MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) — A South Carolina bedbug attorney said Myrtle Beach accounts for 80% of his business statewide.
Columbia attorney Trevor Eddy says bed bug lawsuits fell on his neck when he opened his practice in 2018. In the past year, his number of active cases has nearly tripled to reach 120.
“We’re signing them, honestly, faster than we can close the cases,” Eddy said.
What started with him and an assistant has grown to five full-time employees over the past year. The majority of the company’s cases are suspected bedbug bites.
“This is massive damage to one of our biggest industries in the state of South Carolina,” Eddy said. “Tourism is huge here, and I hate that we’re starting to get a bed bug reputation because it’s bad for business. It’s bad for local economies.
Kira Hudson is one of hundreds of bed bug clients represented by Eddy’s firm. Hudson was vacationing in Myrtle Beach in November 2021 when she claims she was bitten more than 350 times by bedbugs.
“It felt like knives were coming out of my face,” Hudson said.
Hudson was staying in a short-term rental condo at the Oceans One Resort in Myrtle Beach. She was moved to another room, but said her vacation was ruined nonetheless, as bite marks covered her body from head to toe.
“I had a car accident,” Hudson said. “I had several things in my life, and this was by far the most painful.”
Hudson is allergic to bed bug bites and said she was forced to attend an urgent care facility to treat the pain and swelling while still on vacation. She said the pain eventually lasted two weeks.
Hudson and Eddy filed a lawsuit against the resort and condo owner based on $400 medical bills for which Hudson said she was not reimbursed as promised.
“I just want to make sure this never happens to anyone because the pain was just remarkable,” Hudson said.
Eddy said a growing portion of his cases have been with short-term rentals like Airbnbs and condos on vacation rental site Vrbo. He said the quality of care and maintenance of these rentals varies widely.
“It’s a huge concern because these companies in Silicon Valley, they just run these websites,” Eddy said. “They don’t inspect, don’t manage — do pest control, do clean up of these units. Everything is left to the individual owners.
Eddy estimates that 15% of current cases are against short-term rentals, not hotels, motels and resorts. He said the industry needs more monitoring in South Carolina, suggesting a government-run online database with a rating and comprehensive list of bedbug complaints similar to guidelines restaurants must follow. .
Eddy said he hopes his lawsuits will put the industry on notice and force change.
“I believe over time these hotels will start to implement better policies or adopt the policies they already have on paper and enforce those policies better,” Eddy said.
A proposed bill in South Carolina would have required notice of a bedbug infestation or landlords and landlords could face fines or even jail time. The bill died in committee.
Oceans One Resort told News13 on Friday that even though the resort is named in the lawsuit, the condo owner is responsible for cleaning and maintenance.
“We had nothing to do with this person,” said Ray Booth, general manager of Oceans One Resort. “We didn’t take the reservation. We don’t receive any money from her and we don’t even register them.
Booth said he was sorry for the bad experience, adding that the rooms the resort is responsible for are proactively sprayed quarterly and routine extermination sprays are done monthly.