Washington Evening Journal
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Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 31, 2014

From cockroaches to bedbugs

Board of Health to view bedbug presentation at future meeting
By Linda Wenger | Oct 31, 2012
Photo by: Linda Wenger Jennine Wolf and Jeff Thomann of the Environmental Health Department shared information about bedbugs with the county board of health Tuesday morning.

Bedbugs and how to handle them was one of the topics of the Washington County Board of Health’s monthly meeting Tuesday morning.

Bedbugs weren’t on the agenda, but after learning the Environmental Health Department received a complaint about cockroaches in a restaurant, the discussion veered off and landed on bedbugs.

Edie Nebel, public health administrator, asked Jeff Thomann and Jennine Wolf of the Environmental Health Department if their office is receiving phone calls about bedbugs. She said that a few public health employees have children who go to a school that has a bedbug problem.

Wolf said that she is receiving about one phone call per week about bedbugs. She has put together a 15-minute PowerPoint presentation on bedbugs. The presentation covers what bedbugs are, why they are present and why they are unlike other insects.

The board asked her to bring her presentation to a future board of health meeting.

Wolf said that one thing schools could do to try to stop infestations is to give each student a tote box with a lid and with the student’s name on it. She said bedbugs travel to school on coats, hats and backpacks.

Thomann said that a school in another county is taking students and segregating them in the morning.

“They take their overcoats and stuff and put them in dryers,” Thomann said. “If you have it on high heat for 20 minutes, it kills them.”

Wolf said that a pest control business charges $2,000 to $5,000 for one treatment. She said there are too many people in the county who can’t afford a pest control business.

“This also opens up the door for a lot of chemical poisoning because people are going to start buying stuff off the Internet,” Wolf said. “They are going to start doing their own spraying. It scares me a little bit.”

Right now, she said, prevention is the best way to try to prevent bedbug infestations.

“I will tell you this,” Wolf said, “you cannot kill a bedbug by spraying pesticides. You have to hit it directly. You’re not going to find them and [pesticide] will not kill eggs. The only thing that will kill eggs is heat, and right now that’s the reason you have infestations is because of the eggs.”

Wolf is also concerned that scam artists will become a problem.

In other business, the board talked about membership on the board. Wendy Miller, chair of the board, said that she would not seek another year as chair. She did say she would be willing to remain on the board.

County supervisor Jim Miksch is a member of the board and he has two years left of his term. He is willing to remain on the board, too, even though he will not be a county supervisor after Dec. 31, 2012.

Dr. Donald Miller’s term expires Dec. 31, 2012, and he, too, will go off the board.

Board member Christopher Grier said communicating with the board of supervisors is important, but he also said Miksch has valuable procedural knowledge and he knows how the supervisors operate.

Nebel said that the board could ask one of the supervisors to attend meetings and not serve as a board of health member.

At the end of the meeting, Nebel announced her resignation.

“I’ve been toying with this decision for a long time,” she said. “At this time of my life, I need to do something different. I think it would be a positive thing for the health department to have some new leadership and vision.”

She offered to stay until Feb. 28, 2013, in order to give the board time to find a replacement.

The board decided to hold a work session at 7:15 a.m. Nov. 13 to look at the job description and decide what type of person they want for the post.

 

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