According to a local Orkin Pest Control vice president, roaches are retiring to Easton Housing Authority properties.
Now Orkin is focused on eradicating bedbugs, the pest control company’s vice president Andy Tay told the Easton Housing Authority at a meeting on Tuesday.
Bushkill House tenants Denise Thomas and Alice Levens previously told lehighvalleylive.com that their apartments in the complex at 66 N. Locust St. were invaded by roaches. Housing Authority member Brenda Williams accused Orkin last month of failing to get the pests under control.
After the late December meeting, Orkin came in with weekly treatments of the entire Bushkill House building.
“I am very pleased to report that I did not see any roaches in sight,” Thomas said at the meeting on Tuesday, January 17.
“There were some badly infested apartments” at Bushkill House, Tay said. Orkin also treated the agency’s Walter House and Harlan House, where roaches were not as plentiful but still needed to be eliminated, he said.
He recommended that the housing authority allow a thorough cleaning of Bushkill House’s garbage chute to deter roaches. He also recommended monthly treatments instead of the housing authority’s cycle of every three months. The agency’s executive director, Tyler Martin, said he would do whatever it takes to eliminate pests.
“We spared no expense with them,” he said.
Tay said he wants to get more serious about eliminating bugs. Bugs have appeared in four apartments at Bushkill House in the past month. They have also been spotted at Walter House and Harlan House, he said.
“This is a big problem with multiple buildings,” he said.
He wants permission to bring in a bug-sniffing dog that helped quell an infestation at Harlan House last spring.
Some tenants previously treated for pests won’t let Orkin back in, Tay said. Without further treatment, bed bugs will likely thrive. These residents tend to spread the bed bugs throughout the building.
“Bugs are notorious hitchhikers,” he said.
Martin said he is working with the city to enact regulations on residents who are reluctant to allow anti-pest spraying.
Tay said Orkin works with several housing authorities. The leases state that tenants must have their apartments treated by exterminators.
Housing Authority attorney Kent Herman said the agency does not want to escalate situations where tenants are feuding or evict anyone over the issue.
“Some people are suspicious or concerned or may have a disability that makes it difficult to process or fully understand their responsibilities. These are important considerations for management to address. It can create a difficult problem,” he said.
Resident Mindy Meyer is trying to set up a tenants’ association. She said she would do whatever it takes to get her neighbors to work with exterminators.
“It’s really hard to understand why people don’t want to get rid of bugs,” she said.
Orkin has scheduled a tenants meeting for January 26th at 1pm at the Bushkill House. They offer advice on how to clean their homes to ward off pests. It is hoped that some of the troubled tenants will attend the meeting, learn more about pests and learn to trust Orkin.
Tay said some renters are embarrassed to have bed bugs.
“Bugs aren’t their fault,” Tay said.
Martin said the housing authority will be distributing flyers to all residents of Bushkill House to let them know about the Orkin meeting. Orkin also plans to hold meetings at other Housing Authority properties.
Martin said he takes residents’ concerns seriously. He said an air quality test was carried out after concerns were raised by some residents of Bushkill House. The test did not show a high level of mold infestation in the building, although Thomas and Meyer were skeptical.
Martin said the housing authority will look at options to replace troublesome air vents in residents’ bathrooms.
He also discussed hiring a property manager to make daily tours of all housing authority properties. The property manager would keep an eye on the contractors working in the rooms to make sure they weren’t sloppy work or straying into occupied apartments. The manager would help prevent package theft. Thomas said she’s lost 14 of them since moving into the Bushkill House in 2021. She said a sign on her front door appeared to have been broken while she was visiting family over the holidays.
“We hope that (a property manager) will help solve some of these problems,” Martin said.
Meyer is collecting signatures from Bushkill House tenants in support of surveillance cameras in the hallways.
“People want security cameras in the public areas,” she said.
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Rudy Miller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.