Bedbugs released at Pennsylvania Walmart prompt investigation

Walmart reached out to other stores in the area and verified that it was an isolated incident, state police said.

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By Janelle Griffith

Pennsylvania State Police are investigating after bedbugs were released in a Walmart changing room.

A manager at a Walmart store in Washington Township told police that store staff found a closed pill bottle containing live bugs in a boy's jacket that was for sale.

Walmart disposed of the jacket and the pill bottle without contacting authorities, state police said in a news release.

An employee from Ecolab Inc., a health safety company, visited the store Friday and found bugs that were later identified as bedbugs crawling around in the men's fitting room.

A store associate found a second closed pill bottle on the floor in the men's department Saturday. It contained several dead bugs. Walmart called police this time.

A state trooper collected the bottle for fingerprinting. The store's loss prevention team is reviewing surveillance video.

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Walmart reached out to other stores in the area and verified that it was an isolated incident, police said.

Bedbugs are small parasitic insects that feed on the blood of people and animals as they sleep, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

They are reddish-brown and wingless and can measure 1 millimeter to 7 millimeters, or about the size of Lincoln's head on a penny, and they can live several months without a blood meal, the CDC said. The bugs are not known to spread disease, but they can cause itching, scratching and loss of sleep.