Pennsylvania State Police are searching for the pest who left bedbugs in a Walmart.
A store manager of a Walmart southwest of Erie found a closed pill bottle containing live bugs in a boy’s jacket that was for sale Thursday, according to police. He threw out the jacket and the container without contacting authorities, but found more insects later.
An Ecolab representative discovered bugs crawling around the men’s fitting room the next day and identified them as bloodsucking bedbugs Friday.
A Walmart employee found another closed pill bottle with several dead bedbugs lying on the floor of the men’s department Saturday, according to police. That’s when a Walmart employee reported the case of the crawlies to police.
Trooper Timothy McConnell collected fingerprints from the second bug-filled bottle, and the evidence gathered was sent to the department’s forensics unit, according to a police statement.
The bug release appears to be isolated to that one Walmart near Edinboro, Pennsylvania, according to police.
A Walmart spokesperson told WENY News that the retail giant is working with law enforcement to find the culprits. The affected area has been treated by a pest-control company and has been blocked off from the public, the station reported.
The store’s surveillance video is also under review, according to police.
Bedbugs can hide inside cracks or behind wallpaper or clutter, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The slow-moving insects can travel between different locations through folds of luggage or folded clothes.
Bites from the flightless bugs can lead to blisters, hives or an allergic reaction, according to the Mayo Clinic.
There’s no quick method to get rid of a bedbug infestation, but chemical and nonchemical methods are effective — along with patience, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency.