Bed bugs found in Boulder housing project |

Bed bugs found in Boulder housing project

BOULDER, Colorado ” Bed bugs have infested a public housing project, forcing at least four residents in the past two weeks to pack their belongings, wash all their clothing and evacuate as pest-control workers fumigate their homes.

Joe Malinowski, consumer protection coordinator for Boulder County Public Health, said Walnut Place Apartments residents are not in any immediate physical danger from the insects, which feast on the blood of warm-blooded animals.

“The biggest human risk from bed bugs, besides the obvious discomfort from being bitten, is people becoming infected” from bite wounds, he said.

Many residents of the building’s 95 federally subsidized units live on Social Security benefits. Marjorie Morris, 74, found bed bugs in her apartment and said the costs and burden of removing furniture, replacing her mattress and cleaning her home have been overwhelming.

Tim Beal, director of housing services for Boulder Housing Partners, which oversees 1,000 low-income units in partnership with the city, said the housing authority has spent as much as $20,000 combating the bugs.

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Bed bugs have appeared several times in the building over the past three years.

“We’ve been trying everything, and now they’re reappearing,” Beal said.

Beal said managers have worked with individual residents to remove the bugs, helped move furniture and have handed out $20 in quarters for residents to wash their belongings.

Housing officials said they don’t know where the bugs came from, but transients have been known to sleep in the building and could have carried the insects, Beal said.

He said officials are still considering how to deal with the problem and who will pay for it.

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