September

30

2011

Published: Sep 30, 2011 at 7:19 PM PDT

PORTLAND, Ore. – A family living in a mobile home in Southeast Portland says they can't stop the hoards of bed bugs that have swarmed their beds and furniture for almost three years.

The problem is not just the bugs but also need. John and Rachel Hoven say they are living on a small income and are not able to pay for bed bug treatment.

"I sit in this chair. I call it the diner, and I'm covered with them," John said from his recliner. "They crawl up my shirt and everything."

He said he’s covered with as many as 50 bed bugs at a time that are looking to bite and feed. There are blood stains on his jeans.

Before a KATU reporter and her cameraman went inside the home, Mark Schmidt with Sprague Pest Solutions prepped them with protective suits complete with gloves and shoe coverings that were taped at the wrists and ankles.

"The bed bugs are winning the battle inside (this house)," Schmidt said.

There are thousands of the bugs living in the beds and couches. They leave black splatters and hundreds of white eggs behind. Dark circles around the couch buttons are feces from the bugs. They eat human blood and then excrete it to make those dark stains.

The couple says they can’t afford to move.

"At this point, after being here, I don't think I could just leave it," Schmidt said.

His company decided to pay to treat the Hovens' home but there is an obstacle. There are piles of food, clothes, laundry and other stuff choking the small trailer. All of that gives the bed bugs too many hiding spots and the treatment may not stick.

"It needs a lot of attention before we can really address again why we came out in the first place," Schmidt said.

He hopes someone in the community will step forward to help get rid of the clutter and infested furniture so the Hovens can live without feeding thousands of hungry guests.

It would require some delicate work to help sort through the mess and get rid of the bug-infested stuff.

You can reach the Problem Solvers at problemsolvers@katu.com.

Click here to view the video that goes along with this article.