Big problem with bed bugs

August 17, 2009 9:55:15 PM PDT
There's been a big push in the city to fight a growing bed bug problem. The city has even established an advisory board to deal with the issue.

But in one housing complex some residents say the problem there has been growing in scope for months and they blame city housing for dragging their feet in dealing with the problem.

Hazel Mclain showed us some of the bed bugs says she found in her Walt Whitman Houses apartment.

"One was actually crawling across the pillow," she said.

If allowed to spread, the tiny pests will multiply, wreaking havoc on your home and life. That is why Hazel called Eyewitness News after reaching out to the housing department for help.

She did what an orange flyer, presumably from housing, says to do - call for help.

But Hazel says city housing representatives told her that she needed to wait until September 2.

Here, bed bugs are the complex's worst kept secret.

Another resident says she's been living with them in her apartment since last Christmas.

At first, she says she was also told she would have to wait a few weeks for help. Thomasina Goodwin got an appointment a month later.

Wait more than a week, according to one exterminator we consulted, and the problem gets worse.

"The longer you wait, the more eggs that can hatch," he said.

The real issue might be that housing officials are overwhelmed, to be fair. No one seems to know how big the problem really is or where these bed bugs are coming from in the first place.

Housing officials told us they treat bed bugs as an emergency situation.

They say they have 80 exterminators working for them citywide.

If there's a problem, they'll move an exterminator from another borough.

It's not clear why there's been a delay here, potentially allowing the problem to get worse.

After Tomasina Goodwin's family pleaded for help sooner, she got it.

Hazel Mclain is still waiting.

"I'm paying for hotels because it's ridiculous. Nobody should have to go through this," she said.


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