The ongoing bed bug infestation at a Florida fire station should serve as a warning of potential future problems at Manhattan Criminal Court. Last week panic ensued when court spectators saw bed bugs crawling on a defendant. Court employees cordoned off several rows of seats which were sprayed with pesticide by a pest control company, but employees say they still feel itchy.
And with good reason. Bed bugs feed on human blood, but they don’t live on people. After feeding, these tiny insects slip off into dark cracks in furniture and burrow into tiny crevices in flooring to digest their meal and await their next victim. The odds of a repeat bed bug infestation at court is high, particularly because, unlike Cryonite which kills bed bugs at all stages of development, pesticide sprays only kill bugs, not their eggs. When eggs hatch, reinfestations occur.
That’s what happened at Clearwater’s downtown fire station. When bed bugs were initially discovered in the station’s second-floor bunk area, firefighters were moved to other parts of the building. The second floor was heat treated and mattresses removed and replaced. A week later, bed bugs were back, prompting removal of carpeting and wooden lockers to eliminate bed bug hiding places.
Several things make it likely that bed bug woes aren’t over yet for either Manhattan Criminal Court or Clearwater firefighters. We’ll talk about that next time.