The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

January 22, 2013

Report bedbugs, authority urges

Randy Griffith

JOHNSTOWN — Bedbugs crept into the discussion at Johnstown Housing Authority’s meeting, where leaders admitted they may not be able to permanently eradicate the pests from all authority-owned buildings.

“You can only defeat it for six or eight months,” authority member John Slezak said, recalling information presented by an exterminator last week at Fulton I. Connor Towers.

Last month, Solicitor Timothy Leventry said the authority could require inspections of all furniture and linens before allowing new residents to move into authority-owned units. He was responding to concerns raised after bedbugs were reported at Townhouse Tower.

At that meeting, Executive Director Daniel J. Kanuch agreed to review the situation and possible solutions with experts from Orkin, the pest control company under contract with the authority.

When apartments at Connor Towers were being treated for another outbreak, Kanuch’s staff asked the Orkin representative to lead an informational meeting. Residents learned how to recognize signs of bedbugs and how to reduce the chance of bringing them into their apartments, authority Chairman Brian Vuletich said.

“I think this has a lot to do with education,” Kanuch said. “We are trying to correct the situation. When we get a report, we act on it immediately.”

It is up to residents to let staff know where the problems are located, Kanuch said, adding that the education program will continue at all properties.

“We need to know about it,” Kanuch said. “You have some residents who may not want to come forward. That’s the business we are in.”

Residents should understand that bedbugs can find homes in the cleanest apartments, Kanuch said.

“It has nothing to do with cleanliness,” he said.

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