Creepy, but not serious

A bed bug infestation has caused tenants to be temporarily moved from four suites at Red Deer’s Centennial Court affordable housing complex. “We have every confidence we’ll get rid of (the bed bugs) and that they are nowhere else in the building,” said Geoff Olson, executive-director of the Piper Creek Foundation, which manages 10 local buildings that house seniors with low to moderate incomes.

Twilight Homes Foundation workers move a plastic-wrapped loveseat from a Centennial Courts apartment Thursday afternoon.

Twilight Homes Foundation workers move a plastic-wrapped loveseat from a Centennial Courts apartment Thursday afternoon.

A bed bug infestation has caused tenants to be temporarily moved from four suites at Red Deer’s Centennial Court affordable housing complex.

“We have every confidence we’ll get rid of (the bed bugs) and that they are nowhere else in the building,” said Geoff Olson, executive-director of the Piper Creek Foundation, which manages 10 local buildings that house seniors with low to moderate incomes.

The affected tenants at 4702-33rd St. told Olson about the bugs last weekend. An exterminator confirmed earlier this week that the four suites need to be fumigated.

Olson believes the biting bugs arrived into one of the suites on a piece of used furniture — which is a common way of introducing the insects.

The tenants knew and visited each other, which is how Olson believes the bugs ended up in the three other suites.

Some mattresses were thrown out and other furniture is being carefully examined. He said, “We won’t be letting some of it back into the building.”

The affected tenants were temporarily relocated to two empty suites so their own could be sprayed, said Olson, who expects it to be a lengthy process, with repeat visits from the exterminator.

“It takes patience and time to get rid of them” — possibly longer than two weeks. If other suites become available, Olson said he would prefer to move the tenants into these, rather than back into the infested ones, to ensure the bed bugs are really gone.

“We’ve got a pretty good process. We don’t get over-excited about it anymore,” said Olson, who believes this is an occasional but recurrent problem.

“It’s not that common in our buildings, but it does happen.”

Reports of bed bugs appear to be rising. Some experts believe it’s because people are travelling more and bringing the bugs back with them, while exterminators have said the problem is harder to deal with because stronger chemicals aren’t being approved because of toxicity concerns.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com