Niles Daily Star
By John Eby
Published 7:24pm Tuesday, July 31, 2012
A one-day heat treatment to eradicate bed bugs began Tuesday morning at Niles Housing Commission’s Gateway Plaza, 251 Cass St.
The treatment “could last forever, depending on people,” Rose’s Dan Najacht said. “The shock is over, and people have learned to accept the fact that this is part of life right now. Bed bugs in the United States took a downturn in the ’50s. Experts don’t know why. With international travel, whether Canada, the Middle East or Europe, they got reintroduced and it’s taken off again.”
“It was here when I got here.,” said Phillip Thurston, who has been the executive director at the Plaza since April. “My understanding is it was first discovered last fall and has been a continuing problem since that has not been eradicated. This is a tough critter and a national problem, but not just public housing. Educating tenants is the biggest thing. They seem earnest. They’ve got to pay attention to what they bring in to help us and to help each other because bed bugs are hitchhikers.”
Thurston said the seven-floor complex contains 130 units, of which a sweep by bed bug-sniffing dogs determined about 20 are infested.
“After treatment (120 to 140 degrees for four to six hours), we’re going to sit down and look at what measures make sense going forward,” said Najacht, who has been in the extermination business for 17 years.
Rose, the oldest pest management company in America, was founded in 1860.
“We may do canine sweeps as a preventive to catch apartments as they come along so they can’t spread. Our goal is to get rid of them entirely in this high-rise community. The heat will kill adults and eggs. It’s a great treatment.”
There have been three meetings with tenants to inform them of things they need to do and be aware of about bed bugs.
“We’re trying to educate tenants in a positive way,” Thurston said. “The housing board that governs the agency is on board with this. We have this and 50 scattered-site houses, which don’t have this problem. We’re going to do what we can to eliminate this issue here.”
Brian, who has lived at Gateway Plaza since March 2010, says he has never had an issue with bed bugs.
“It’s been an ongoing issue for over a year, but this new administrator we’ve got now is going about as fast as he can,” he said. “He kind of fell into the middle of it. We may not like the answers we’ve gotten or we might want it taken care of tomorrow, but they’ve not been unresponsive, and these things take time in a big building like this. It’s getting taken care of and there are still plenty of people trying to get in.
“We were taught whenever there is an issue of cross-contamination, you lock down and don’t take in anyone new until the whole facility is clean,” said Brian, who has worked 20 years as an orderly. “That’s the one criticism I have. They should stop rentals and not let anyone move in until it’s taken care of.”
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