YMCA Battles Bed Bugs at Camp - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

YMCA Battles Bed Bugs at Camp

Cabin at Camp Carter quarantined after bug-sniffing dog finds bed bugs



    Bed bugs were found at a a camp run by the Fort Worth YMCA last week.

    You expect to see birds, horses and bugs at camp -- but not bed bugs. However, an exterminator, an entomologist and YMCA officials found bed bugs in a cabin at Camp Carter near the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base.

    Tony Shuman, president and CEO of the Fort Worth Metropolitan YMCA, said the bugs were found in one row of bunk beds in one cabin.

    A parent who stayed in the cabin alerted the YMCA after finding what seemed to be a bed bug bite. The staff closed down the cabin and brought in an exterminator. The exterminator wasn't able to locate any of the pests, so they called in a dog that can smell bed bugs.

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    "They brought the entomologist out with the dogs and went through the cabins [and] only found an isolated incident in one cabin," Shuman said.

    The other seven cabins at Camp Carter are still in use. On Monday, no students or groups were at the camp because no one was scheduled to be there.

    The bed bugs were likely brought in by one of the many thousands of people who visit the camp each year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says bed bugs can be easily transported and can show up in any environment, no matter how clean it may be.

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    David Jefferson, the environmental health manager for the Tarrant County Public Health Department, said bed bugs do not recognize social class and can be found anywhere at almost any time.

    "Bed bugs are more of a public health nuisance than a public health hazard," Jefferson said. "The way people try to get rid of them often causes more problems than the bed bugs themselves."

    People who try to use pesticides themselves can put themselves at risk, he said.

    The county health department and the state health department said the YMCA is handling the situation the way that it should.

    Schools and groups will continue using the camp while the extermination process continues, but affected cabin won't be reopened for several more weeks.

    Shuman said the bug-sniffing dog would be brought back after the extermination to check that all is clear for campers to return. He also said that YMCA staff is now trained in how to spot the bugs before they become a larger nuisance.

    Bug-sniffing dogs also will make regular visits to make sure the camp is safe from the parasites in the future.

    "You just can't control every one that comes to camp and what they're bringing with them," Shuman said. "Unfortunately, we have found bed bugs, but we're working diligently on getting rid of those for the safety of everyone who visits camp."

    The Burleson Independent School District said it has postponed several of its classes from going to Camp Carter until it hears from health officials that the problem is gone. Assistant Superintendent Brad Lewis said the move was made out of an abundance of caution and that it is only a postponement.