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.
U.S. & World
Stories that affect your life across the U.S. and around the world.
"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.