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This photo was given to ABC News 4. The provider said it shows furniture discarded by local firefighters as the result of a bed bug infestation.

According to firefighters, three Charleston County fire stations are infested with bed bugs. On Monday, a retired firefighter, Captain Joe Johnston spoke on behalf of others who won't speak up out of fear of retaliation.

Johnston said its been going on for a couple months and adds several firefighters have carried bed bugs from work to home. Now there's question if the situation is being handled properly.

He said he became alarmed when text messages and pictures started coming through. The pictures showed piles of infested office furniture outside Fire Stations 20, 13, and seven.

"It's a major problem, it's neglect is what it is, this is something you can manage very easily, Johnston said.

Its an issue the firefighters said was ignored by their interim fire chief.

"The crews are actually getting eaten alive, he said. They're taking it home and nobody is showing or expressing they care. Where do you go?"

For those at station seven, they go outside where there's working tents and showers. But with no signs of extermination, Johnston said it's only a matter of time before the pests follow. He said he and his family have been through a bed bug infestation before.

"If you haven't experienced it, you don't know what you're up against, Johnston said. "I know what they're up against, I know the politics of it, I know how it is. I want to be able to help them get the help they need and deserve."

In a statement Monday night, the Charleston Fire Department confirmed an infestation at three stations.

Once the problem was identified at Station 20 the firefighters were relocated to Station 18 while a professional contractor proceeded with the treatment, inspection, and cleaning of the station utilizing a chemical treatment process. Upon completion of the process, crews returned to the station, but still observed signs of infestation. Crews were again relocated as the professional contractor applied another treatment. Information was distributed to the department outlining recommended preventive measures to reduce the spread of the pests.

Bedbugs were reported at Station 13 and then Station 7 this past week. A specially trained K-9 that detects bedbugs was brought in to search the buildings and alerted on a few of the mattresses and sofas at both stations. The items were removed from the station for disposal at Station 7 and some of the items were removed from Station 13. Crew concerns halted further furniture removal at Station 13 until the affected living areas can be treated.

The crews from both stations were relocated to two air-conditioned Wester Shelters, temporary structures frequently used by urban search and rescue teams and wildland fire teams for crew operations. The tents have been erected outside of Station 13 along with a portable shower and toilet facility to reduce the impact on emergency services coverage in the area. The interior kitchen space was isolated from the impacted living spaces based on recommendations from a professional pest control manager and the bedbug K-9 handler to provide the crews with access to essential laundry facilities, stove and refrigeration.

During this period, the CFD has taken several steps to address the problem, including the hiring of a professional pest control company to treat Station 20, shifting mitigation strategy to heat treatment to address employee concerns, and issuing updates that reinforce best practices to reduce the likelihood of spread to other stations or firefighter's homes. In addition, Interim Chief John Tippett has directed all city fire stations be inspected by the specially trained K9 to ensure that they are free of bedbugs or identified rapidly for mitigation. One additional station (Fire Station 19) was inspected based on a concern, but found to be free of the problem. Additionally, the department is working with Charleston Housing Authority to obtain use of their heating units to apply to the affected stations. Due to the holiday weekend the department was unable to deploy the equipment through the housing authority and had to take measures with temporary housing in order to ensure we maintained protection of the residents in the area.

The statement also said no members have advised the Safety Officer of any reports of bed bugs beyond these stations or at their homes. Interim Fire Chief Tippett said they're committed to resolving the issue as quickly as possible.

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The Cottages of Martinsburg where many residents are dealing with bed bug problems that are costing thousands of dollars.

MARTINSBURG Several residents at the Cottages of Martinsburg, located at 17 Cottage Road, have filed complaints with management and the West Virginia Attorney Generals Office about bed bug problems.

As many residents struggle to pay the rent, they said they find themselves with the additional cost of treating the bed bug problem that many feel is the responsibility of the landlord. They also must replace their furniture. For some residents, the cost of this problem has been in the thousands.

They said they are also unable to see any paperwork or billing from Ehrlich, the pest control company that is doing extermination work on the property. Some bills from management are as high as $1,750. The residents have asked Ehrlich for a copy of the invoice, or at least the work that has been done in their homes. Ehrlich has claimed they can only provide that information to the management at the Cottages of Martinsburg.

