A federal government office in Fort Worth, Texas that helps people during disasters is dealing with a crisis itself – bed bugs.
Inside a sprawling facility near Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, the Small Business Administration’s Disaster Processing and Disbursement Center gears up after hurricanes and other disasters, assisting victims getting low-interest loans.
But in December, bed bugs turned up inside the office.
The SBA closed the facility for two days and brought in an exterminator, but now, more bed bugs have turned up in another part of the building.
The SBA “takes seriously all concerns related to the health, safety and welfare of our employees,” center director Roger Garland said in a statement. “We are again providing an immediate and aggressive response for the safety of our employees and their families.”
Exterminators will be on site Friday night and the office will remain closed over the weekend, Garland said.
Bed bugs are easy to spot but difficult to stop, according to experts.
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"It's one of the most challenging pests we run into,” said Greg Miller, an entomologist for Ideal Pest Control in Fort Worth.
"Office buildings, hospitals, dentist's offices, doctor's offices, they can be anywhere,” Miller said. “Bed bugs are hitchhikers. Anywhere people go and congregate, it's possible to have a bed bug infestation."
He said exterminators use several techniques to get rid of them.
"It's really all about being able to identify where they are, where the infestation is, and go in there and treat those areas,” Miller said. “We use vacuums, we use heat, we use all of the above."
Left untreated, bed bugs will multiply exponentially, he said.
But it's not all bad news.
"People really freak out about it, but they're not dangerous,” Miller said. “They have been proven, they do not spread disease like mosquitoes do.”