Mattress bugs take over public housing advanced in Charleston

Bed bugs take over public housing complex in Charleston

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — We’ve all heard the “don’t let the bed bugs bite” nursery rhyme, but what happens when that becomes your reality?

For Charleston-Kalawha Housing residents like Chad Robinson, bed bugs are real and they’ve taken over his own home.

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“They jump on you and stay on you,” said Robinson, who lives in Carrol Terrace. “They attack you. They’re preying on you, and besides, they’re sucking your blood and they won’t stop.”

Robinson said he went to the hospital after a bed bug burrowed into his leg. Now he’s urging management to do something to permanently quell the problem.

“We have a number of cases of bed bugs in our units from time to time that we need to address,” Charleston-Kalawha Housing chief operations officer Jeff Knight said. “So we’re trying to do our best, but we found out about it before we could deal with it.”

Knight says they see most problems in their high-rise apartments like Carroll Terrace on Kanawha Boulevard.

“In our lease, we require the family to let us know so we can treat them because unfortunately bed bugs can travel from unit to unit if not treated quickly,” he said.

Carroll Terrace residents said that wasn’t good enough.

“It was an ongoing problem,” said Melissa Cagle, a resident of Carroll Terrace. “In an apartment where I was here, I was sprayed at least three times.”

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Cagle said she’s lived there for 13 years, and no matter how often they spray, it never gets better. She said there was only one solution.

“You have to get rid of furniture because spraying isn’t good enough, and it’s really awful,” Cagle said. “The best thing to do is tear down the building and rebuild it.”

Other local residents, with nowhere else to go, wish for something less drastic.

“I just wish and pray that we can work out the solution because staying here scares me and this is the only place I can stay,” Robinson said.

Knight said they already have a bed bug removal protocol that requires residents to remove all of their belongings from their home before they can be inspected and treated.