A FAMILY have been forced to sleep on the floor and sofa for 12-months thanks to a bed bug infestation that has wrecked their lives.
Mum-of-four Mary Cove has "tried everything" to get rid of the swarm from her first-floor flat.
Despite her desperate efforts, Mary still sees the pests "crawling" over her 15-month-old baby Chelsie's basket and even found nasty bites on the tot's cheek.
The 37-year-old, from Southampton, Hants., said: "I haven't been sleeping in my own bed as I think there are more in my room.
"I have been sleeping on the sofa with my baby in a Moses basket, but my partner was getting bitten on the sofa as well.
"They are probably spread around the flat."
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The wingless insects leave "little blisters" all over the family's skin.
And it's got so bad her partner has been forced to move in with his mates to escape to infestation.
To add insult to injury, May says she has been forced to bin belongings covered in the creepy crawlies – but the family can't afford to replace them.
The pest invasion has added additional stress to the family's life as little Chelsie was born prematurely, weighing a tiny 900g.
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"It's a joke," at-her-wits-end Mary slammed.
Bed bugs – which are flat, brown and about 6mm's in size – can come from other infested areas or from used furniture.
The blood-suckers cannot jump or fly but can spread when items like luggage or purses are placed on infected soft or upholstered surfaces.
Although not dangerous, the pests cause extreme discomfort and stress to those bitten when they crawl out at night.
The mum claimed Albion Towers, a council-owned tower block in the St Mary's area of Southampton, is "infested" with the pests.
She added: "If (the council) does not fumigate the whole block, they are never going to get rid of them.
"I have sprayed the room with bed bug spray, but forgot to spray the curtains so they didn't go."
She said she is thankful that her other children, aged four, five and six, have not been savaged by the pests – which usually need to be routed by a pest controller.
Mary says the council have been in contact to say they will send workers out to fix the issue, but she has no idea when that will be.
Southampton City Council said it is working with pest controllers to manage the issue.
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A spokesperson for the council added: “Housing Management is aware of issues with a couple of properties in Albion Towers where bed bugs have been detected.
"We are working jointly with colleagues in Pest Control and are undertaking surveys and treatments to support residents."
Your rights as a council tenant explained:
Your landlord, the council, is responsible for the structure of the property and for keeping any shared parts of the building in a good condition.
But you’re responsible for day-to-day issues such as replacing curtains, keys or a shower rail in your home.
You must also keep the property in good condition, and if either you or your guests cause any damage, it’s down to you to fix it.
If you have been impacted by an issue that has come about as a result of problems with the building, this is the council's responsibility.
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