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Myrtle Beach bedbugs case 'bad for business'

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MYRTLE BEACH, N.C. (WBTW) — A South Carolina attorney who specializes in bed bug cases said Myrtle Beach accounts for 80% of the statewide business.

Columbia-based attorney Trevor Eddy said the bed bug case fell on his knees when he first opened his firm in 2018. Over the past year, his active case count has nearly tripled to 120.

“We’re honestly signing them sooner than we can close the case,” Eddie said.

Over the past year, the business has grown from just him and his assistant to five full-time staff. The majority of the company’s cases are attributed to bed bug bites.

“This is a big loss to one of the biggest industries in South Carolina,” said Eddy. “I don’t like the fact that tourism is booming here and is starting to build a reputation for bed bugs because it’s bad for business. It’s bad for the local economy.”

Kira Hudson is one of hundreds of Bed Bug clients represented by Eddy’s company. Hudson was vacationing in Myrtle Beach in November 2021 when she claimed she had been bitten more than 350 times by bed bugs.

“It felt like a knife came out of my face,” Hudson said.

Hudson was staying in a short-term rental condo at the Ocean’s One Resort in Myrtle Beach. She said she was moved to another room but her vacation was ruined as bite marks still covered her body from head to toe.

“I was in a car accident,” Hudson said. “I’ve had a few things in my life, but this one was the most painful.”

Hudson was allergic to bed bug bites and was forced to go to an urgent care facility to treat the pain and swelling while on vacation.

Hudson and Eddie filed a lawsuit against the resort and condo owners based on $400 medical bills.

Hudson said, “The pain was horrendous and I just want to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone.

Eddy said there are more cases involving short-term rentals like Airbnb and condos on vacation rental site Vrbo. He said the quality of care and maintenance of these rentals varies greatly.

“These Silicon Valley companies only operate these websites, so this is a big concern,” Eddy said. “They don’t inspect or manage, they do pest control and clean these units. It’s all up to the individual owner.”

Eddy estimates that 15% of current cases are for short-term rentals, not hotels, motels or resorts. He added that the industry needed more oversight in South Carolina and suggested an online, government-run database with grades and complete lists of bed bug complaints similar to the guidelines restaurants must follow. .

Eddy said he hopes his lawsuit will bring attention and change to the industry.

“I believe that over time, these hotels will either implement better policies or start adopting policies that are already on paper and will better enforce these policies.

A proposed bill in South Carolina would require notification of bed bug infestations or could face fines or imprisonment for owners and landlords.

Oceans One Resort told News13 on Friday that the individuals who own the condos will be responsible for cleaning and maintenance, even if the resort is named in the lawsuit.

“I had nothing to do with this person,” said Ray Booth, general manager of Ocean’s One Resort. “We didn’t book her, we didn’t get her money, we didn’t even check her in.”

Booth said he was sorry for the bad experience, adding that rooms the resort is responsible for are being actively sprayed quarterly and regular pest control spraying is done monthly.