Epidemic?: Health Dept. steps in to help residents get rid of bed bugs

Are bed bugs a growing epidemic?

Briefings are taking place all week because the creepy crawlies are on the rise across northeast Ohio -- especially in Ward 7 in the city of Cleveland where bed bugs are taking over high rise apartments.

Jeroma Weeks let 19 Action News a look inside her security office in Rainbow Apartments. She showed us the insecticide used to kill the bed bugs that have taken over her office. She says she just killed this one this morning and has an idea of how they got here.

"I think because they put the donation in our security office. Bed bugs come from the donations," said Jeroma Weeks.

Down the hall from Jeroma the city of Cleveland and the Health Department listened to complaints from residents.
"I found them around my bed -- crawling on the blinds and stuff like that," said Alfred Brown.

The Health Department says the problem is with the residents. They say they don't get many complaints because often, residents are afraid of retaliation from their building's management.

"I'm not sure that's the case but because they believe it they don't report it," said Chantez Williams.

Rachel Mixon lives at the apartment building next door and she helped spearhead the efforts to get the city to come to the people.
"We are forcing this issue because these are our homes," said Rachel Mixon.

"I'm kind of sick of them now and I'm tired of getting bit," said Jeroma Weeks.

So if you have a problem with bed bugs and have reported it to your building manager and nothing gets done, well that's when the Health Department steps in. Officials say they will make sure the building gets checked and cleared or there could be some major fines.