How much does it cost to get rid of a single bed bug? At an emergency dispatch center in Pittsburgh, about $12,000 so far.
A dispatcher found one bed bug Friday at Allegheny County's 911 dispatch center and the county shelled out $12,000 to Terminix to set 140 traps during the weekend but caught no additional bugs, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported.
The county relocated dispatchers to three backup locations Tuesday so crews could treat the building and clean workstations. That cleaning costs $33,000 but was budgeted and originally scheduled for later this year.
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"We decided to err on the side of caution because our employee safety is just as important as public safety," said Amie Downs, a county spokeswoman.
Dini Miller, a professor specializing in urban entomology at Virginia Tech, said public officials tend to "go nuts" when they find bed bugs, and he called the county's response a waste of money.
"That kind of decision-making is just stupid, period. It's hysteria," Miller said.
More cleaning could be in the works after a worker with the county's Department of Human Services claimed she was bitten in the building over the weekend.
The county hasn't confirmed the culprit was a bed bug but is working with the property manager to make sure the entire building gets the same treatment as the 911 center.