SLO homeless shelter infested by bedbugs is being fumigated

elopez@thetribunenews.comJuly 19, 2013 

A live bedbug crawls across a dime.

KEN LAMBERT — Seattle Times/MCT

Bedbugs continue to plague a San Luis Obispo homeless shelter.

The Maxine Lewis Memorial Shelter in San Luis Obispo will be fumigating their bedbug infestation until Monday, July 22, according to Dee Torres, homeless services coordinator for Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County.

Bedbug-detecting dogs are scheduled July 23 to go through the shelter and sniff out any remaining bugs.

If no bedbugs are discovered, the shelter is scheduled to reopen July 24. If bedbugs are found, the shelter will have to re-evaluate and decide on a new strategy, Torres said.

Shelter staff first discovered bedbugs July 8, Torres said. The 50-bed shelter was subsequently closed until the building, as well as hundreds of pounds of linen, could be sprayed and cleaned. The shelter was reopened July 12 but was closed again July 14 after the infestation was found to still be present.

The shelter met with pest-control technicians on Monday to determine the proper steps to remove the infestation and by Tuesday had verified those steps have been taken, Torres said.

The approximately 60 shelter residents who were moved will stay at the Prado Day Center, Torres said.

The pest control vendor will also be inspecting the Prado Day Center and overflow at the church for bedbugs, Torres said.

The entire shelter will be tented until Monday, July 22, and will not be opened until the safety requirements meet industry standards.

These are the first cases of bedbugs in the shelter’s history, according to Torres.

Bedbugs, described as small, reddish-brown wingless insects about the size of a ladybug, feed on human blood at night. However, the bugs don’t pose a significant health risk because they do not carry disease.

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