Woman’s torment at return of mites
11:00am Friday 22nd February 2013 in Latest News
Lynne Cosh thought she had finally broken free from a living nightmare when she moved house to escape a flea infestation.
But three days after relocating she noticed little black dots while painting the walls and realised with horror it was happening again.
Ms Cosh, 58, was living in Queens Crescent, Chippenham, when the bloodsucking insects invaded in September. She was moved to another GreenSquare property in Derby Close in November, after a postman visiting Queen’s Crescent suffered flea bites and Royal Mail suspended deliveries there.
Ms Cosh said: “Environmental Health gave GreenSquare the all-clear in my last place and said I was okay to move my stuff.
“But now I’ve gone through it all again. I just want it to end.”
“I want my life back,” she said. “I can’t have people round and I don’t like to go out because they’re on me and I don’t want to pass them on. It’s made me a prisoner.”
Wiltshire Council’s environmental health department said it had believed the Queen’s Crescent house to be pest-free.
A spokesman said: “We believe a private pest control contractor carried out a flea treatment in the customer’s previous property before we were called.
“The insecticide they used would have been effective for several weeks; this could have been why the sample taken did not indicate a flea or mite problem.”
Now GreenSquare housing group say Ms Cosh must deal with the situation herself.
She rid her Derby Close home of fleas in December after a treatment by Abee Pest Control. But an inspection by ASW Pest Control Specialists in January reported she was sharing her home with mites.
The council said a sample they took from her current property only contained one house mite.
After ASW Pest Control carried out a treatment this month, Ms Cosh said she has suffered swollen eyes and peeling skin on her face and has been prescribed a course of steroids.
Derek Strawson, owner of ASW in Audley Road, said the job had been carried out according to health and safety rules.
The infestations had cost Ms Cosh more than £1,600, for inspections, removal, new carpets, a new bed and insecticide sprays, she said, and she has lost weight.
“One time a thing jumped and landed on my sandwich and I broke down and cried,” she said.
“I haven’t cooked for six months now, I just eat toast.”
Heather Stewart, neighbourhood manager at GreenSquare, said: “Whilst we can understand the frustration caused by pests, it is the tenants’ responsibility to deal with such situations. This is clearly set out as part of the conditions of tenancy.”
Ms Cosh said: “GreenSquare say it’s my problem, they say my house is habitable. But I say it’s inhumane, things crawling 24/7 in your hair and face, in your ears and up your nose. I don’t even want to use my own bed.”