Bed Bug Update

St. Joseph Resident Allegra Cloud covers her belongings with trash bags and duct tape to prevent bedbugs in or out. She uses gloves and a hair net for protection. Everything she owns has to be stored away for 18 months before she can safely use her things again.

Allegra Cloud moved into Pleasant Heights Apartments on Aug. 31. Two days later, she noticed welts all over her body.

“I had 16 welts that I counted,” Ms. Cloud said. “The exterminator came in and it took 10 seconds to go from my front door to my bed, and right behind my bed picked up a bedbug and said, ‘see, bedbugs.’ He squished it and said, ‘that’s blood.’ I was horrified.”

Now, the St. Joseph woman is horrified to be without a home because of bedbugs “I don’t understand why I’m losing everything, why I’m homeless now,” said a tearful Ms. Cloud.

Ms. Cloud prepped her entire apartment for an extermination inspection last Thursday, but nobody showed. She then went to the office, but nothing was done to eradicate the issue.

A recent study showed that in the perfect conditions, one bedbug can multiply to more than 30,000 bugs in six months.

Ms. Cloud was forced to pack up her things, whatever wasn’t covered in bugs, and leave. She chose homelessness over sleeping in a bug-infested bed, and being bit every night. Ms. Cloud double- and even triple-bagged all her belongings.

Another tenant at Pleasant Heights, which offers subsidized housing, said there were already bedbugs when she moved in, at a different building. She had to pay for the extermination, and she didn’t feel like the apartment complex offered much help.

“Another neighbor said she reported it two months before to the office. But here’s the main thing my neighbors said. They are all afraid getting kicked out,” Ms. Cloud said.

FOX 26 KNPN reached out to the apartment manager and the director of the St. Joseph Housing Authority. Both were unavailable for comment.

According to a local exterminator, the only way to thoroughly kill every bedbug as well as bedbug eggs is with heat treatment. In order to assure the bugs are gone, exterminators will usually continue to use sprays regularly for a month and half to two months.

Pleasant Heights is an apartment complex for low-income individuals at 2902 S. 36th Place. The St. Joseph Housing Authority operates the facility under guidelines established by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Adam Waltz can be reached