Yellowknife Housing Authority denies bed bugs at Hilltop

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The Hilltop Apartment complex at 5009 47 street is operated by the Yellowknife Housing Authority. Ekpakohak says he has been staying here for two months and the problem has not subsided. The housing authority now says there is no evidence of bugs. Brett McGarry/NNSL photo

After a man came forward making claims that a unit in the Hilltop Apartment complex was bustling with bed bugs, the Yellowknife Housing Authority is denying the existence of the itchy infestation.

“We sent in an exterminator last week to determine if there was a problem and they found nothing,” said Bob Bies, CEO of the Yellowknife Housing Authority.

Bies said Apex Property Management and Pest Control was hired to inspect the unit on Aug. 28 and found no droppings, carcasses or other signs of the bugs.

“When an accusation of bed bugs is made, we take it very seriously,” said Bies. “They spread so quickly that if we get any sign of bed bugs we get our bug guy in there right away. They could spread all over town if you don’t get them out.”

Bies said the conditions of some units may attract other critters that may be responsible for claims of infestation.

“I can’t speak about any tenant specifically, but when we’re looking for bed bugs in our units, sometimes the place is so unclean that we need to go in and get them to clean because those types of things attract any type of bug,” said Bies.

“When we get claims of bed bugs, 50 per cent of claims are not true,” he continued.

Bies also said the authority relies heavily on the opinions of hired experts and professional exterminators.

James Gardlund, the lease holder on the unit, was not present during the examination.

Robert Ekpakohak brought a fresh and still squirming insect – that he claimed was a bed bug – to Yellowknifer as proof that the problem is ongoing. Brett McGarry/NNSL photo

Yellowknifer reached out to Gardlund, who said he has been in and out of the hospital recently but the last time he was there, the bugs were present.

“When you turn off the lights, they all still come out,” said Gardlund.

Robert Ekpakohak, who has been staying in Gardlund’s unit, was not available for comment, but did previously supply Yellowknifer with a living insect that he claimed was a bed bug he’d collected from Gardlund’s home.

Bies said Ekpakohak should not have come forward as he is not the lease holder for the unit and was staying in the complex illegally.

An investigation has been opened, he said.

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