Bedbugs plague Plattsburgh apartment complex

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (WCAX) Pests popped up in a Plattsburgh apartment complex and now tenants are itching for answers. Our Kelly O'Brien spoke to the director of the Plattsburgh Housing Authority to find out how they battle bedbugs.

"It's so easy to get them and it's really difficult to get rid of them," said Mark Hamilton of the Plattsburgh Housing Authority.

Hamilton says bedbugs are not a new issue in Plattsburgh.

"We deal with probably in an approximate six to eight units a year that come up with bedbugs," Hamilton said.

But that doesn't mean they take the pest problem lightly.

"I've seen them in white suits looking for them," tenant Edward Bickford said.

"We inspect the unit above, the unit below and side to side," Hamilton said.

In this case, the bugs were found by a tenant July 3.

Bedbugs are small, bloodsucking insects that infest homes, particularly cloth or beds.

"So you can either see them directly or you'll see little spots that will be either blood stains or fecal matter that will be left from the bugs," Hamilton said.

The housing authority says there are two ways to treat an infestation: chemically or by heat. Hamilton said using chemicals can't guarantee ridding a home of bugs, so they choose the heat method.

"A bedbug cannot withstand physically heat above 130 degrees for a sustained period of time," he explained.

Some tenants are really bugged by the infestation. Bickford says they won't be coming to his apartment.

"I've never seen them. I hear they bite quite bad," he said.

The housing authority says tenants who think they have a bedbug problem should let them know immediately and not try to treat the problem themselves.

"The easier the process is for us and them, the less invasive it is and the more successful it can be," Hamilton said.

It costs the tenant nothing to have this process done but it can leave a lasting problem mentally.

"We can do a treatment and clear the unit but they may not feel super comfortable because at one point there was bedbugs in there," Hamilton said.

The Clinton County Health Department says bedbugs can't really hurt your health. They don't spread diseases but they are a nuisance. However, they do bite which makes you itch and excessive itching can lead to an infection.