Grayson County Shelter closes its doors while dealing with bed bugs

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GRAYSON COUNTY, TX -- The Grayson County Shelter has been battling bed bugs for the past few months.

But after trying every remedy, Director Ashley Earls said they finally decided to completely shut the doors and remodel the inside.

"We've kept it under control, but we wanted to rid the shelter of bed bugs," she said.

They're replacing the carpet, furniture and beds. And during the remodel, the residents have temporarily moved to other local shelters.

"They knew it was best for the shelter if they left for a couple of weeks," she said. "And they were willing to do that also. We've learned a lot over the last couple of months. We are bed bug experts."

The shelter's taking preventative measures, like installing a hot box outside. New residents can put their belongings in the box, and it will kill any bedbugs trying to hitch a ride.

They've also bought a high powered heater that they use to sanitize each room after a resident moves out.

"So we know how to get rid of them, and how to keep from getting them again," Earls said.

At the Salvation Army's Shelter, Major Don Wildish said they also take preventative measures to keep bed bugs away.

"Each day we strip our beds and we wipe them down. That's just part of our routine maintenance that we do every day," he said.

They instill a sense of domestic pride in their residents, he said.

"We have the residents that are here pay a lot of attention to our shelter, keeping it clean and just doing a lot of the house keeping here," he said.

And Earls agrees some responsibility falls on the residents to keep the shelter clean.

"The residents really have to help you in a situation like this. And if they're not following protocol to the 'T,' then it's very difficult to get rid of bed bugs," she said. "They are very very difficult to control."

The shelter plans to reopen March 15.

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