Bedbug infestations on the rise, Sky Harbor terminal latest victim

More reports of bedbugs found in public areas cause concern for Arizona public health officials.

First, it was an infestation at an AMC movie theater at Westgate.

Now, two weeks later bedbugs have been found in the seating of Terminal 4 at Sky Harbor Airport.

“The hot spots are anytime when you have a lot of people -- transient environments,” said Will Humble.

Before becoming the executive director of the Arizona Public Health Association, Humble spent 23 years as the director of the Arizona Department of Health Services.

So, he’s dealt with his fair share of bedbug complaints.

“Bedbugs are hitchhikers, that's how they get into houses,” Humble said. “They don't come in like a cockroach or scorpion, they come in on something.”

And with so many people passing through Sky Harbor carrying bags and clothes, he's not surprised the creepy crawlers managed to burrow themselves inside the benches of Terminal 4.

“They like cushy surfaces because there's lots of places to live and hide,” Humble said.

And if it seems like you're hearing about bedbugs more than ever before, Humble says you’re right. He says up until around 10 years ago, the state got little to no infestation complaints but since then, the problem has exploded.

“Places where there never used to be bedbugs, they're all over the place now,” he said.

In a statement to 12 News, Sky Harbor leaders said they’ve gotten rid of the padded benches pre-security in Terminal 4 and a professional pest control company will follow up to confirm that the areas are clear.

“It's a lot easier to prevent then to eradicate,” said Humble.

That's why he advises everyone to check items bedbugs like to hide in, like luggage, clothes and furniture, before bringing them in your home.

“That little bell should go off in your head: ‘Where did this come from?’” Humble said.

When it comes to what caused the bedbug problem to exploded, Humble says there are several theories, including a change in the pesticides we use, but nobody really knows for sure.

© 2017 KPNX-TV


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment