Bed bugs invade Hattiesburg home

Published: Jul. 9, 2012 at 9:22 PM CDT
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HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Cicely Kennedy's home has been turned upside down.

"I've been itching and scratching and I would find bugs here and there but I never did know what they was," Kennedy said.

It turns out, they were bed bugs.

"We were in the bed, and I got up and they were everywhere, all over the pillow, the sheets, the mattress, my baby, everything." Kennedy says she hasn't stayed at any hotels or bought any new furniture lately, but weeks after moving into Sheers Road Apartments, the bugs were everywhere.

"I've never even seen these bugs," said Kennedy, whose arms are covered with little bites from the pests. She says since moving in, two neighbors have told her the tenant before her had bed bugs. But complex manager Shellie Carnley said there have been other cases in the complex reported to management.

Kennedy said complex manager Shellie Carnley refused to pay for extermination.

"We didn't bring the bed bugs, she did," Carnley said when approached outside the apartment's management offices Monday morning.

Hours after we talked to Carnley and the maintenance man, the two arrived at Kennedy's apartment unannounced - exterminating. Kennedy found out only when she got a call from a neighbor saying two people were entering her apartment with plastic suits on a spray cans. Carnley and the maintenance man were on their way out when she arrived and approached them.

"They was being really disrespectful and I asked them what was he doing here and he told me he was taking care of business, that was it," said Kennedy of the encounter.

Seven on your side knocked on approximately 10 doors and didn't find anyone else living there that had had an infestation, but some residents approached said it's unlikely that this was the only one.

"There is something going on though, we've been seeing a lot of mattresses, one day we saw six of them," said one resident.

A resident in a neighboring apartment said over the phone that he also had bed bugs but had been attempting to manage the pests himself.

Kennedy wants her security deposit refunded and to move out, saying she moved into an unlivable space. And she says non-professional exterminators spraying only her apartment, not the building is not good enough.

"[Bed bugs] crawl up into the underside of the box springs or a chest of drawers and they hide, so you have to go into those areas and turn the beds over and it takes a couple of people to inspect and treat a place," said Andy Taylor of Havard Pest Control. "So it's very time consuming or you don't do a very good job at all."

Sheers Road Apartments management issued a statement on the infestation saying: 'We have done everything in our power to resolve the tenants pest issues.'