Residents at a west Harris County apartment complex battling bed bug infestation

January 30, 2013 8:22:05 PM PST
Residents in a west Harris County apartment complex are having trouble sleeping because of a bed-bug infestation.

Residents at the Windemere apartment complex are stressing over two wars they have on their hands: fighting the battle of the bed bugs and the battle over who's paying for exterminating bills.

Zachary Risher says he never had a bed bug problem until a neighbor did.

"To the right of me, they were treating, doing the heat treatment for bed bugs," Risher said.

Two weeks later, Richer's other neighbor was treated. And then...

"I woke up one morning, bed bugs all over my mattress," he said.

Richer's not the only one. According to management, 21 heat treatments and six conventional treatments have been performed in the past 12 months at the Windemere Apartments.

Management tells us heat treatments do not drive bed bugs from one apartment into adjacent units. But integrated pest management specialist Dr. Paul Nester says they, in fact, can move.

"You can do a very nice treatment within an apartment, let's say, but some of those outlying bedbugs can move over to other apartments," Nester said.

Nester says bed bugs can even live inside walls and make their way through small cracks and crevasses, affecting neighboring apartments.

So when it comes to paying for treatments, who's responsible for paying that bill?

"There is an addendum basically which tries to clarify for both sides who's responsible for bed bugs," said Andy Teas with the Houston Apartment Association.

Teas says it's up to the individual property to require renters to sign the addendum. In most cases, it passes exterminating cost responsibilities onto the tenant.

Windemere Apartments tells us their residents are required to sign a bed bug addendum.

As for Risher, he's hoping the apartment complex takes care of his bed bug problem soon. Even though he signed the addendum, he doesn't want to be responsible for treatment costs because he believes the bed bugs did migrate from neighboring apartments.

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