YMCA Battles Bed Bugs at Camp
Monday, April 9, 2012
Bed bugs were found at a a camp run by the Fort Worth YMCA last
You expect to see birds, horses and bugs at camp -- but not bed
bugs. However, an exterminator, an entomologist and YMCA officials
found bed bugs in a cabin at Camp Carter near the Naval Air Station
Joint Reserve Base.
Tony Shuman, president and CEO of the Fort Worth Metropolitan YMCA,
said the bugs were found in one row of bunk beds in one
A parent who stayed in the cabin alerted the YMCA after finding
what seemed to be a bed bug bite. The staff closed down the cabin
and brought in an exterminator. The exterminator wasn't able to
locate any of the pests, so they called in a dog that can smell bed
"They brought the entomologist out with the dogs and went through
the cabins [and] only found an isolated incident in one cabin,"
The other seven cabins at Camp Carter are still in use. On Monday,
no students or groups were at the camp because no one was scheduled
to be there.
The bed bugs were likely brought in by one of the many thousands of
people who visit the camp each year. The Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention says bed bugs can be easily transported and
can show up in any environment, no matter how clean it may
David Jefferson, the environmental health manager for the Tarrant
County Public Health Department, said bed bugs do not recognize
social class and can be found anywhere at almost any time.
"Bed bugs are more of a public health nuisance than a public health
hazard," Jefferson said. "The way people try to get rid of them
often causes more problems than the bed bugs themselves."
People who try to use pesticides themselves can put themselves at
risk, he said.
The county health department and the state health department said
the YMCA is handling the situation the way that it should.
Schools and groups will continue using the camp while the
extermination process continues, but affected cabin won't be
reopened for several more weeks.
Shuman said the bug-sniffing dog would be brought back after the
extermination to check that all is clear for campers to return. He
also said that YMCA staff is now trained in how to spot the bugs
before they become a larger nuisance.
Bug-sniffing dogs also will make regular visits to make sure the
camp is safe from the parasites in the future.
"You just can't control every one that comes to camp and what
they're bringing with them," Shuman said. "Unfortunately, we have
found bed bugs, but we're working diligently on getting rid of
those for the safety of everyone who visits camp."
The Burleson Independent School District said it has postponed
several of its classes from going to Camp Carter until it hears
from health officials that the problem is gone. Assistant
Superintendent Brad Lewis said the move was made out of an
abundance of caution and that it is only a postponement.