Board of Health learns of complaints about cockroaches, bedbugs
During the April meeting of the Washington County Board of Health, Environmental Health director Jennine Wolf held up a baggie and announced that it contained bedbugs that she found in the crib of a 4-month-old baby.
A couple of weeks ago Wolf said she received a complaint from a renter and the mother of the 4-month-old about cockroaches and bedbugs.
Wolf then said she received a 4 a.m. phone call from the woman asking if Wolf could do anything to help her. The renter said she was being bitten alive by bugs and she couldn't sleep.
"It about brought tears to my eyes," Wolf said, "because I can't really help with some stuff."
Wolf said she contacted Steve Donnolly, the building official in the city of Washington. They visited the woman's apartment during the daytime.
"I walked in at noon and I was picking up bedbugs off of the floor," Wolf said. "I was picking them out of the baby's crib. Roaches — the roaches are horrendous."
She took photos of the infestation, and passed the photos around to the people at the meeting. Not only did she find cockroaches and bedbugs, she also saw a build up of feces from both types of bugs. She told the landlord that he needed to get a professional pest control operator to deal with the bugs.
"He (landlord) tried to tell me that he had had absolutely no bugs until about two or three months ago," Wolf continued. "Uh-huh, with an infestation like this your house is infested and it's been that way for a long time. "
Wolf said she gets a phone call about once a week about bedbugs.
"What I have to tell them is I can't help them," she said.
Public Health Administrator Danielle Pettit-Majewski said that bedbugs do not spread disease, so public health doesn't do anything about bedbugs.
Board of Health chairman Dr. Lloyd Holm asked a question about dogs that can identify bedbugs.
"I, as a hotel inspector that does know about bedbugs, if I go in and do an inspection, there's a 25 percent chance I'll find them, if they're in there," Wolf said.
"If a pest control operator goes in, there's a 50 percent chance he'll find them if they're in there. With a dog, it's a 95 percent chance. The dog just finds them. He just tells you they're there."
Wolf also told the board that this is not an isolated case.
"This is going on a lot in Washington, Riverside, Wellman — this is something that's going to become more and more common," she said."
Donnolly said this case is an example of why the city is working on a rental code.
The board took no action on the complaint.
In other business, the board accepted the resignations of Ron Bennett and Lori Bauer from the board. They voted to recommend to the board of supervisors new board members Jack Seward Jr. and Virginia Bordwell.