Pa. police probe release of bed bugs in store

Investigators are itching to get their hands on who released live bed bugs in a Walmart changing room

By Keith Gushard
The Meadville Tribune, Pa.

EDINBORO, Pa. — Pennsylvania State Police and store management apparently are itching to get their hands on who released live bed bugs in the changing room of the men’s department inside the Walmart at Edinboro on Thursday.

As of Saturday afternoon, investigators still were scratching their heads trying to find the suspect or suspects who instigated the pest problem.

Bed bugs are small, flat, parasitic insects that feed solely on the blood of people and animals while they sleep, according to information on the federal Centers for Disease Control’s website. Reddish-brown in color, bed bugs are wingless, are about 1 millimeter to 7 millimeters in size (roughly the size of Lincoln’s head on a penny), and may live several months without a blood meal, according to the CDC.

Store staff found one closed pill bottle containing live bed bugs crawling around inside it around 8 a.m. Thursday, according to a news release issued Saturday by state police at Girard. The bottle had been found in a boy’s jacket for sale in the boy’s department of the store, the release said.

The Erie office of Ecolab Inc., a pest control company, was contacted and responded to the store on Friday, the release said.

The Ecolab employee saw bugs crawling around in the men’s changing rooms and identified them as bed bugs, the release said. The release didn’t indicate how many bugs there may have been.

A second closed pill bottle containing several dead bugs was found on the floor of the men’s department by a store employee, the release said.

According to the CDC, bed bugs aren’t known to spread disease, but they can be an annoyance because their presence may cause itching and loss of sleep. Sometimes the itching can lead to excessive scratching that can sometimes increase the chance of a secondary skin infection, the CDC said.

A bed bug bite affects each person differently and bite marks may take as long as 14 days to develop in some people — if at all, according to the CDC.

Bite responses can range from an absence of any physical signs of the bite, to a small bite mark, to a serious allergic reaction. Bed bugs aren’t considered to be dangerous; however, an allergic reaction to several bites may need medical attention, the CDC said.

The investigation continues, state police said.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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