Last September, an individual found a dead bed bug within a file folder on the third floor of the Tucson City Hall building. In response to this finding, a pest control firm on contract with the city inspected the building, but found no signs of bed bugs. As a precaution, pest controllers treated the entire third floor for bed bug pests anyway. In the days that followed, several other government employees encountered bed bugs within the city hall building. These early bed bug sightings marked the beginning of a three month long struggle to eradicate the insect pests from the building. Tucson City Hall was declared free of bed bugs shortly before Christmas, and this long running infestation has since been described in national news reports and leading pest control magazines. As it turned out, the bed bug infestation started when an employee transported the pests into the building from their infested home.
The bed bug infestation in Tucson City Hall was first confirmed to exist by office staff and pest control professionals when several live specimens were found on a fourth floor office chair on September 30th. Tucson City Spokesman Andy Squire stated that the bed bugs originated from an employee’s home. This employee was sent home after it became clear that he/she had inadvertently transported bed bugs into the building. Of course, it is not known if the employee has returned to work, as the employee’s identity is protected by privacy laws. After the infestation was found, employees were transferred to other floors that were believed to be free of bed bug pests, but it is not known if any of the employees transported bed bugs into their home from the infested building. The city hired around-the-clock staff to monitor bed bug movements for several days in order to determine which areas of the building had become infested. As recently as December 10th, bed bug-sniffing dogs were brought into the building to locate bed bug hotspots on the third, fourth and fifth floors, but the full extent of the infestation remains unknown to the general public.
Have you encountered bed bug pests within a government building, like the DMV or a library?