Bedbugs are forcing hundreds of people out of a downtown Fort Worth apartment complex.
The critters have infested Hunter Plaza, a complex off First and Burnett streets that is owned by the Fort Worth Housing Authority. It caters primarily to elderly and disabled people.
The housing authority is relocating all 219 residents to new homes and getting all of their belongings exterminated. Doris Haywood, a social worker with the agency, said it did all it could to keep eliminate the bugs.
"They're annoying, they bite, they live off human blood (and) animal blood, and they have a long life expectancy, and they multiply pretty quickly," she said.
Haywood said the bedbug problem began last spring. The housing authority hired exterminators, got bed covers for every resident and even removed carpet throughout the building, but the bugs returned.
Resident Sherri Bass said didn’t realize there was a problem until she was contacted by the housing authority.
"'Sleep tight, don't let the bedbugs bite' -- I thought that was just a saying," she said. "I didn't know there was really bugs."
Bass did not have bedbugs, but she saw what they did to a friend.
"He had them on his leg, and they looked like third-degree burns," she said.
While Bass was happy about the relocation and her new apartment, Mary Sierin, was not.
"I’m very disappointed at the decision to permanently relocate us," she said.
Sierin, a resident for four years, said she didn't want to leave. But she said the housing authority staff had been very helpful.
Haywood said she met several times with residents to this decision to keep them informed about everything that was going on inside their homes.
"A lot of them are excited; they are very apprehensive to leave here because they have been here many years," she said.
A spokesperson for the housing authority said it’s too soon to tell what will happen to Hunter Plaza.
Bedbugs can appear in any home. They live in cracks and crevices such as mattress seams, furniture, baseboards and picture frames.
If you start to notice rows of bites when you wake up in the morning, contact an exterminator and make sure that person or company has experience with bedbugs. After staying at a hotel, don't keep your luggage close to your bed at home and dry clean or wash and dry all of your clothes on hot.