GASTONIA -- Bedbugs are again causing problems for officials at the men’s shelter in Gastonia and the people who stay there.
The parasitic insects began causing problems about six weeks ago, but the infestation moved back into the headlines this week when two people sent photos and videos of the bugs to WSOC-TV.
A representative at the shelter, operated by the Salvation Army, confirmed Thursday that staff is trying to deal with the bugs.
Shelter staff members have replaced mattresses and used insecticides against the bugs, which tend to be active at night, biting people and drawing blood. One shelter resident sent a photo to WSOC, showing a number of bites on the arm.
Bedbugs have been a problem across the country, especially in places where there are visitors or temporary residents. People carry the bugs on their clothing or bedding. Catawba University in Salisbury closed some dormitories for several days last year, to deal with a bedbug infestation.
County health departments are permitted to shut down hotels and dormitories to deal with bedbugs, but the law does not cover the homeless shelter, because it is run by a nonprofit organization and does not charge a fee from those who stay there.
Similar complaints were made by Gastonia shelter residents in July 2010 and 2011. In 2011, Salvation Army Captain Donald Dohmann said the shelter had been struggling with bedbug problems for three or four years. Typically, the problem disappears after cold weather arrives.