Monthly Archives: April 2013

Bed bug cases rise across state

With the bedbug population larger than at any point, bed bug exterminators in NJ  were busier than ever. Bed bugs were increasingly being found in many homes and bedrooms. They can now be found in cars, stores, and workplaces. Bed bug control in NJ were much needed.

Besides increased concerns, experts say most people know very little about bedbugs or infestation signs.

Americans once thought bedbugs were committed to good-night wishes. Active pesticides wiped out most U.S. bedbugs in the 1950s. But increased international travel to places like South America, Asia and Africa allowed bedbugs resistant to traditional pesticides to travel back to America.

In major cities, especially in New York, Outbreaks began to rise. This attracted media attention and scared people about what can be living in their mattresses and homes.

NJ Bed Bug Control – No sleeping tight when blood-suckers bite

It’s a drab building that you’ve probably passed many times on First Avenue without even thinking about who lives there or why. Wedged between Egbert’s furniture store and the Frontier Room, it’s an easy spot to forget: a forbidding fence, a concrete courtyard and, on occasion, a person of little means lingering over a smoke.

The building is Bell Tower, a publicly owned high-rise that’s home to about 120 people who are either retired or disabled. Their rent is subsidized by their landlord, the Seattle Housing Authority.

That tends to make most SHA tenants wary of saying or doing anything that would cause them to lose their housing — even when there’s a problem, people clam up. That makes it all the more amazing that tenants on the Bell Tower Resident Council are not only threatening to sue the agency, they’ve got a lawyer: Starbucks attorney Julie Wade, who was once the housing authority’s general counsel, is representing the group for free and, on Jan. 22, sent a letter to SHA seeking four months free rent for every resident of Bell Tower.

If they don’t get the free rent, says the council’s chair, Ken Jennings — who, it’s no coincidence, has two separate lawsuits of his own going against the agency — the group will file suit.

The issue is a $3.5 million rehab of the building that the housing authority started last August. Since then, Wade says in her letter to SHA Executive Director Tom Tierney, running water in the building has been shut off two dozen times for up to eight hours at a stretch, workers have come and gone from tenants’ apartments with no warning, and the construction and its noise and fumes have not only made people sick, it’s driven roaches and a much harder-to-kill pest in the building — bedbugs — from apartment to apartment to feed on residents.

At a meeting Wade had with Bell Tower tenants last fall, “At least ten of the residents present reported being bitten by bedbugs as well as the lack of an effective and timely response from SHA,” she says in the letter. “Reportedly, it often took 2, and sometimes 4 weeks, for the pest control unit to show up after a request had been properly filed.”

The conditions, Wade says, violate federal housing regulations, which call for living conditions to be sanitary and units to have a functioning sink, toilet and tub or shower.

In a reply on Jan. 29, Tierney disagrees. It’s impossible, he writes, for a construction project not to inconvenience residents in some way and, sorry, but now that Seattle has a bedbug problem, “occasionally the demands on the bedbug pest control unit exceeds its capacity.”

That’s a little ominous: Being out of “capacity” means it’s OK for bedbugs to bite and suck on tenants at night? Jennings says no and that the Bell Tower council has already filed a formal claim with the housing authority demanding the free rent — the first step, he says, on the way to a lawsuit that the council’s executive board has already OK’d.