W.Va. AG's office involved after residents complain of bed bugs in Martinsburg apartment complex

Eight complaints from residents in the Cottages of Martinsburg were filed

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - You know the saying; don't let the bedbugs bite. But what happens when that saying becomes a reality?
For some residents living in the Cottages of Martinsburg, it has.
Some residents said their homes have been infested for months while management is saying they deal with each individual complaint according to protocol.
"I can't live like this. I can't do this. I can't do it,” said Martinsburg resident, Branden Parks.
Moving into the Cottages of Martinsburg just about two months ago, Branden Parks said she was shocked when her son woke up with bite marks.
"I moved into this community, because I thought, as a single mother, I could save some money for my children,” said Parks.
After some research of her own as well as contacting the leasing office, Parks was told that her home was in-fact infested with bed bugs.
"When my kids come through the door, they have to take off all their clothes. They have to immediately go into bags, and I have to take them from bags to the washing machine. It's exhausting,” said Parks.
She said after a report to the leasing office, her home was inspected and exterminated.
As documents from the company show, that inspection was done on March 22 after the bugs were found in the back bedroom. Two more were also scheduled for April 5 and 19.
"They were going to pay for the extermination, and that was it. That was all they could help me with,” said Parks.
WHAG's Erin Miller spoke with the Cottages' manager, Ann Beard, who said that although bed bugs can happen from time to time, the complex responds immediately.
Jason De Vitt, another resident in the complex, said he’s lived on the property for years, and just within the past few months, noticed the infestation.
He said his children no longer sleep in the back bedroom of the home.
"When I checked on my children around 10 or 11 o' clock, before I went to bed, I saw two or three of them on the wall. I would see them moving in their sleep. I saw one or two in their bed, so I had to kill them,” said Martinsburg resident, Jason De Vitt.
With a situation like this, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said it’s not unusual for his office to get involved.
"We can say, throughout the state, we've seen an up-tick in the number of consumer issues relating to bed bugs,” said West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.
Parks said this picture was taken in her home one month ago after the first extermination of her home took place.
“And that's only because we have been forced to live in only a section of our home, because we don't go in the back portion of our home,” said Parks.
Beard said that typical protocol for the company is to either use heat treatment or chemical treatment, depending on the existing situation.
She also said that each resident is issued with a 30 day guarantee, and that the resident is not responsible for payment.
"I didn't get a receipt that the house has been cleaned. I was supposed to get a complimentary bed bug cover -- a little sheet that protects my stuff. I didn't get that as well. I didn't get confidence that it was done right,” said De Vitt.
Money aside, the residences whose homes are infested said that they just want their lives back to normal.
Management said that next week a canine inspection has been scheduled for all of the 120 units in the apartment.

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