Federal workers face bedbugs at St. Albans office - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Federal workers face bedbugs at St. Albans office

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ST. ALBANS, Vt. -

"They don't come in from the outside," said Jon Quackenbush of PestPro. "They are strictly brought in."

The question for federal workers at the Vermont Service Center in St. Albans-- who or what brought bedbugs into the building? Workers say a bedbug-sniffing dog showed up Wednesday, and some chairs and filing cabinets have been removed. It is the third time exterminators have been brought in for bedbugs since April.

Employees were the first to tell us about the problem, but were afraid to talk on camera. Some workers told us they are frustrated they are expected to keep working where there is a possible infestation and with items being removed around them. About 1,000 people work in the building, processing visa applications for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The Service Center's Acting Director Karen FitzGerald released a statement, saying, "VSC leadership has and will continue to update employees regarding developments. Treatments for identified areas will begin this weekend. USCIS recognizes the seriousness of this issue and is committed to working closely with our employees, other partners and professional experts to resolve this situation."

With hundreds of people going to and from work around the clock, and hundreds of packages arriving by mail every day, the USCIS says it's impossible to know how the bugs got there.

"You go to work, you bring your purse. If you have bedbugs, there's a possibility you just brought bedbugs to work," Quackenbush said.

Quackenbush owns an extermination business not working at the Vermont Service Center. He says bedbugs don't just live in beds and come out at night. They hitchhike then camp out wherever they can find a person to bite.

Jon Quackenbush: So, wherever they're going to find their meal they are going to be in that area.

Reporter Kristin Kelly: And the meal is a person?

Jon Quackenbush: Correct. Only human.

He says any place people sit for a while can have bedbugs: offices, restaurants, movie theaters-- even taxis. The Vermont Service Center says the bedbug detection dog will be working in the building, looking for infestations through next week.

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