Petersburg mom fighting to get rid of bed bugs

Mom fighting to get rid of bed bugs

PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) - A Petersburg women says she found bites from bed bugs all over her children.

Bionka Ball says exterminators sprayed her apartment three different times, and now she’s being told that she will have to pay for more help.

Property Manager Susan Claxton would not speak specifically to Ball’s complaint, but she confirmed that Carriage House actively investigates and aggressively treats bug problems.

She says they follow a strict protocol, and it’s possible a tenant may be charged down the road.

Ball’s 1-year-old godson Neim is covered in bites from the blood-sucking bed bugs.

“His legs, his arms, his neck,” Ball said of the bites.

Shocking pictures show how the parasites attacked her son’s back. She says both children are taking medication.

“The first thing I did was go down stairs and show them and they were like 'Oh. Oh my gosh, put her on the list. I was thinking in my head, ‘A list? What do you mean there’s a list? So there’s more people in the Carriage House that have this problem?’ I just don’t know who they are or what floor they’re on.”

Claxton would not confirm or deny additional infestations of bed bugs.

According to the extermination protocol Claxton described, Ball’s apartment has been treated three times.

A follow-up visit is planned to certify the bed bugs are gone. If they’re not, Claxton says they will continue to treat the problem.

Claxton confirmed that a tenant is only charged if there’s a re-infestation six months later.

Ball says that’s not what she was told.

“They said if they have to come out a fourth time or a fifth time after the third treatment, they was going to fine me."

The mother says she doesn’t have extra funds to cover the costs.

“I was crying. I’m on a fixed income. I’m a single mom with a 6-year-old. I actually told them, ‘I dont have the funds to cover this stuff.’”

Central Virginia Legal Aid says the first thing a tenant should do if they find any kind of pests is report it in writing and in detail. Keep a copy, and follow up with a request for extermination.

The sequence is key if it goes to court.

(Martin Wegbreit - Central Virginia Legal Aid Society)

“The law in Virginia is very clear on this. To get repairs in Virginia as a tenant, you have to be current in payment of rent and stay current. You have to have given written notice to the landlord and you have to wait a reasonable period of time,” said Martin Wegbreit of Central Virginia Legal Aid Society.

Carriage House spokesperson assures that Ball will not be charged a fee unless there’s a new infestation - and they will continue the current treatments until the bugs are gone.

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