Bed bug-bitten children have been sent home from school as parents struggle to pay the high extermination fees and, in some cases, find ways to independently end the bedbug problem in their homes. Management has claimed that the residents have brought the bedbugs in, and therefore are responsible for the extermination bill.

Resident Branden Parks found bed bugs soon after moving into her home. Her child had recently been to the doctor for a wellness check just days prior to moving in. There was no sign of any bed bug bites during that medical examination.

I signed my lease Feb 17. I did not move my belongings in until the weekend of the 25. I went out of town for work on the 27. I did not get home until (March) 2. The 2 was me and my childrens first night (at their new address), Parks said.

He had just had a wellness check and it specifically shows he had no skin abrasions on him. That should prove I did not have bed bugs before this. She (property manager Nadine Kennedy) said to me, That doesnt prove anything. I also have my security deposit receipt that shows I didnt have bed bugs from my prior place either.

Resident Joy Cole-Jones moved into the cottages in April 2012. In August 2016, she saw bedbugs in her home.

I told them right away, and they sent somebody in a couple of days later Ehrlich to inspect. Well, they didnt find nothing, Cole-Jones said.

She killed and bagged a bed bug and took it to management. Ehrlich was called in by management.

They came about two and a half weeks later. It took a long time, I thought. They found, I think they said, one dead one, Cole-Jones said. They said, Your case is a mild case so you wont need the heat treatment. You just need the spray, and well do that three times, a week apart, and then well come back and look again. While that went on, I had to do everything they tell you bag up everything, take the pictures off the walls. After the third treatment, I had got rid of my furniture in the bedroom and me and my husband moved out to the living room.

But that treatment did not fix her problem.

After the third treatment they said, You should be okay, and so I went out and got new bedroom (furniture). Well, that same night I felt something. I turned over and there was one right there and I said, Oh my God, how can I have a mild infestation after you did three treatments and said I was clear and theyre still in here? And I did everything you told me to do and I am taking every precaution that I can,' Cole-Jones said.

Kimberly Sheer found out she had bed bugs from her childrens school.

I got notifications from the school and thats when I brought it to Nadines attention, and she said, Well, well get somebody out to look at your apartment, because I didnt know what bed bugs looked like, Sheer said. I never had any type of infestation of any type of bug in my life.

Like other residents, Sheer had to remove all her furniture.

I had to get rid of everything, all my beds, everything. I had to replace all my furniture. I had brand new furniture delivered on the day we moved in there, Sheer said.

Sallie Grant is a widow and lives alone. She also had to dispose of furniture, but one piece had great sentimental value.

I had to get rid of a sofa that was given to me by my mother, Grant said.

To prepare for treatment is time-consuming. The residents said it can be a hardship.

I have to empty all these closets and have them ready by Monday for Ehrlich to come in, and quite honestly, I dont trust them, Grant said. They never came back to inspect me after the first treatment. Its crazy. Nobody, nobody should have to live like this.

Residents are following every precaution they can to keep the bed bugs out.

When I come in from work, Im at the door stripping, putting my clothes in bags, hopping in the shower. As soon as I get out, theyre in the dryer getting heat to keep it from happening, Cole-Jones said. Nobody is coming to my house. There was too many other cases to say my family bought them in there.

Not being able to speak with the exterminator or see any invoice or other paperwork has many residents upset and confused.

They wont give it to you and they wont talk to you, and youre the resident. I called them and I tried to ask questions, and they told me they couldnt talk to me, they could only talk to the landlord, Cole-Jones said. So, I called Nadine and she said, Well, they said you was in the clear, and that was it, so I said, Well, Im not taking no chances because I know that its an infestation. I was in there crying. I said we are not bringing them in.

U.S. Residential Group, a third-party property management company headquartered in Dallas, Texas, manages the Cottages of Martinsburg.

I wasnt aware that anybody ever asked for that information, said Anne Beard, regional property manager at U.S. Residential Group.

As word spread through the community about different amounts for which others were being billed, neighbors began restricting their children from playing with their friends next door. Many said they struggled just to make their bills and felt they would not be able to afford to exterminate. Some just dealt with the bed bugs, or tried treating the problem themselves. Others moved away.

Theyre not admitting to it, and not only that, some of them have moved out and just didnt tell because they knew they were going to be charged, Cole-Jones said.

