Odessa Motel Accused of Not Handling Bed Bug Problem - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Odessa Motel Accused of Not Handling Bed Bug Problem

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Anum Valliani
NewsWest 9

ECTOR COUNTY - Bed bugs are becoming a problem in the Basin. Ector County health inspectors say they've been seeing more and more of them in the past three years.

And now, a couple of people who just moved into the Basin say they're victims to the "bed bugs bite."

"I can't believe those tiny things can pack such punch," Sandra Swann said.

Swann is talking about bed bugs. Tiny, termite-sized parasites that love to get lost in fabrics, suck blood, leading to itchy welts and ultimately scabs and scars. 

Swann and her son Joseph Lopez were moving down from New Mexico and decided to stay at the Sahara Motel in Odessa where they say the bugs started feeding on them.

"The next few days were hell. We were in and out of the laundromat and we threw a bunch of stuff away. Finally went to the emergency room because they were everywhere. I have scars everywhere," Swann said. 

"You'll itch them till they bleed," Lopez said.

That was nearly a month ago, and even after taking prescription medicine, they're still feeling the burn.
Owners say they did the only thing they could at the time, which was offer the pair another room. But Swann and Lopez declined and left without filling out a formal complaint. (The front desk offers a form that customers can fill out to be sent directly to the Ector County Health Department.)

Bed bugs come out at night while the pair actually stayed in the daytime. In a statement by owner Ajay Patel, he says, "It is unfortunate what has happened to these individuals, however, they may have been bit wherever they had previously stayed."
Ector County Health Inspectors say the motel has been really cooperative with their inspections and exhibit good judgment on tossing out old furniture and mattresses.

Plus exterminators, Orkin, spray the entire motel on a monthly basis. A few days before their scheduled appointment at the end of November, the health inspectors came to room 127 and found there were no bed bugs in it.

Moreover, "In the three years, we came here, there have been several inspections. We've only found bed bugs once that was the last time Channel 9 was here," Ector County Health Inspector, Divina Bongo, said.

"Well even if you spray once a month, you have somebody check out of a room, another person comes into the room that has bed bugs, with them, the room will get bed bugs," Bruce Cunha, a fellow inspector, said.

He said like with anything else, the boom is just bringing in some unwanted guests, but the Sahara Motel is doing everything right in how it's going about the complaints.