Brackenridge high-rise infested with bed bugs

Plagued by red, itching skin for days, Trudy Smith said, that when a doctor examined her, it was considered an allergic rash.

But last weekend the Brackenridge high-rise resident said she found the source when she awoke in the middle of the night. It was what she feared: a bed-bug infestation.

Sunday morning, I woke up and something told me to turn the light on, Smith, 54, said. I did and there they were all over the place. It was disgusting.

Several Brackenridge high-rise residents claim there is a bedbug problem at the high-rise on at least two floors: the second, where Smith lives, and the third floor where Laruth Stewart lives. The women claim it started in the spring and believe the Allegheny County Housing Authority has been less than responsive to the problem, which has resulted in the bugs spreading and causing embarrassment for residents.

I'm not a dirty person, Smith said angrily.

There's three people on the floor now who have them and I'm afraid I'm going to be next, Stewart said.

The bugs are flat, brown in color and about the size of an apple seed, according to the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) website. The bugs hide in mattresses, box springs, in furniture and even in electrical receptacles. They feed on humans by biting them and sucking blood and causing small red bite marks to appear and the skin to itch, but they are not known to cause diseases, according to the EPA site.Frank Aggazio, director of the Allegheny County Housing Authority, which owns the high-rise, confirmed that there have been bed bugs found there. He said the authority has responded.

The information that I have is that we Terminex-treated apartments 302 and 303 last Friday, and they're coming back for a follow-up treatment, Aggazio said. We just got a call about apartment 204 so we'll be doing that one, also,Smith said. Although an exterminator showed up Wednesday, no work was done to get rid of the insects.

Guillermo Cole, spokesman for the Allegheny County Health Department, said the department was contacted by a resident complaining about bed bugs.

We did send management a pre-inspection notice and let them know we had a complaint and we will be looking into it, Cole said. We did receive another complaint earlier in the year in the February-March-April time frame and we did go out but our inspector, who was there on more than one occasion, did not find any bed bugs.

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Brackenridge high-rise infested with bed bugs

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