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Mombasa residents decry bedbugs infestation

DIANA MUTHEUBy DIANA MUTHEU
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Residents of some parts of Mombasa now want experts in the county to provide a permanent solution to the bedbug menace that has afflicted them, keeping them awake at night.

The residents have said that the infestation of their households by the bugs is posing a threat to their health.

George Kamau said he sprays his house every month to ensure the the insects do not become unmanageable.

“If you are in Mombasa and never been bitten by bedbugs, then you have not been fully integrated into the county. Bedbugs are in almost every household and have become difficult to eradicate,” Mr Kamau said.

Mr Kamau, who lives in Tudor, said that spraying the bedbugs has not been effective because each household fumigates at different times, giving the insects time to move from one house to another.

“If you fumigate your house and your neighbour does not, the bedbugs will most likely infest your place again. In houses without ceiling boards, the insects just crawl to the next room,” Mr Kamau added.

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Mikindani residents share the same tale.

“They attack at night, so we can’t sleep, or at times we sleep in turns,” said Jecinta Atieno.

Evelyne Wakesho said she was forced to apply several techniques over a long period of time to rid her house of the pests.

“I would pour hot water on the bed and put the bedding out on the hot sun every day for a month. I also bought a pesticide from one of the agro-vet shops in town which I sprayed thrice a week before going to work in the morning,” Ms Wakesho said.

She added that the warm weather in the region favours the breeding of the pests.

“Once the insects infest your premises, they are difficult to control. They get into your clothes, seats, mattress and even cars.” Ms Wakesho added.

Francis Kimani, a businessman who fumigates households in Mombasa, said he has mostly worked on houses in Tudor, Likoni and Mishomoroni.

EXPENSIVE AFFAIR

“Dealing with bedbugs is an expensive affair and one has to pay over Sh1,000 for their houses to be sprayed with insecticides. The houses should be sprayed at least three times after a 14-day period to ensure complete eradication,” Mr Kimani said.

Dr Levin Shikanda from Al- Farooq Hospital in Mombasa stated that bites from the insect cause infections and damage to the skin, leaving victims with itchy skin, darkened patches or spots.

Dr Shikanda cited poor hygiene, spread of the pest through ventilation ducts, clothes, luggage, and furniture and growing resistance to insecticides as some of the factors that continue to favour the increase of the bedbugs.

He said good hygiene, regular inspection, cooperation with pest-control managers, use of aerosol and insecticides were key in the eradication the pest.

“Wash bed linens at temperatures of 60 degrees, vacuum clean, identify breeding sites and destroy them,” Dr Shikanda said.

He urged the residents to use trained dogs to detect the bedbugs.