Lincoln Manor infested with bed bugs
LINCOLN — A bed bug infestation that has been growing for more than a year at Lincoln Manor has diminished the quality of life of seniors living there, residents told The News on Tuesday.
Lincoln Manor in Lincoln is a senior apartment building that accepts federal low-income housing subsidies. The apartments were built in 1985 and are currently managed by the Shelby Township-based Prime Properties Management.
Bed bugs are tiny insects that feed on the blood of humans, reproduce quickly, and are extremely hard to eradicate, according to WebMD. Bites can cause itching and welts.
At Lincoln Manor, one apartment might be cleared of the bed bugs by exterminators, only to have the insects appear in another apartment shortly thereafter, residents said. The infestation has forced residents to replace furniture and incur other expenses and has kept them locked out of services for seniors.
Resident Ron Williams first noticed bedbugs in his apartment about three or four weeks after moving in last fall. When he reported the bugs to management, he was told bed bugs were a problem in Northeast Michigan and a pest control company was hired.
Williams said the exterminators only targeted his bedroom and the back of his recliner, but not the entire apartment or the hallway, as he expected. He doesn’t believe spraying one apartment is enough to treat the building’s bed bug problem.
“Prime tells me that it’s awful expensive to do that,” he said. “Well, I understand that, but why are (they) paying for something that’s not doing any good? It seems to me there should be more that could be done.”
Several of his neighbors have also had bed bugs in their apartments.
Barb Corona, chief operations officer with Prime Properties, said the company contacts a pest control company when they are notified by a tenant of bed bugs.
“As long as the tenant prepares the apartment as directed prior to pest control coming out there, what they treat it with should do it,” she said. “Then they come back in three weeks to see what’s going on.”
Lincoln Manor residents who have had bedbugs in their apartments have removed and replaced their furniture, often at their own expense, and have had to forgo services they receive from the Alcona County Commission on Aging, residents said.
“I had a month-and-a-half where I did not have any type of services,” resident William Franklin said. “Then I had to have someone come in and take out my furniture.”
Williams has since bought himself a mattress cover, and has also had to do without the cleaning services provided by the county’s Commission on Aging.
Lenny Avery, executive director of the Commission on Aging, said the agency’s policy is to suspend services until the agency is notified the infestation has been treated.
He said the agency has had to suspend in-home services to residents at Lincoln Manor several times. Those services could include helping seniors with meals and medications and helping them use the bathroom or bathe.
“We have to wait till we have an ‘all is OK’ report from the facility, basically saying there is no presence of bed bugs and that they provided services and that they cleared the area before we are allowed to put workers back in,” he said.
Avery said seniors can’t afford to have their services suspended.
Residents who report bed bug infestations to management say they are told they cannot leave their apartments until the treatment is completed.
“I couldn’t do nothing,” resident Bob Moody said. “I had to stay right in my room. My niece had to bring me stuff.”
Corona said residents whose apartments are being treated for bed bugs are not allowed to go in common areas, which are currently closed because of the pandemic, but are still able to do their laundry.
Both Williams and Franklin said they haven’t seen any bed bugs since their apartments were treated, but Williams is concerned they could return to his apartment.
Other residents are also worried that bed bugs could spread to their apartments.
Resident Jorgia Jones, who lives in a different hallway in the apartment, has not had bed bugs in her apartment, but is afraid she might get them. She said it seems like they treat the bed bugs in one apartment, and, in a month or so, somebody else gets them.
“It puts fear in all of us,” Jones said. “We’ve seen them on the laundry room on the floor.”