A Grovetown couple has been battling bed bugs in their apartment. Neighbors worry the bugs could spread into their homes, too. (WRDW-TV / Aug. 22, 2011)
News 12 at 6 o'clock / Monday, Aug. 22, 2011
GROVETOWN, Ga. -- It makes you squirm just to think about it -- bed bugs infesting your mattress, couch and clothes.
One Grovetown couple says they've got bed bugs in their apartment, and they want to make sure whoever moves in next doesn't inherit the itch.
Mattresses and couches dot the landscape outside of Eagle Pointe Apartments on Old Whiskey Road. Tenants like Crystal Capehart say it's proof of a bed bug problem.
"I had the itches first, and then I broke out really bad here on my arm," she said. "I had like 20 bites. I didn't know what it was."
Jeremy Hess, who also lives in the apartment, said it's important to keep looking for the bugs if you feel a bite.
"That's what I did, and this is what I found," he said, holding up a container with four bed bugs inside.
Capehart and Hess say the bed bugs first appeared five months ago and changed their entire lifestyle.
"We have to vacuum our bed before we go to bed. You have to vacuum the couch before you go to sit on it," Hess said. "If you don't get that, you'll get tiny little eggs."
He said the landlord gave them bug sprays and bug bombs to try, but they haven't eradicated with problem. Now they're starting over by moving to a new place with new furniture.
"We've already gotten rid of our couch, we're thinking about getting rid of the bed," Capehart said. "But this is costing us money."
Apartment manager Cathy Greenhill says it's costing her plenty of money, too. She showed News 12 various receipts for about $300 in pest control and bed bug sprays ordered six different times in July alone.
"We were made aware of a problem with bugs. It has been treated more than once and also all adjacent rooms," said Greenhill in a statement. "We will continue to be aggressive in handling this matter. We gratefully appreciate when tenants let us know promptly of any problems, and we will do whatever necessary to take care of the problem."
Hess and Capehart admit the bugs aren't the only reason they are leaving their apartment but say it's a major factor. Greenhill says Eagle Pointe was not going to renew their lease for another year regardless of the bug situation.
Neighbors are worried the bed bugs could spread. Connie Jamison lives upstairs and worries.
"Now they're in the vent work," Jamison said. "Ordinarily, it's only been first floor tenants but I'm wary."
She says it's not uncommon for her neighbors to toss out furniture she says is infested.
"You're trying to figure out, man, that couch looks OK -- why is it out here?"
She's worried people in the community will pick up the furniture believing it's a donation.
"And nobody's telling you it's full of bugs!"
Jamison and her neighbors are hoping they can wipe out the bugs before the bugs wipe out any more furniture.
Capehart and Hess say the problem has already spread to other apartments, too, but their landlord says she's only gotten the one report.
Most experts say you've got to bring in a pest control company to get rid of bed bugs. They advise you to save any bugs you do catch so they know what they're dealing with. It's not easy, but furniture or clothes can be salvaged if you get it treated with very hot steam and water.