Family says bed bugs delivered with furniture
RENO, Nev. (News 4) —
Parents say creepy crawly critters invaded a Reno home and targeted a little boy.
Jocelyn and Robert Weaver and their three sons just moved into a northwest Reno apartment March 9. Two days later, 6-year-old Levi was covered in head to toe in bed bug bites.
The Weavers say it happened when they went to buy furniture. The couple, on a tight budget, went to Aaron's Furniture store on Moana and Kietzke lanes. They had a couch, loveseat, a run, three tables and two lamps delivered on March 10.
"It was used, so it was discounted to $100 a month plus tax. So we were like, That sounds great. They assured us it was clean, and everything was set to go," said Jocelyn.
That night Levi slept on the couch. He woke up the next day covered in bites.
"My legs, my tummy, my back, my forehead, everywhere," said Levi. "I was itching them, really hard. That was really bad."
The Weavers headed to a doctor at Saint Mary's Hospital, who said it was some type of bug bite. The red marks stuck around, so they went to Renown Hospital.
"The doctor walked right in, laughed and said that's bed bug bites," Jocelyn said.
They have documentation of the diagnosis. NV Pest Control also confirmed it was bed bugs.
"He came in and inspected both couches and found them completely infested with beg bugs," Jocelyn said. "He said he's never seen anything so bad in his whole entire career. We lifted up one side of the cushion and sure enough there was about 150 white -- I mean tiny things."
The Nevada Entomologist, Jeff Knight, has studied bed bugs and other critters for 30 years. He said the creatures breed very rapidly and need a blood-meal to survive.
"They tend to hide during the daytime, and they find cracks and crevasses. It's harder to get our chemicals to them, to control them," said Knight.
For that reason, he said he doesn't recommend people buy used furniture unless you really know where it came from.
News 4 contacted Aaron's several times in person and on the phone. Nobody at the store would comment. The District Manager told us to talk to a corporate spokeswoman, Garet Hayes.
Hayes would not comment on the Weaver's case specifically but in a statement said they use "Orkin, the nation's largest pet control management company."
The statement continued: "When a concern is raised with us, Aaron's fully reviews the matter. Each and every customer concern is taken seriously, including any report of bed bugs."
Aaron's told the Weavers that there's no way the bed bugs came from their store.
"They said that they had steam cleaned them, that they had wrapped them, that they made sure they cleaned them 5-6 times; there was food, there was a humongous white stain underneath the cushion," Jocelyn said.
Aaron's picked up the furniture a few days later and the Weavers said the employees put the bed bug infested couch on the truck with other items to haul it away.
The couple worried those items are now contaminated too, so they washed or threw out all their clothes. The pest control company took care of the critters in the apartment.
Levi still has bite marks three weeks later.
The family still doesn't have any furniture. They sit on the floor. They're fearful to buy used furniture again but can't afford new stuff.
"It's been awful. The worst experience I've dealt with. Ever," Jocelyn said.
Full statement from Aaron's Furniture:
“Aaron’s, Inc. cares about our customers and associates. That’s the value we’ve built the business on for 62 years. When a concern is raised with us, Aaron’s fully reviews the matter and works diligently with our customers in an attempt to keep them as fully satisfied customers. Each and every customer concern is taken seriously, including any report of bedbugs.
The National Pest Management Association reminds consumers that bedbugs are very elusive, transient pests. Bedbugs can attach to clothing or luggage when traveling, can spread rapidly from apartment to apartment or room to room, and hide in cracks and crevices in furniture or baseboards. It is well understood that determining the source of bedbugs is extremely difficult. Additionally, many other differentiating factors, including timing and other issues, are involved in reports of bedbugs and Aaron’s approaches each issue as an individual incident and works toward a mutually agreeable resolution based upon the particular facts involved. Aaron’s has a robust Quality Assurance program that includes inspection and treatment of its merchandise prior to lease or purchase by a customer. Aaron’s has partnered with Orkin, the nation’s largest pest control management company, who not only provides professional pest control management services for our stores, but their experts have reviewed and approved our Quality Assurance Program regarding bedbug inspection and treatment.”