more tenants or staff have brought bed bugs in since the March infestation, or (d) all of the above.

The article says,

After the report of bedbugs in March, the affected apartment and surrounding units were treated.

“We felt that we did have it under control. We felt we did everything that had to be done,” [executive dirctor Terry] Hanson said.

From April to July, the housing authority received no reports of bedbugs. But it’s not clear whether this is a fresh case or a lingering one, Hanson said.

It is possible that other units besides surrounding ones were infested at the time. It’s also not clear how many treatments occurred back in March. Most bed bug infestations take more than one treatment to clear up. Some take many more. If tenants do not react to bites, they may not know if bed bugs are gone. The housing authority should therefore not rely on subsequent “reports of bed bugs” before following up with further treatment.

The Grand Forks Herald said the building was being treated next week with pesticide spraying by Ecolab, and that tenants in the twelve units being treated would be asked to vacate their homes for two days during treatment.

I can only hope residents have been educated about how to avoid moving bed bugs to the hotels, motels, friends’ or relatives’ homes where they might stay during that time.

Bed bugs spread easily and one must take precautions to avoid moving them in one’s clothing or possessions. (This FAQ gives some pointers on how to avoid spreading bed bugs to others.)

The Bismarck Tribune also did a brief story on this yesterday.

If you based your assessment of the bed bug epidemic on news stories which have come out most recently from Pennsylvania, Indiana, Kentucky, and now North Dakota, you’d probably be thinking that bed bugs are mostly a problem in public housing.

This is far from the truth. All kinds of people get bed bugs in all kinds of homes. I have a hunch, though, that public housing bed bug stories are more likely to make it into the news.

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