Sheer said she has been charged $1,700.

We are making payments. Weve paid at least over $1,100, said Sheer, who has moved out of the Cottages. (After moving out,) the owners contacted us and asked for payment.

Other residents have been charged different amounts.

She told me $1,500, Parks said about the amount that management charged her. After filing her complaint with the Attorney Generals Office, the amount fell to $500. Now Parks spends evenings after work meeting with other residents and has seen a pattern of exterminations and billing. The working, single mother of two children has retained a lawyer. She said she knows of 15 neighbors that, Has them (bed bugs) or has had them.

Many residents said they dont believe they have brought the bedbugs in and should not be held liable for the extermination bill.

Now your kids are getting bitten, and you call Nadine and say, I think I have bed bugs, and they say, Its your fault, you brought them here,' Parks said.

I live in a two bedroom apartment. I have never in my 75 years ever (had them). I moved here, I got bed bugs, Grant said.

The Journal acquired six consumer complaints that were filed with the West Virginia Attorney General. The AGs office stated, The Attorney Generals Consumer Protection Division, as of today, has received a total of nine complaints filed against The Cottages in 2017.

Under most circumstances, the law does not permit the Attorney General to disclose the existence or absence of any investigation, said Curtis Johnson, press secretary for West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morriseys Office.

According to a statement from the Attorney Generals office in February, The landlord is responsible for maintaining habitable housing and cannot pass that responsibility onto the tenant under West Virginia law. Also, requiring tenants to pay extermination fees without proof the tenant caused the infestation violates the states Consumer Credit and Protection Act.

U.S. Residential Group has agreed to allow Parks out of her lease.

You gave me an uninhabitable home. My home is not habitable for living. I moved into this problem, Parks said.

I consider the issues with her resolved. We have been willing to pay everything, we have been cooperative with her, trying to make her happy. To be honest with you, we are trying to take care of all the residents at this point and resolve this situation, Beard said.

As for the other residents, Beard said they are not being charged except for tenants in the past.

There are some that are paying for it from last year. We have changed policy and we are no longer charging; we are paying for it, Beard said.

The Better Business Bureau in Texas, where U.S. Residential Group is headquartered, has an open file on the company.

We do currently have 34 complaints filed against the business. The most important part is there are 22 complaints that arent answered. So its not just that they have complaints, but out of the 34, 22 of them are unanswered, said Phylissa Clark, vice president of public relations and communication at the Better Business Bureau serving North Central Texas. They havent responded to the customer or the Better Business Bureau. Of the ones left, three of them are unresolved; the consumer indicated that they werent satisfied with the result. They currently have an F-rating. We have been reporting on them since 2011; thats how long weve been monitoring the company.

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Mattress Cleaning - Dust Mites Removal System - Keeping your home clean is definitely a task. When bed bugs invade your home, the task can become especially difficult, and can often result in furniture and other beloved items having to be thrown out to ensure that the pests do not return. Heavy steam cleaning is one of the very most effective ways to remove dust, dirt and scent out of your home. It can be an effective means for killing bed bugs also.

The very best and the simplest way of stopping a bed bug outbreak according to researchers and experts is to keep your comforter sets very clean and tidy. Seems very obvious doesn't it? But this is where the catch is. The majority of us think of cleaning and preserving our bed linen as a daily habit task tended to only one time we awaken and before we crash in. We do not add the value necessary in keeping bed linens truly "clean" and hygienic.

The MattressKleen system is your healthy solution as it is non and dried toxic. The MattressKleen Process uses world's best portable equipment that vibrates and pulsates the mattress allowing powerful vacuum extraction to eliminate dead skin, mites and their excrement which is what we respond to. Simultaneously, UVC lamps can kill pathogen, bacteria, mould spores and living microorganisms. The complete cleaning system provided by MattressKleen is the secure and efficient way of interacting with dust mites problems.

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Pest Control Around The House

Post date: May 5th, 2017

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Pest Control Around The House

This is a photo with generic pest control logos on it. They include signs for no wasps, rodents or mice, ants, snakes, roaches, spiders, and bed bugs.

Want to use one of our images on your own site? That's great! We do ask that you please give credit for the image by including a link to

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No Pests Logo

Post date: May 5th, 2017

insightpest posted a photo:

No Pests Logo

This is a generic logo for no pests. Included in the illustration are snakes, spiders, roaches, mice, grasshoppers, bed bugs, and flying insects.

