Tenants say bed bug treatment going too far

10:46 PM, Jul 3, 2012   |    comments
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Lutheran Apartments in downtown St. Petersburg is an independent living community for seniors. It's near two other apartment complexes where residents have complained about bed bug infestations.

Frances Kersey is a tenant at Lutheran Apartments and says, "The first bed bug I found, I knew exactly what it was."

She's two of the seven residents who invited 10 News into the high rise community Tuesday evening to talk about the bed bugs.

Karimah Shaheed is also a tenant. She says, "I noticed a bed bug crawling up my mattress."

But Shaheed and Kersey no longer have bed bugs. They say the staff hired a professional to treat the pests and, so far, they haven't come back.

But residents say there's still something that's bugging them. They say the bingo games have been cancelled and the library and dining room were shut down temporarily due to the bed bugs. Dolores Wengrzyn says the dining room was shut down after one bed bug was found on a table.

Wengrzyn says, "There was no thought given to where these people would go, where they would eat or anything."

She says many of the residents are either on a fixed income and rely on the meals or they're simply not able to cook for themselves.

Residents also say they're concerned about the type of pesticides being used to treat the bed bugs. Charlie Despanza says, "The deal is that anytime you're smelling a chemical like that, and it clearly says 'poison,' you know, 'do not inhale' -- it can cause respiratory problems, cardiac problems, neuro problems -- then why not close off these vents?"

Residents also complain that they eagerly attended the last meeting held for tenants about bed bugs, but were banned from asking questions or voicing their concerns. Despanza says, "They said there will be no questions and there will be no discussions."

10 News spoke with an administrator with Lutheran Apartments several times on Tuesday. She says they will release a statement addressing the residents concerns after the Fourth of July holiday.

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