Local News

Bed bug infestation worries Smithfield woman

Posted October 4, 2012

— The resident of a Smithfield apartment community says her home is infested with bed bugs and that no one told her about the problem when she moved in three months ago.

"It's getting to the point, where I just want out," said Elga Justiniano, who lives in the Woodall Heights community, which is run by the Smithfield Housing Authority.

She says she began noticing the insects after moving into her apartment in June. Since then, she says, she has had to throw away her mattress, and she is afraid to visit people out of fear she might spread them.

Justiniano says she has complained to the Housing Authority, but the bugs keep coming back.

Then, she learned that she was not alone.

Her next-door neighbor also had his place treated recently for the same problem.

She also learned that her home had been treated before she moved in.

"If you knew this was a problem, why move people in?" Justiniano said.

The Housing Authority's director, Warren Grimes, says apartments with bed bug problems are not rented until they are treated and certified free of pests.

That is what happened with Justiniano's apartment, he said.

Grimes also says that, of the 205 units, about 10 have been treated for bed bugs this year.

Still, Justiniano says she's had enough.

"I'm tired of (washing) my clothes every day. I've got to live in bags," she said.

Grimes says her apartment was treated as recently as Monday and that it will continue to be treated until the problem is fixed.


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  • canturnfarm Oct 11, 2012

    What people need to realize is bed bugs are to people as fleas are to a dog. They are not attracted to filthy conditions like roaches, they are attracted to human blood. They can be (and are) transported on the human body. If tenants visit other tenants that have bed bugs, they can (and will) bring them to their own home. If tenants allow other tenants that have bed bugs to visit them, they will leave bed bugs in their apartment. Landlords can treat apartments over and over again but if tenants keep bringing them in or allowing tenants that have bed bugs to visit, they will continue to have a problem. Again, bed bugs are to people as fleas are to dogs. Also, if Justiniano keeps unworn clothes in SEALED bags, she does not have to continually wash them. Just keep enough clothes out until she is certified free of bed bugs for at least a month, then open the sealed bags. Landlords alone cannot fix the problem, tenants need to help.

  • awood2 Oct 5, 2012

    Tme to MOVE!

  • sunshineonmyshoulder Oct 5, 2012

    Call 5 On Your Side...but make sure your rent is paid up.

  • knnyblck Oct 5, 2012

    This is not the only problem Smithfield Housing has. Fridgerators that partially stay cold-freezer doesnt freeze your food--when you call the office to have this looked at they DO NOTHING but ask to borrow your blow dryer to unfreeze the back of the unit. You call to have your wall looked at because it is growing mildew and the plaster is crumbling-they come take a look and just throw more plaster on top of the MILDEW and say its fixed-the list goes on and on. They have an employee that uses this job to harrass women when this employee comes into the apartment to do any work. YES this is housing but no one should be made to feel less than just because they have to live in government houseing. Since this director has taken over Smithfield Housing the quality of these apartments (not the same qulaity as you local Howard Johnston, but somewhat decent) has really gone down hill. They have full time maintenence employees BUT CONTRACT most of the work to other companies. Mr. Grimes definet

  • superman Oct 5, 2012

    joycee488 Obviiously you dont own property and rent it out. You be surprised at the excuses they come up when they dont pay the rent. Having an exterminator come in after the person leaves is usually a part of getting the place ready for the next occupant. It may or may not be necessary. It is much easier and more effective to spray when the place is empty of furniture etc. Your second sentence says it all!

  • joycee488 Oct 4, 2012

    I doubt if she is making "bed bugs"up because she did not pay her rent. Landlords are required to fix the problem and if they can't fix it they cannot hold her to her lease.

  • meeper Oct 4, 2012

    Would anyone be interested in guessing where all of the bed bugs are coming from? Here's a hint.....the same place as Whooping Cough, mumps, and all of the diseases that have made a comeback

  • superman Oct 4, 2012

    If she moves she is likely to take them with her. Wonder if she has her rent paid. Some people make up excuses to move without paying rent.