Want to use one of our images on your own site? That's great! We do ask that you please give credit for the image by including a link to

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SHAWNEE, Kan. - A mother says her daughter suffered a chemical burn on her face near her eyes from swimming at a pool at a metro hotel.

Caras trip from Manhattan, Kansas to Kansas City for her ninth birthday started out well.

The fun included Crown Centers LEGOLAND and Sea Life Aquarium.

She was still smiling as she was about to swim at the Ramada Inn on Shawnee Mission Parkway in Overland Park.

After she jumped in the pool, her mom April Casey noticed a maintenance man testing the water and putting in chemicals.

I didnt think that was safe with the kids and everything being in the pool so we got the kids out, April said.

When she pulled Cara out of the pool, she noticed Caras face was very red and her eyes were bloodshot.

So she took Cara to the hotel room to rinse her off.

Once we got her out of the shower, her face started blistering like right around her eyes, April said.

Emergency room doctors told April Cara suffered a chemical burn to her face and prescribed eye drops Cara is still using.

Yet when April informed the hotel desk clerk, she says he did nothing and kept the pool open.

As a mom, I wanted to go across on that counter, but I had to keep my composure, she said.

The 41 Action News Investigators went to the hotel looking for answers.

The desk clerk said she knew about Caras incident, but said any questions would have to be answered by a woman named Anna whos only there on Saturdays.

When the 41 Action News Investigators asked the clerk what happens when something goes wrong and Anna is not there, the clerk replied, It would be beyond me, it would go up the chain to the owner, I dont know.

Caras pool incident isnt the only issue April had with the hotel.

She took pictures of what she says is mold in various places as well as holes in the pool ceiling and a puddle of rainwater from a roof leak on the pool deck.

The 41 Action News Investigators also found violations from an April 13 inspection by the Kansas Department of Agriculture.

Those violations included one guest room with a suspected blood fecal trail on both headboards.

In the same room, the inspector also found a dead bed bug in the windowsideheadboard and a dead roach in a back open compartment of the mini fridge.

Other violations included mold and caked dirt build up in various places including vents and curtains.

There were no violations listed regarding the pool or pool roof.

When it comes down to your health and safety being atquestion, thats not okay, April said.

Wyndham Hotels owns the Ramada Inn franchise and enters into franchise agreements with hotel owners like the Shawnee Mission Parkway property.

Wyndham released a statement which says, Were deeply troubled by these allegations as they in no way reflect our brand values or the expectations we have of franchisees. Please know were treating this matter with the seriousness it deserves and investigating with the hotels owner.

April also filed a complaint with the Kansas Department of Agriculture based on her experience at the hotel.

A department spokeswoman tells the 41 Action News Investigators there will be a follow-up inspection of the hotel based on Aprils complaint.


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ATLANTA (WFLA/WNCN) Four North Carolina metro areas are included in Orkins most recent list of Top 50 Bed Bug Cities.

Raleigh-Durham, Charlotte, Asheville and Greensboro-High Point-Winston Salem all made the list this year.

Baltimore topped the pest control companys list this year, moving up nine spots since last year and beating out Chicago, which had held the top stop for several years.

Las Vegas, Portland, Salt Lake City and Greensboro-High Point Winston-Salem made their debut on the list this year.

The list ranks cities by the number of bed bug treatments Orkin serviced from Dec. 1, 2015 Nov. 30, 2016, and after an Orkin inspection verified bed bugs were present. The list includes both residential and commercial treatments.

Below are the cities that made the list. A citys increase or decrease from the previous years rankings is listed in parenthesis:

