Bed bugs on the bus? Fox 4 talks with pest control expert

CREATED Jul 7, 2011

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Chopping his son's bed into pieces, James Lincoln works to keep his family safe.

"That's a bed bug there," he shows me. "You know it ain't no fun when your child is getting eaten up by them all night."

The pests are crawling all over his Fort Myers Beach house. He thinks they got there on his 10 year old son John's school bus, because he found bugs crawling all over John's backpack. He says he's complained to the school district about it.

"This could be easily controlled like I'm controlling it in my own house, just by spraying," Lincoln told me. "That's all we're asking. We're not asking people to go out there and commit Armageddon."

So why hasn't the district done anything? I went to District spokesperson Joe Donzelli to find out.

He said he's never gotten any complaints about the buses. But, even though bus drivers clean the buses daily, pest control has never checked for them.

"There are no issues with our buses," Donzelli told me.

James Lincoln: "There's nothing I can do. All I can do is pick up the this case I picked up the phone and called Fox 4."

After we took Lincoln's concerns to the school district, his son's bus was tested for bed bugs – twice. The results: negative both times.

"Our buses are absolutely safe," Donzelli told me.

The district tells us it doesn't usually test buses for bed-bugs. But it will test if there's a complaint.

Still since the pests are popping up nearly everywhere, some of you want to know if the District should start testing.

I meet bed bug technician Ivan Starkey as he's leaving for a bed-bug job.

He's got his gloves, protective clothing, and heat chamber with him.

Ivan Starkey: "At Fort Myers Pest Control, we're probably dealing with 30 to 40 phone calls a week...if not more." 

Starkey says there's a good chance bed-bugs are on many school buses.  "A bug falls off their backpack into the seat. Guess what? The next person who sits down; the bedbug picks up on their seat."

Still, Starkey says it would be nearly impossible for the district to keep the pests off buses.  "I would say it's probably more of a transfer point than an actual infestation area just because of how they're moving back and forth."