Bed bug complaints verified at 17 public places in Maricopa County

A list of public places in the Phoenix metro area where bed bugs have been found, according to Maricopa County officials.

From the already-well publicized AMC movie theater infestation to the recent bed bugs at Sky Harbor, experts say businesses could be doing everything right to try and prevent bed bugs and all it takes is one person to ruin it.

The creepy critters have popped up in a variety of public places but 12 News has uncovered a list of those you may not have heard of.

The Maricopa County Environmental Services Department said it's received 246 bed bug complaints within the last year, 81 of which were considered "verified," meaning inspectors found evidence of an infestation at the location.

EARLIER: AMC Westgate 20 investigating bed bug claim

According to a report obtained by 12 News, 17 of those verified complaints were at public places, including various Valley hotels and even high-end resorts.

All of the reports have since been closed, which means the business has since taken care of the issue and the county has verified it. 

Back in February, the list shows The JW Marriot in Scottsdale had a verified bed bug complaint.

And in January, the hotel formerly known as the Firesky Resort & Spa also dealt with bed bugs. 

“Bed bugs like places where people tend to sit or lay down, so you will find them in all kinds of public places,” said Johnny Dilone, a spokesperson for the Maricopa County Environmental Services Department.  

If the county gets a bed bug complaint, the Environmental Services Department investigates it and Dilone says many times, it has nothing to do with how clean the business is.

“A lot of places may be proactive and taking proper care but if it's a place that has a high volume of traffic, with a lot of people coming in and out, there's still that potential,” he said.

Also on the list were two Phoenix schools: Alta E. Butler Elementary in April and just last month, Manuel Pena Jr. Elementary.

Both schools said they immediately called a professional to take care of the issue, notified parents and have since had no subsequent problems.

ALSO: Sky Harbor terminal latest victim of bed bug infestation

Manuel Pena Jr. Elementary School also sent 12 News this statement:

“Administrators at Manuel 'Lito' Pena Elementary found approximately one bed bug in a classroom last year. The Cartwright School District followed the district issued bed bug protocol as outlined in the Parent/Student Handbook. The classroom was sprayed and the students were checked, along with their backpacks. Parents were notified of the incident and the situation was resolved.”

“A lot of establishments when they learn about a complaint, they are proactive,” said Dilone, “and they contact their licensed pest control company right away.”

In March, a public library in Tempe also had a verified complaint.

The city of Tempe told 12 News someone returned books with bed bugs inside, but the issue was quickly taken care of.

The representative went on to say the library is proactively working to fight bed bugs with an inspection every six weeks by a certified inspection company that uses canines as a means to detect bed bugs The most recent inspection on Oct. 5 came back negative, according to the library official.

According to the county, every business on the list had some evidence of bed bugs in order to be listed as a verified.

Dilone says the county follows up on every verified complaint to make sure a licensed pest control company was called out and to later verify the problem has been eradicated.

Again, all of the public places on the county's list are now listed as closed.

Dilone urged anyone who has a concern about bed bugs to notify the Maricopa County Environmental Services of any complaints.

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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