Tenants in Charlottetown apartment building dealing with cockroaches

Dave Stewart dstewart@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on January 4, 2016

German cockroaches have taken over a six-unit apartment building on Eden Street in Charlottetown.

Tenants who spoke to The Guardian say the insects have been crawling out of their coffee pots, toasters and drain pipes.

Margaret Chisholm, 61, says the infestation began about two months ago.

"We can't live this way. I can't take a shower. I can't sleep in my bed,'' Chisholm said.

"You have no idea what living in this building is like. I went to make coffee and one crawled out of the coffee pot and they're crawling out of my toaster. You're scared to leave a piece of food out (on the kitchen counter) in case they crawl there.''

Loni, 23, another resident of the building who asked that her surname not be used, said it's hard to convey how bad it is.

"I have never seen anything like it before,'' Loni said. "They're coming up through the pipes. They come out at nighttime when it's dark. It's like something out of a horror movie.''

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The Guardian attempted to contact the landlord but the call was not returned.

The German cockroach can grow to about an inch to an inch and a half and varies in colour from tan to almost black.

It has two dark, roughly parallel, streaks running from behind the head to the base of the wings.

Chisholm says the landlord is dealing with the problem.

A pest control company has been hired and was spraying recently.

Chisholm said residents were asked to leave for the day.

"He's a victim in this, too,'' she said Thursday. "He's at least trying to do the right thing here and he is being fair; offering to take some (money) off the rent.''

A pest control expert in Charlottetown confirmed to The Guardian that the insect in question is a German cockroach.

Tenants in the building also reached out to the province's environmental health office as well as the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission.

Joe Bradley, manager of environmental health, said they are investigating.

"We became aware of the issue the first week of December,'' Bradley said. "One of our environmental health officers went out to investigate and confirmed (the infestation).''

Under the Public Health Act Rental Accommodation Regulations, it is the landlord's responsibility to prevent or eliminate an infestation of pests.

"We were in contact with the landlord and it was recommended that he hire a professional pest control company to look into the situation, assess the situation and provide treatment as necessary. We understand that (action) has been undertaken.''

Cathy Flanagan, director of residential rental property for IRAC, said she can't comment on a particular situation and can't confirm whether they were contacted about the Eden Street problem.

However, she did say "if a landlord is made aware of a problem, then generally speaking the landlord must deal with it'' and that "generally, the usual course of action is to hire a professional extermination company and follow their advice''.

Bradley and Flanagan said eradication can take time.

Chisholm says she is considering moving out.

"I'll never feel comfortable again; I'll always be looking (for bugs). I'm scared out of my own skin, in my own home,'' she said.



A jar holds a German cockroach found in an apartment in Charlottetown where the tenants were dealing with an infestation.

©Dave Stewart/The Guardian