Bed bug scare at Goodwill warehouses

A bed bug is displayed at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History in Washington, Wednesday, March 30, 2011. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
July 31, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Exterminators are investigating after bed bug scare at two Goodwill warehouses in the Bay Area.

Workers at the Goodwill say they spotted bed bugs in the San Francisco and Burlingame warehouses. Some of their customers say they find the news unsettling.

"I feel a little shocked a little bit, ya know, they should be checking their stuff if they're gonna be selling to the public," Victor Matushenko said.

But a local exterminator tells us what shocks him is that we don't hear about this more often.

"It didn't surprise me because it's so widespread in today's industry," said Western Exterminator District Manager Dale Ingold. "We find evidence of bed bugs in hotels, movie theatres, planes, trains, boats, everywhere, we do cruise ships, I did a library in one city."

A spokesman for the Goodwill says the non-profit has thrown away enough donations to fill a tractor trailer. He says they also steam-cleaned hundreds of items. And they plan to bring in an exterminator to the Burlingame warehouse today, along with a pest sniffing dog for an inspection.

"Just like a drug dog, they're gonna identify where the issue is in facility and then it can be addressed locally without doing the whole facility," Ingold said. "The dogs are very impressive, they can detect up to one bedbug egg."

The Goodwill says this will cost the agency hundreds of thousands of dollars because selling donations makes up 80 percent of the non-profit's income.

Officials say they have not found bed bugs in any of their stores. But this exterminator says you should inspect items like bedding or bedside tables for bed bugs before buying them. He also notes that you should check the cracks and the crevices because that's where they like to hide.

The Goodwill says to please hold off on donating for a week or two. They're going to need some time to eradicate these pests and get up and running again.

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