CARS HOMES JOBS

Region edges up on ‘Top 50’ bedbug list

Stonequist Apartments insect problem eases

Sunday, January 20, 2013
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— The greater Capital Region moved up two spaces on the latest national list of 50 metropolitan areas with the worst bedbug problems.

The Albany-Schenectady-Troy area was 44th on the list in 2011 but is 42nd on the 2012 “Top 50 Bed Bug Cities” list released last week by Orkin Pest Control.

Chicago, Detroit, and Los Angeles are the top three cities with the worst bedbug infestations in the past year, according to Addy Apesos, an Orkin spokeswoman.

The Capital Region is just above Charlotte, N.C., and just below Lincoln, Neb., on the bug list.

Robert Granfors, an Orkin manager with responsibility for the Capital Region, said there was a “moderate” increase in both residential and commercial bedbug business between 2011 and 2012 in the region.

One of the most high-profile bedbug problems over the past year in the greater Capital Region was reported in Saratoga Springs, where the Saratoga Springs Housing Authority battled the tiny, blood-sucking insects early in the year at the authority’s 176-unit Stonequist Apartments on South Federal Street.

“Saratoga Springs is part of that market,” said Apesos about the Albany-Schenectady-Troy area on Orkin’s list.

The list is based on the number of bedbug extermination treatments the Atlanta-based company performed in a given area in the past year, she said.

An audit by the state Comptroller’s Office focusing on a variety of spending and oversight control issues at the Saratoga Springs Housing Authority said authority officials were slow to react to residents’ complaints of bedbug problems at the high-rise building.

The authority hired a professional exterminator — Town and Country Pest Solutions of Rochester — in February 2012. This company brought the problem under control quickly and is still used by the authority to watch for and prevent re-infestations.

Edward Spychalski, the authority’s executive director, said Thursday that Town and Country inspects Stonequist on a regular basis and provides a regular extermination treatment to prevent the return of bedbugs to building.

The next investigation and treatment will be on Feb. 5. “There are no issues at all [with bedbugs],” he said Thursday.

The state Comptroller’s audit report, which was released in November, said as of April 27, the authority had paid the contractor more than $61,000 for insect control work.

The state audit of the authority’s spending practices and oversight over payroll and employee benefits was critical of such things as the level of Spychalski’s annual pay ($144,000 in 2012) and the amount the authority spent on travel to national housing authority conferences (nearly $46,000 between July 1, 2010 and Feb. 2, 2012).

The authority’s board of commissioners, which met Thursday at the Stonequist Apartments, is expected to have a “Corrective Action Plan” in response to the audit findings and recommendations completed by its Feb. 21 meeting.

Eric Weller, board chairman, said at the time the audit was released that the commission would take the 90 days allowed by the state to develop “concrete plans and steps we have taken or will take to address any deficiencies noted and a timetable for full implementation [of the audit recommendations].”

Spychalski said after Thursday’s commission meeting that he expected the report would be ready by the commission’s Feb. 21 meeting.

 
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