LINCOLN – A bed bug infestation that has been increasing at Lincoln Manor for more than a year has affected the quality of life of the seniors living there, residents told The News on Tuesday.
Lincoln Manor in Lincoln is a senior citizen residential building that accepts low-income federal housing grants. The apartments were built in 1985 and are currently managed by Prime Properties Management in Shelby Township.
Bed bugs are tiny insects that feed on human blood, multiply quickly, and are extremely difficult to eradicate, according to WebMD. Bites can cause itching and sweating.
At Lincoln Manor, an exterminator could get the bed bugs cleared, only to have the insects appear in another apartment shortly after, residents said. The infestation has forced residents to replace furniture and other costs, and excluded them from service for seniors.
Resident Ron Williams first noticed bed bugs in his apartment about three or four weeks after he moved in last fall. When he reported the bugs to management, he was told that bed bugs were a problem in northeast Michigan and a pest control company was shut down.
Williams said the exterminators only targeted his bedroom and the back of his lounge chair, not the entire apartment or hallway as he expected. He doesn’t think spraying an apartment is enough to treat the building’s bed bug problem.
“Prime tells me it’s terribly expensive to do” he said. “Well, I understand, but why are you paying for something that doesn’t do any good? It seems to me that more could be done. “
Some of his neighbors also had bed bugs in their homes.
Barb Corona, chief operations officer at Prime Properties, said the company contacts a pest control company if a renter tells them about bed bugs.
“As long as the tenant prepares the apartment as directed before the pest control comes out, it should do what they treat it with.” She said. “Then come back in three weeks to see what’s going on.”
Lincoln Manor residents who had bed bugs in their homes have often removed and replaced their furniture at their own expense and foregoing services they receive from the Alcona County Commission on Aging.
“I had a month and a half without any services” Resident William Franklin said. “Then I had to let someone come in to take out my furniture.”
Williams has since bought a mattress cover and also had to forego the cleaning services of the district’s age committee.
Lenny Avery, the Commission’s Executive Director on Aging, said the agency’s policy is to suspend services until the agency is notified that the infestation has been dealt with.
He said the agency would have to discontinue in-home services for Lincoln Manor residents on several occasions. These services could include assisting the elderly with meals and medication, as well as assisting with toilet or bathing.
“We have to wait to have an ‘everything is fine” report from the facility. Basically it says that there are no bed bugs and that they have provided services and that they have cleared the area before we put the workers back in allowed to.” he said.
Avery said seniors cannot afford to suspend their services.
Residents who report bed bug infestations to management will be informed that they will not be able to leave their homes until treatment is complete.
“I couldn’t do anything” Resident Bob Moody said. “I had to stay right in my room. My niece had to bring me things. “
According to Corona, residents whose apartments are being treated for bed bugs are not allowed to go into public areas that are currently closed due to the pandemic, but can still do their laundry.
Both Williams and Franklin said they haven’t seen bed bugs since treating their apartments, but Williams fears they might return to his apartment.
Other residents are also concerned that bed bugs could spread to their homes.
Resident Jorgia Jones, who lives in a different hallway of the apartment, had no bed bugs in her apartment, but fears she might get them. She said it appears they are treating the bed bugs in an apartment and in about a month someone else will get them.
“It scares us all” Said Jones. “We saw her on the floor in the laundry room.”
News photo of Crystal Nelson Lincoln Manor Apartments is pictured here on Tuesday. News Photo by Crystal Nelson A piece of furniture lies by the dumpster at Lincoln Manor in Lincoln. News photo of Crystal Nelson Ron Williams, a Lincoln Manor resident, is featured in his apartment in this August 2020 news archive photo.
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