Bedbugs infest Manitoba Housing complex

A Winnipeg woman says living in a bedbug-infested public housing block is worse than the backyard shed she used to call home.

A Winnipeg woman says living in a bedbug-infested public housing block is worse than the backyard shed she used to call home.

Debbie Peachy, 44, lived in a two-by-three metre shed behind a St. Boniface home for two years before being evicted in 2009 by Manitoba Health Department. The health department declared the sheds unfit and a health hazard.
A bedbug crawled onto Peachy's arm while she was being interviewed by a CBC reporter on Thursday. ((CBC))

Peachy was moved into a Manitoba Housing apartment on Smith Street in downtown. She has since been sharing her suite with bedbugs, which she said are disgusting.

Recently, Peachy woke up because she felt a bite on her cheek. She says she lifted her pillow and counted 13 of the bugs crawling around.
A bedbug crawls on Peachy's hand. ((CBC))

The shed — insulated, drywalled and equipped with a bed, shelving and some basic electrical service — was small, but clean, she said.

Peachy's shed was one of two being rented by Charlie Warman, who set them up behind his house on Horace Street.

Peachy would like to go back to the shed but knows if she does officials will simply kick her out again.

"I'm so frigging mad right now because I know a lot of these people that work for Manitoba Housing, I know that they're going home every day to a clean house," she said.

"They don't have sleepless nights like I do, where I'm constantly thinking of, if I'm going to wake in the morning and find a bed bug up my nose, or in my eyes or in my crotch, or whatever."

An official with Manitoba Housing admits they're having trouble controlling the bed bugs in Peachy's apartment block, even though exterminators regularly spray the suites.

It is unfortunate to hear Peachy would rather live in a shed, officials said.

Pest control companies in Winnipeg reported a 30 per cent increase in calls about bedbugs in 2010. They have shown up in daycares, movie theatres, libraries, banks, university residences and even hospitals.