NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Residents of one Northampton Housing Authority property have been dealing with unwanted neighbors: bed bugs. Those living at the Walter Salvo House say they started noticing the pests last month.

“You could just see them walking like lobsters coming out of the ocean, you know what I mean? and I’d kill those suckers,” said Jo Ella ‘Jada’ Tarbutton-Springfield, a resident.

“I had a bed bug that was in my ear, it was dead, I mean it’s gross,” said Heidi Sousse, another resident. “I like looked up bed bugs on Google and I pulled up a picture and I was like ‘ah dang it, I think it’s one of those.'”

Once the Northampton Housing Authority was alerted to this issue, they brought in an exterminator to test all 193 units. Executive Director Cara Leiper told 22News, “They brought two bed-bug sniffing dogs and were testing all units and common areas.”

Although the apple-seed sized pests won’t make you sick, they’re a nuisance.

“Bed bugs are blood-sucking parasites that live within structures and they live close to people and they suck their blood,” said Natasha Wright, Entomologist at Braman Termite & Pest Elimination.

Heat treatments have been completed on certain units but residents say the problem is persisting. The housing authority says that’s due to insufficient measures being taken by residents pre-and-post treatment.

“There’s a heat treatment client preparation checklist, their apartment number and the date of their treatment is written on it. It gives them a detailed list of what they need to do,” said Leiper.

Preparation includes removing items that essentially melt or can be damaged from the heat. Experts recommend that after a treatment is completed, that you thoroughly check any item that bedbugs could possibly be hitch-hiking on.

“Making sure you’re not constantly getting those items, bringing infested items back after a treatment has happened, will minimize your risk of spreading it further or for the treatment to fail completely,” said Wright.

The full report of the tested units at the Walter Salvo House could be available as early as Wednesday, which will determine next steps.

Local News

Kaelee Collins is a reporter who has been a part of the 22News team since 2022. Follow Kaelee on X @kaelee_collins and view her bio to see more of her work.