Police Say Someone Intentionally Released Bedbugs Into a Pennsylvania Walmart

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Walmart store
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If bedbugs have ever made their way into your home, then you know the havoc they can wreak is considerable. Not only can an infestation cost thousands to rectify (and likely lead you to toss furniture, clothes, and more), but they can also have negative health impacts. So when a Walmart manager reported a bedbug infestation at a store in Edinboro, Pennsylvania, police immediately took the matter seriously. But new details about how and where the parasites were found only make this story even more disturbing.

  • CNN reports that someone is believed to have intentionally released the bedbugs in the store last week.

    They were first discovered inside a closed pill bottle, which was left inside a boy's jacket on Thursday, the outlet reports. But although the pill bottle was reportedly closed when the manager discovered it, that doesn't mean the bugs were contained. According to police, an Ecolab employee reported seeing the critters crawling around the men's changing rooms on Friday, shortly before a second pill bottle was found.

    Ecolab, a health and safety company, later confirmed that the insects found on Thursday were indeed live bedbugs (and if that doesn't make your skin crawl, I don't know what will). Those found in the second pill bottle, however, were dead.

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  • State police are now investigating the matter, which has understandably put Edinboro residents on edge.

    "A third-party pest management service has visited the store and we are working with them to assess next steps," a spokesperson for Walmart told CNN. "In the meantime, we have blocked off the impacted area."

    Police were able to obtain a fingerprint from the pill bottle and are said to be reviewing store surveillance footage for any clues as to who might be behind the sick scare. But as for now, no one has been charged in connection with the matter.

  • Bedbugs are often difficult to spot because of their size, but they multiply quickly and create major headaches for those affected.

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    According to PestWorld.org, they're often confused with other pests, such as fleas. But unlike fleas, they can leave nasty bites and welts on human skin, which is often a person's first sign that there's a problem. They typically infest things like couches and bed frames, but will also take refuge inside things like purses, toys, and even lamps. Believe it or not, the outlet reports that 1 in 5 Americans has had a bedbug infestation at one point or another in their home -- or if they haven't, chances are they know someone who has. 

    And if you think they're easy to get rid of, think again.

    "Bed bugs are experts at hiding," according to the CDC.

    They can also draw blood from a person for up to five minutes before "retreating to digest," PestWorld.org reports -- and they can survive on that blood for several months before needing to eat again. They can also withstand a wide range of temperatures -- from nearly freezing to 122 degrees Fahrenheit -- which means that if you want to get rid of them for good, you probably have to call in the professionals. And if you do, prepared to lay out a chunk of change. According to CNN, professional exterminations of bedbugs can typically cost between $200 to $1,500 per room, and sometimes, you need more than one visit.