Bedbugs: Infestation in Capitol Hill apartment complex estimated at 10,000 bugs (PHOTOS)
"Bug Bedlam," this week's cover story about Denver's bedbug infestation, has inspired readers to post stories of their own battles with the tiny bloodsuckers. One story, from the former manager of a Capitol Hill apartment complex, was accompanied by some of the most disgusting, creepy-crawly photos we've ever seen.
Five years ago, Andy Martin got a job managing an 84-unit apartment complex in Capitol Hill. The complex had a bedbug problem that predated his tenure, but as the new manager, he was determined to get rid of the pests once and for all. So he invented an excuse to go into all 84 units in an attempt to figure out where the problem was coming from.
And boy, did he find it. "When we walked in, it was instantly obvious that that apartment needed to nuked," he says. The apartment belonged to an elderly man with dementia, who also happened to be a hoarder. Nearly every inch of his apartment was covered with papers, furniture and trash. And, Martin estimates, as many as 10,000 bedbugs.
Unsure of how to proceed, Martin began by calling any city agency he thought might be able to help, including social services. But no one was willing to come take a look. Exasperated, he called the Denver Police Department, who agreed to do a welfare check.
"When he opened door (for the police), he had bugs crawling in his hair and stuff," Martin recalls. The policeman asked the old man about his health, and when he admitted that he took medications for dementia and schizophrenia but hadn't been to a doctor in years, the cop suggested the old man come with him to the hospital. On the way out, the cop turned to Martin. "He said, 'You guys can gut this place,'" Martin says.