Though last week, the Brick Township Municipal Offices were , and Mayor Stephen C. Acropolis said today that the bed bugs issue is being handled.
“One live bug and one dead bug were found by the extermination service,” commented Acropolis. “There were four small areas identified as ‘hot spots’ with the potential for bed bugs; in the human resources department, in the tax collector’s office, in the briefing room and in the clerk’s office.”
Though referred to as “bed bugs”, the tiny, parasitic insects don't necessarily live in beds or even residential homes. According to the North Carolina State University Department of Entomology, bed bugs are most often transported from one location to another by piggy-backing on luggage, briefcases and similar items. Offices, which include a great amount of ductwork and false ceilings, provide passageways for the bugs to spread. Bed bugs feed by injecting their mouthparts into a host – a human or an animal – and ingesting its blood.
“An extermination service came to the municipal building, using specially-trained dogs for detection of bed bugs,” said the mayor. “Their handler brings them to all the rooms, where they check around the outside and all the objects inside, like chairs, desks and file cabinets. When it locates a ‘hot spot’, the dog will sit down or put its head against the affected area. Identifying locations first was very important.”
Acropolis said that a plan is currently being discussed to have the trained dogs return for monthly visits, until the municipal building shows no “hot spots” for two consecutive months of testing.
“It ended up not being a large issue. The exterminator said that if it were, the whole building would need to have been defogged,” Acropolis stated.
The mayor said that the treatment process which was utilized involved the use of a crystallized substance which cuts open the outer shell of the bed bugs and renders them lifeless.
As far as where the bed bugs originated from, the mayor did not know specifically, but said that it’s likely they were brought into the municipal building from the outside.
Last week, however, no one was taking any chances.
“Before we knew what the extent of the situation was, we did what we thought was best and erred on the side of caution. From our standpoint, I’d rather send the employees home,” said Acropolis, on the decision to close the municipal building on Thursday.
During the extermination and treatment process, the Brick Township Police Department was temporarily relocated to the Mobile Command Unit at the municipal complex, in order to complete their normal operations.
The town’s administrator also spoke on the bed bug remediation process.
“The exterminator and dogs came in, and treated the affected areas appropriately,” Township Administrator Scott Pezarras said.
Pezarras said that last week’s bed bug treatment was billed at $2,800, and added that the town has received a tentative “scope” proposal for further remediation at this point, but not a complete price proposal.
The township administrator indicated that discussions would be ongoing as to precautionary measures that could be taken by the town to prevent another occurrence of this nature at the municipal building.