Maryville woman in big fight against tiny bug infestation

Maryville woman in big fight against tiny bug infestation

Posted:

By DON DARE
6 On Your Side Reporter

MARYVILLE (WATE) - Among the smallest of insects, mites can be annoying if your home is infested with them.

A Maryville woman says welts that cover her body were caused by mites that bit her in her home.

Susan Byers says she wants to get out of her apartment until she's sure the bugs have been exterminated.

The insects can mostly go unnoticed because they're microscopic in size, but their bite has a wallop.

They like dark places. On humans, they can burrow under your skin.

"They come out all over, over the top of the sink under the sink," Byers said as she pointed out the problem spots in her apartment.

They were too small to see until she trapped some on a piece of paper, where they showed up as tiny specks.

The insects have feasted on her legs and arms. They're in her hair, on her face and behind her ears.

Her back is the worst location for mite bites.

Somehow the mites have infested her clothes.

Byers says she's tried all sorts of over-the-counter sprays and other remedies to get rid of the mites.

"[The spray] works for a little while. then it doesn't," she said.

Polly, Byers's dog, has mites in her ears and in her paws. A cat has a similar problem.

"I've been digging mites out of his eyes because they get in the lid, then make these big lumps," she said.

Byers says a bird entered her apartment in April through a vent. She thinks the mites are  nesting on top of the duct work because of that.

She was able to remove the dead bird in late April. It was then she first called her apartment management.

"They're saying I caused it, it's my problem," she said. "I've spent $300 on stuff to kill bugs."

"We didn't know there was an ongoing problem," said Lisa Vanada, the apartment manager. "She did not let us know. If we don't know we can't fix the problem."

Vanada claims she's done everything possible to help Byers, but she wasn't aware of the welts on Byers.

Vanada says Orkin Pest Control fogged Byers' apartment.

The apartment owner, Ed Shore, says he didn't know how serious the problem was in the apartment unit until 6 On Your Side visited last week.

"I did not know about a bird," he said.

"When the birds leave the nest or when the birds die, then they start looking for another food source," pest control specialist Dayton Hylton explained.

Hylton says bird mites are persistent creatures.

"They're looking for meal," he said. "They're looking for blood. They bite. They can be irritating. They can live for months without food, without a blood meal. It could be several months to get rid of them."

Byers met her apartment owner and explained that, so far, Orkin hasn't been able to rid her apartment of all the bugs.

She was promised swift action.

"We want to confine it, beat it, and end it right here," said Shore.

Byers recently visited the doctor's office, where she was diagnosed with scabies, a skin disease caused by mites.

The apartment owner for the second time had his pest control company spray and fog her apartment.

Byers says she would like to be out of her apartment until the mites are gone. That offer, however, hasn't been made yet.

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