Monroe County handles bureau bed bug bureau at Justice Center

The district regularly sprays part of the Charlotte Zietlow Justice Center after employees in the district official’s office found some bed bugs. District officials say this is not an infestation and they are currently treating the area after consulting two independent pest control companies. However, some employees say they feel uncomfortable working in the building.

A total of four confirmed bed bugs were found in the district officer’s office at the Justice Center, District Attorney Jeff Cockerill told the Herald-Times. The last confirmed sighting was November 1st.

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Several inspections have been made by two different pest control companies since the problem was reported last month. According to Cockerill, these inspections did not reveal any evidence of bed bug infestation.

Instead, it appears that a building occupant, such as an employee or customer, has carried bed bugs into the building.

Timeline of events

The first report of bed bugs in or around the clerk’s office was made in early June when a guest with allegedly visible bugs on his person visited the room. The carpet was swept that night and a pest control company, Scott’s Termite & Pest Control, sprayed the area the next day.

It has not been determined whether the June report can be linked to the latest release, but more reports of bed bugs have surfaced since last month.

On October 11th, officials told district commissioners that some bed bugs had been seen in the district officer’s offices, according to emails from the district government. The next day the room was treated with a chemical application.

A few more bed bugs were reported to county officials on October 20. That evening, Scott conducted an inspection of the building. According to that inspection, the company concluded that the building was not infested and the bugs had been carried into the building by someone.

Traps were set in the area on October 22nd. District Secretary Nicole Browne said she bought additional traps to distribute as well. No bed bugs were found in the traps or during the inspection by a pest control company.

Nicole Browne is the Monroe County clerk.

During this time, some employees began doing office cleaning, such as removing snack scraps from drawers and vacuuming carpets.

In addition to using chemical applications, bedbugs can also be killed with extreme heat. Browne said she inquired about it, but was told that heat treatment could not be done in the office space.

On October 25th, two inspections, a second by Scott and one by Terminix, were conducted in the area. Neither of them found any bed bugs.

A week later, on November 1st, an adult bed bug was found by a user in the clerk’s office. According to district officials, this bug was not a survivor of chemical uses. The bed bug discovered that day was transported to the office after treatment.

No bed bugs have been found since then, district officials said.

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The county is currently spraying all of the clerks’ office space every two weeks and will do so for 90 days as directed by the pest control companies.

“We continue to monitor this on a daily basis and our employees and everyone are very vigilant for these things right now,” said Cockerill.

Browne said she was keen to develop a long-term, proactive solution beyond the mandatory 90 days to make sure the problem is resolved.

“We’re searching, searching, treating, speaking and trying to get one step ahead of this problem so it doesn’t come back,” said Browne.

Bed bugs like these hide in bed frames, box springs and mattresses, but also in carpets and behind skirting boards and wallpaper.

Employee letters show concern, discomfort

While the area continues to be covered, staff will continue to work in the clerk’s office and interact with local residents.

“We have to reconcile all of this with the fact that we are a public office and that the public must have access to what we do. That’s one of the things we always have on our mind when looking at these things – how do we keep it going? the public’s ability to use the offices they need, (like) the clerk’s offices? said Cockerill.

Although considered a nuisance, bed bugs pose little health risk to humans. Unlike other beetles such as ticks, the species does not transmit disease.

“Although the bedbugs can harbor a variety of pathogens, transmission to humans has not been proven and is unlikely,” wrote Michael F. Potter, an extension entomologist at the University of Kentucky, in an extensive study of bedbugs. “Their medical significance is primarily attributed to the itching and inflammation from their bites.”

Browne said she had also reached out to the Monroe County Health Department on the matter on behalf of her employees’ safety.

“I definitely want to make it clear that the health of my employees comes first,” said Browne.

In their understanding, bed bugs are not life threatening and do not transmit disease, Browne said.

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In his study, Potter also found that some health professionals say the stress of being among bed bugs “can have a significant impact on the emotional health and well-being of certain people.”

A member of staff reached out to The Herald-Times to share several letters from various staff that had been sent to the district commissioner’s office. These letters indicate additional work stress and frustration with district officials.

“The blatant disregard of the county staff and the public is amazing and, frankly, disgusting. Not only are Monroe County commissioners exposing the county’s workforce to hazardous work environments, they are putting our homes at risk, ”one employee wrote.

In many letters, employees express concern that they might accidentally take the bed bugs home with them.

“The last thing anyone wants, of course, is go to work and then come home with such a pesky insect that can really cause a lot of problems at home,” said Cockerill.

Employees who are concerned about taking little hitchhikers home have been instructed to go to a location outside of their home, such as a public house. B. in a garage, undress and as a precaution to throw your clothes in the dryer.

One staff member, a young woman who lives in a rural area, claimed to do this on a regular basis, but is frustrated with the measure.

“My safety is at risk because I have to strip completely naked in my unfinished garage when I arrive at my apartment. I also remind you that winter is approaching and temperatures are falling rapidly, ”the employee wrote in a letter to the commissioners.

According to Browne, the situation has led to some emotional moments for some employees. She thanked the staff for continuing their service to the public.

The district officer’s office at the Justice Center continues to be attended to every 10-14 days to ensure the issue has been resolved. It is also sprayed once a quarter as a preventive measure.

Employees are encouraged to report any concerns or reports of new bed bugs to the commissioner’s office and the county legal department.

Contact Rachel Smith at [email protected] or @RachelSmithNews on Twitter.

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