Bed bugs biting at local public housing - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Bed bugs biting at local public housing

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Officials with Lake Charles Housing Authority say they've had probably 50 cases of bed bugs at various facilities this year.

They say reporting the problem is key to get rid of the pests. A lot of people joke about bed bugs but they are nothing to laugh about if you get them.

"It was horrible when they say don't let the bed bugs bite. Don't let the bed bugs bite," said Marie who lives in public housing. Besides the misery of the bites, they also cause sleepless nights as victims battle to get rid of them.

We agreed not to reveal Marie's identity since there's a stigma attached to bed bugs.

"Once the bed gets warm, the temperature gets warm, they bite you in your sleep," she said.

By carefully following instructions from the exterminator, she was able to get rid of the problem within a month or so.

"Wash it in hot water. You dry it on high heat. And then you leave it wrapped for a couple of weeks until you don't see them anymore and then you can unwrap it," she said.

Ben Taylor is the director of the Lake Charles Housing Authority. He said first and foremost, people living in housing complexes should report the problem.

"It can spread and we want to stop that spreading. Soon as we find out, we immediately treat. They have to pull all their bedding and wash it and dry it at high temperature," said Taylor.

He said everything in one's apartment must be washed in hot water and dried at a high temp. And then pesticide is applied. One way to prevent bed bugs is to refuse second-hand mattresses and sofas.

"We come in and treat the unit and that takes care of it. The problem is a lot of our clients will get used furniture. And used furniture is one of the biggest carriers of bed bugs," said Taylor.

Marie said bed bugs are hard to spot, but she watches for them.

"To avoid having it check your headboards, watch your mattresses and in the creases, and wash your sheets on a regular basis," she said.

And while they're hard to get rid of, bed bugs are easy to pick up.

"You can get them, go buy a new pair of jeans and they'll be in the jeans," said Marie.

And of course, bed bugs are a problem in hotels, hospitals, even on airplanes. Local resident, Laura Lanza, travels constantly for her work. So, she carries little bed bug detectors she purchases from a travel website.

You put the tester between the mattress and box springs and they attract the bugs, if they are there.

"Leave it in the crevice between the mattress and the box springs, at the head, because that's where the bed bugs usually are in the seams. And usually within a couple of hours if there's an infestation, one will show up. So then what do you do? Then you notify the manager of the hotel and you check out," said Lanza.
Lanza said the test kits she uses costs only a few dollars, though there are a wide range of products available aimed at detecting bed bugs.

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