May 23, 2018
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LaGrange low-income housing complex fighting bedbugs

By Nick Sambides Jr., BDN Staff

LAGRANGE, Maine — A Hermon-based pest management company sprayed several apartments in a low-income housing building on Bennoch Road this week to alleviate a bedbug problem, tenants said Wednesday.

Modern Pest Services of Hermon visited Town Hall Apartments on Monday as part of efforts to contain infestations that date back to September, said Ronald Fortier, a resident of the 24-unit building.

“When they found out about it, they got somebody right on the job. They have been pretty good about that, management has,” said Frank Lyford, whose apartment was sprayed on Monday. “I had them, too, in my apartment, and they disappeared. The spray got rid of them. They sprayed them once pretty strong and they have come back at least once a month. They have been dealing with them, doing a pretty good job.”

Fortier disagreed.

“They could have moved on this a lot faster,” Fortier said.

He said that the landlords erred by doing the work piecemeal instead of comprehensively.

Managed by Realty Resources Management of Rockport, the dwelling serves elderly or disabled residents and was built in 1993.

A Realty Resources official at the main office referred comment on the problem to the property manager, whom she identified as Cynthia Batchelder. Batchelder did not return several messages this week.

Town Clerk Ella Lyford said she had heard of a problem at the site but had not been notified of it officially and could not comment. An official from Modern Pest Services declined to comment Tuesday.

According to the Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention, bedbugs, or cimex lectularius, are flat, wingless, red-brown, blood-sucking insects that can grow up to one-quarter inch in length and can live for up to one year. They typically hide in cracks and crevices of beds, furniture, floors and even walls.

Unlike lice, bedbugs are not usually found on people or clothing. The bugs do not transmit disease, but their bites cause small, itchy red bumps on the skin’s surface. The insects also are quite resilient and they multiply prodigiously.

After decades of apparently being eradicated, at least as a public health problem, bedbugs made a comeback in Maine in 2005. Infestations have periodically been reported since in Lewiston, Portland and Bangor and at an apartment building in Orono.

Dr. Stephen Sears, an epidemiologist with Maine CDC, said that his department is not required to track them, but residents complain to CDC about them anyway.

He referred comments to the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, whose spokesman, John Bott, said that his agency also was not required to track bedbug infestations. He said he did not know of any state agency that is required to do so.

The precise number of apartments at Town Hall Apartments that have been infested could not be determined. Residents claimed that four or five apartments were infested.

The Maine Department of Agriculture offers a website page at that can help residents identify and eradicate common household pests without using pesticides.

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