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Chicken-Fried News: Bedbug battle

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INGVARD ASHBY
  • Ingvard Ashby

Several statewide agencies, including Oklahoma Department of Education, are struggling with unwanted visitors. This time, however, instead of teachers or parents asking for better funding and support, it’s those pests nobody seems to know if you spell as one word or two: bedbugs. (AP style rules. Sorry.)

Oliver Hodge Memorial Education Building is a five-story building that also houses at least three other agencies — not to mention the fact that it’s on the same campus as the State Capitol — so it’s a large building with a lot of foot traffic.

“People may be bringing them from the outside in,” Clayton Schiegg, ABC Home & Commercial operations manager, told KFOR. “They bring them in from clothing, jackets, purses, backpacks, things like that.”

An initial email was sent to employees in late September that they were planning a pest spray treatment for the entire building. Weeks later, a second email confirmed they had bedbugs.

“Then a third email goes as far as offering staff the opportunity to have their homes treated for bedbugs at cost,” reported KFOR’s Chase Horn. “Schiegg says that makes sense because that’s probably how this whole thing started.”

Officials have already paid nearly $7,200 to treat bedbugs, according to CNHI News Oklahoma’s Janelle Stecklein. A spokesman for Office of Management and Enterprise Services, which manages the building, told Stecklein that only one dead bedbug was discovered inside the building. However, a spokeswoman for the state’s department of education told Stecklein that they had found five bedbugs in the building since Oct. 25.

Though the department didn’t want to go on camera, they did release a statement saying there was visual confirmation of five bedbugs with two individuals reporting bites that “may or may not be consistent with bedbugs.”

“There is no evidence of an actual infestation,” the statement reads.

But like Schiegg told KFOR, if five bugs have already been found, there’s probably several more hiding across the building. Officials have already placed glue traps after a woman complained about receiving more bites, which doesn’t seem like the most effective idea, but it’s probably better than burning down the whole building.  

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