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What happened to USAID's bedbugs?

By Ed O'Keefe

The Ronald Reagan Building is bedbug-free, at least for now.

Pest experts cleared the nasty critters out of the offices of the U.S. Agency for International Development on Tuesday evening, according to the General Services Administration, which owns and operates the building. Pest specialists also found no trace of the blood-sucking bugs in other nearby rooms, GSA said.

"It's been addressed completely and successfully," GSA Administrator Martha Johnson said Thursday in a conversation with reporters, adding that federal workers can rest assured that GSA owned and operated facilities are bedbug-free.

USAID and GSA literally sent in the dogs to sniff out the bedbugs last Friday, according to an e-mail sent to USAID workers on Monday and obtained by Al "In the Loop" Kamen (see below). The K9s (do we call pest-sniffing dogs K9s?) located the bugs in two cubicles and a nearby closet on the fourth floor of the Reagan Building:

Sent: Monday, October 04, 2010 11:40 PM
Subject: Bed Bugs in the Workplace

USAID/W Notice


Subject: Bed Bugs in the Workplace

This notice is to provide further information about the presence of bed bugs within USAID space in the RRB and to advise employees of the actions being taken to eliminate them quickly and completely. At this point, the problem appears to be present only in two cubicles and a closet on the fourth floor. USAID senior management has notified AFSA and AFGE and affected employees of the situation and the planned next steps to resolve the problem. The General Services Administration (GSA), who oversees our building, and USAID are working proactively to eradicate the pests and prevent their spread to other areas of the building.

After receiving a complaint from an employee regarding a potential pest control problem, GSA was notified and an inspection of the space was requested. The inspection on Friday, October 1 with K9 detection dogs went well and identified a small and localized problem. The team inspected the whole Bureau, including its front office and all conference rooms. Three small contiguous areas were identified as possibly being infested.

GSA's contracted pest control company came to the RRB that evening to inspect the
affected areas and develop an action plan. The company will return October 5, at 7:00 p.m. to administer a series of treatments to the areas. The two cubicles and a small storage closet will be treated with an aerosol spray, steam, and a liquid mixture. The area will be able to be reoccupied four hours after treatment, and employees will be able to work normally the next day. Approximately three weeks after the treatment, the area will be re-inspected to ensure that there are no residual problems.

Senior management will continue to monitor this situation closely and will provide updates as necessary.

Point of Contact: Eric Leonard, M/AS/FMD, (202) xxx-xxx,

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

By Ed O'Keefe  | October 7, 2010; 1:00 PM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Workplace Issues  
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That doesn't look like a bedbug to me.

Posted by: MStreet1 | October 7, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

What does this picture represent? Did someone think it was a bedbug?

Posted by: Reader4 | October 7, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

We don't want to use DDT near bird habitats again, but is there harm in using it inside to kill bed bugs - I read somewhere, it is an old effective pesticide against the?

Posted by: edismae | October 7, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

DDT is not effective against bedbugs. that is a myth.

As long as they have those bedbug sniffing dogs, they should be continuely inspecting all federal buildings to prevent any further infestations in the future.

Posted by: MarilynManson | October 7, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Since there were so few of them, it would be my suspicion that they are coming in WITH the employees.

I hope the taxpayers are not going to be expected to pay for the domiciles of all employees to be checked!!

Posted by: OregonStorm | October 7, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

There are many questionable aspects to this article. The image accompanying the article is of a house centipede, not a bed bug. Hopefully, the conclusion that the facility was infested by bed bugs was based on the discovery of a bona fide bed bug, rather than on finding a centipede... or observing the reaction of a dog to an odor. Before going into battle, one must know thy enemy. For educational information on the biology and management of bed bugs, and on independent and expert identification resources, see:

Posted by: RichardPollack | October 7, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Some are saying the picture is a bedbug and others are saying it's a centipeded, but it looks like a reporter to me.

Posted by: blasmaic | October 7, 2010 8:45 PM | Report abuse

do the details really matter?

all that matters is whether the treatment works or not.

and jeez, it's not like they can't be found somewhere else in the building tomorrow or next week due to a reinfestation or hatched eggs.

come to think of it what is the point of this story in the first place?

Next week: "criminals responsible for downtown crime-scene apprehended by police"? ok this is stupid in that same way.

Posted by: chucklebuck | October 7, 2010 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Chucklebuck, Yes, the details do, indeed, matter. Would you saw off your leg because you have a hangnail on your index finger? Of course not. The 'treatment' doesn't match the problem. Then why spend a phenomenal sum of money and apply pesticides to battle bed bugs if you don't really have these pests? Means to combat bed bugs are far different than what you'd use to attack most other pests. Obtaining a definitive identification of a pest should precede any kind of treatment. This is what we do at (, and we're not independent of those who provide the treatments.

Posted by: RichardPollack | October 8, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse

My previous post should have said that we ARE independent of those that offer treatments. We have NO financial connection to them. Sorry about the cut and paste problem.

Posted by: RichardPollack | October 8, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

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