1. Baltimore (+9) 2. Washington, D.C. (+1) 3. Chicago (-2) 4. New York 5. Columbus, Ohio 6. Los Angeles (-4) 7. Detroit 8. Cincinnati 9. Philadelphia (-3) 10. San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose (+4) 11. Richmond-Petersburg, Va. (-2) 12. Raleigh-Durham, N.C. (-1) 13. Cleveland-Akron-Canton, Ohio (-1) 14. Indianapolis (+1) 15. Dallas-Ft. Worth (-2) 16. Atlanta (+3) 17. Houston 18. Buffalo, N.Y. (+2) 19. Charlotte, N.C. (-3) 20. Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News, Va. (+10) 21. Knoxville, Tenn. (+3) 22. Denver (-4) 23. Nashville, Tenn. (-1) 24. Pittsburgh (+5) 25. Greenville-Spartanburg, S.C.-Asheville, N.C. (-4) 26. Phoenix (-3) 27. Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek, Mich. (+5) 28. Boston (-3) 29. Milwaukee (-3) 30. Champaign-Springfield-Decatur, Ill. (+12) 31. Hartford-New Haven, Conn. (+3) 32. Dayton, Ohio (-4) 33. Omaha, Neb. (+3) 34. Seattle-Tacoma (-6) 35. Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla. (-4) 36. Charleston-Huntington, W.Va. (-1) 37. St. Louis (+3) 38. Cedar Rapids-Waterloo-Dubuque, Iowa (+3) 39. Myrtle Beach-Florence, S.C. (+11) 40. Syracuse, N.Y. (+6) 41. Louisville, Ky. (-2) 42. Greensboro-High Point-Winston Salem, N.C. 43. Lexington, Ky. (-10) 44. Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne, Fla. (-6) 45. Kansas City, Mo. (-1) 46. Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. (-3) 47. Salt Lake City, Utah 48. Honolulu, Hawaii 49. Las Vegas 50. Portland, Ore.

Bed bugs are not necessarily a sign of uncleanliness. They have been found in upscale homes and hotels, movie theaters, schools and on public transit.

Orkin recommends homeowners, tenants and travelers all over the world should take the following precautions to help prevent bed bugs:

At Home:

Inspect your home for signs of bed bugs regularly. Check locations where bed bugs hide during the day, including furniture, mattress seams and bed sheets, as well as behind baseboards, electrical outlets and picture frames. Decrease clutter around your home to make bed bug inspections and detection much easier. Inspect and quarantine all secondhand furniture before bringing it inside your home. Dry potentially infested bed linens, curtains and stuffed animals on the hottest temperature allowed for the fabric.

During travel, remember the acronym S.L.E.E.P to inspect for bed bugs:

Survey the hotel room for signs of an infestation. Look for red or brown spots on sheets.

Lift and look in bed bug hiding spots: the mattress, box spring, sheets and furniture, as well as behind baseboards, pictures and even torn wallpaper.

Elevate luggage on a rack away from the bed and wall. The safest places are in the bathroom or on counters.

Examine your luggage while repacking and once you return home from a trip.

Place all dryer-safe clothing from your luggage in the dryer for at least 15 minutes at the highest setting after you return home.

While bed bugs are not known to spread human diseases like many other pests and some people have no reaction to bed bug bites, others may experience itchy red welts and swelling.

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Bed Bug Symptoms – | Pestnet

Post date: April 28th, 2017

Bed Bug Symptoms

It may be hard to tell if you have bed bug bites or bites from another insect. Being aware of bed bug symptoms is the first place to start when diagnosing a bed bug problem. In general, bed bug bites will be red and generally have a darker red spot in the center. Bed bug bites can cause a very irritating itch. They will often form into a rash, made up of many small or raised bumps. These bumps will often appear in a line or as a cluster of dotsthis is because bed bugs tend to feed multiple times at the same location. Bed bug bites are also usually found on exposed parts of the body like the arms, legs, hands, neck and face.

Some of the first symptoms of bed bugs are blood spots on the bed, sheets and pillow case. Another telltale bed bug symptom is small black dots on sheets that resemble black pepper. This is bed bug poop. While they know how to hide, bed bugs may be seen moving about on the bed and other furniture between about 2 to 4 a.m. They may not be obvious to the eye at first, but you can spot the bed bugs through inspection. Bed bugs are flat are resemble a small dark apple seed.

Another bed bugs symptom may be that sleeping partners have completely different reactions to the bed bug bites. For example, one sleeping partner may have no reaction at all while the other may have an allergic reaction including hives, blisters or severe itching.

A doctor should be seen if you have had an allergic reaction or intense skin reaction to bed bug bites. Bed bug extermination is needed to eradicate a bed bug infestation (bed bugs will not leave on their own accord!)

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Post date: April 27th, 2017

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Sean Spicer to head FederalCommunications Commission (FCC) - White House

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