A Detroit mail carrier stopped delivering to a 143-unit Warren West Apartments due to the building’s bed bug problem.
Unfortunately, it happened at the time in the month when many of the building’s residents were supposed to get their social security checks.
Ed Moore, spokesman for U.S. Postal Service Detroit District, said the mail carrier got spooked when she saw exterminators ‘dressed in full Hazmat gear.’
‘When the carrier delivered there last week, the exterminators asked her why she was in the building, and said she couldn’t be there because of the bedbugs,’ Moore said. ‘At that time, the mail was temporarily suspended. We won’t put our carriers in harm’s way.’
Residents said they were never told delivery had been halted until they called the post office and were informed the only way they could get their mail was to travel to the Livernois Branch, about two miles south.
I can understand a USPS carrier walking out when told to leave by a pest control firm, as sounds like it was the case here.
However, that doesn’t explain why deliveries were not resumed the next day, or why there was no communication with the building’s managers or residents about the suspension of service.
Eugene Jones of the Detroit Housing Commission (which runs the building) noted in the article that the upscale Riverfront Apartments in downtown Detroit are also battling bed bugs, but did not miss any mail deliveries:
“It’s interesting that the mail never stopped getting delivered to the Riverfront Apartments, but they won’t deliver it to the public housing apartments,” said Jones of the Housing Commission. “What’s wrong with this picture? I’m going to get to the bottom of this. These people need their mail, and I’m going to get it for them as quickly as possible.”
In this case, the USPS is arranging to have a truck deliver mail to the outside of the building.
However, the USPS should realize that bed bugs are a common problem, and its carriers are likely going into infested buildings all day long without realizing it.
Bed bugs do spread and people who may encounter them during the workday should take reasonable precautions to avoid bringing them home, whether or not they are aware of an infestation or not.
There’s no need to panic, however, and no need to react as if the building harbors Hanta virus or Bubonic plague.
UPI reports that service was resuming today (Friday).