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Bed Bugs Common Battle For Homeless Shelters - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Bed Bugs Common Battle For Homeless Shelters

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The New Life Center in Fargo tells us pests are a common battle for shelters across the nation. Locally, the center says it's optimistic about winning its war.

"It's like having a house hold, but with a hundred different family members under the same roof," says Rob Swiers, Director of the New Life Center. On an average night at the New Life Center over one hundred men call this home. "One of the first things folks think about when they think of a homeless shelter is a bed," says Swiers. But, bed bugs have shown up at the shelter. "Keeping them clean, keeping them sanitary, keeping them pest free, all of those things are part of the challenge," says Swiers.

The shelter takes pest problems seriously, as part of the fight they put in new metal bunks on Wednesday. A more sanitary substitute to the old wooden ones, which were around 30 years old.

"Anybody can get bed bugs," says Bryan Johnson, with Johnson's Pest Control. It's not just homeless shelters struggling with bed bugs. "It has nothing to do with grooming, you can have the cleanest house that you ever thought you had, if you take them home they will be there, they feed off you they don't feed off dirt," says Johnson.

Experts say you can pick them up in many places at a motel, in your luggage, or on someone's couch. "You have to be ahead of the game on bed bugs, people have to be aware of what they are doing to stay ahead of them."

Taking precautions whether you are a homeowner, an apartment renter, or run a business. "It's not something that people go around talking about, but it's an issue that people don't need to be scared about, it's a reality but businesses need to deal with," says Swiers.

Here are a few ways to stop a bed bug problem in your home before it gets out of hand, while staying at a hotel, check the mattress. If you take in anything second hand be sure to inspect it first. If you suspect bed bugs, call a professional immediately.

It cost the new life center around $25,000 to replace the bunk beds, something that didn't quite fit into their budget.

The center did get some help from KLN Family Brands, and 1st Lutheran Church. They pitched in to buy those bunks. Next year the shelter has plans of getting a hot room, which is an area that gets warm enough to kill pests on anything residents could bring in.

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