Exterminators Brought in After Bed Bugs Found in Senior Housing
The Salem Housing Authority is working to exterminate an infestation of bed bugs at the Morency and Dalton senior apartments; Board of Health is handling other complaints.
An infestation of bed bugs at two senior housing apartment buildings in Salem is forcing the Salem Housing Authority (SHA) to hire an extermination company to deal with the problem.
Residents of the Morency and Dalton apartment buildings on Bridge Street reported bed bugs a few weeks ago after a resident went to a doctor to complain about the bites, according to Dalton resident Kathleen Burke.
Burke, who sits on the board of the Massachusetts Alliance of HUD Tenants, said she has had contact and meetings with the housing authority director, Carol MacGown.
MacGown could not be reached immediately for comment on Tuesday. Two messages were left at her office by Salem Patch.
Bug-sniffing dogs were brought in by the housing authority last week, Burke said.
"It was a slow start, but now they're really stepping up to the plate," Burke said.
Burke said she has been "vigilant" about keeping the bed bugs out of her own apartment, but others have not been so lucky. Many are worried.
"We're dealing with an elderly population," Burke said. "Some people have family and some don't. I would say to the general public, don't alienate yourself from the people who live here. Some of them are very old and it's traumatizing to them."
Burke said she saw a report on TV about an infestation in Melrose where the housing authority brought in a heat-treatment company, and brought it to the attention of the Salem Housing Authority.
David Greenbaum, acting health agent for the Salem Board of Health, said his department had received a few complaints from residents of the Morency and Dalton buildings.
Other apartment buildings in the city may also have bed bugs, Greenbaum said.
By law, the landlords must take care of at their own expense, he said.
"They should contact us and we'll do an inspection," Greenbaum said. "If we do find (bed bugs), we'll do an order for the landlord to exterminate them."