Bed bugs reported in Austin

Bed bugs seem to be biting at Twin Towers Apartments.

Austin Housing and Redevelopment Authority executive director Jim Hurm said there were between seven and nine reports of bed bugs at Twin Towers last month. Those cases include the monthly checks by HRA officials.

“You don’t run into it very often,” Hurm said.

Bed bugs are small insects that feed on sleeping human and animal blood, according to Mayo Clinic. While the bed bug population was drastically reduced decades ago by insecticides and toxic chemicals, bed bugs appear to be growing once more, as a national scare took hold of the U.S. two years ago.

Normally there aren’t any reports of bed bugs in the 205-apartment complex, and HRA officials don’t know the reason behind the current spike.

“Many times it’s nothing,” Hurm said. “Sometimes it’s one or two [cases].”

Hurm said sometimes bed bugs come in based on residents who move in or out of a complex. About 17 residents have moved into the Twin Towers this year, though it’s unclear if those residents were affected.

Not many Mower County residents deal with bed bugs, according to Health and Human Services officials.

“Honestly, we have not had a whole lot of calls,” Pam Kellogg, nursing supervisor said. Kellogg said county officials received maybe two or three calls asking questions about bed bugs over the years, but nothing concrete. County officials point residents toward a University of Minnesota web site, www.bedbugs.umn.edu, for more information on how to combat the parasite.

HRA officials aren’t going to increase maintenance or other means to combat bed bugs for now, but they will provide information about bed bugs to Twin Towers residents.

“We have a pretty comprehensive program as it is,” Hurm said.

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