The discovery of one bedbug in an office inside Philadelphia City Hall prompted officials to send workers home so exterminators could fumigate — a precaution that cost the city a pretty penny.
The despised pest was found inside the city's 311 call center located on the first floor of the historic municipal building. The call center handles nonemergency questions and requests from citizens and visitors.
Call center employees were asked to leave and an exterminator was called in to investigate what was initially described as an apparent bedbug infestation.
Mark McDonald, spokesman for Mayor Michael Nutter, said a dead bug was found Thursday morning and presented to a representative from the Office of Public Property and the exterminator. A search could not locate any additional insects, he told NBC10.
The exterminator still fumigated the office as a precaution, according to McDonald.
There were no reports of the insects in other parts of city hall.
The call center continued to handle 311 requests over social media and email, McDonald said.
Officials reopened the office Friday morning at 8 a.m.
Worries over the spread of bedbugs can cost municipalities big bucks.
The City of Pittsburgh shelled out $12,000 last month to have 140 traps set out in its 911 dispatch center after a single bedbug was found. The extermination traps didn't capture any other pests. City officials said they'd rather pay the money and err on the side of caution than deal with an infestation.
McDonald said Philadelphia's extermination bill will be about $2,500.