Bedbugs Released by Unknown Person Inside a Penn. Walmart, Prompting Police Investigation
A closed pill bottle with live bugs was discovered inside a boy's jacket that was for sale on Thursday by a manager of the Edinboro store
Authorities in Pennsylvania are investigating after they say someone released bedbugs inside a Walmart store.
The incident unfolded on Thursday at the Walmart Supercenter in Edinboro, a spokesperson for the retail giant confirms to PEOPLE.
State police told CNN that a manager of the Erie County store discovered a closed pill bottle in the men’s changing room inside a boy’s jacket that was for sale. Realizing the bottle contained live bugs, the manager reported the incident to authorities.
A separate employee at Walmart later found another closed bottle in the men’s department, according to CNN. This bottle, however, contained dead bedbugs.
State Police confirmed to the outlet that Ecolab, a health safety company, showed up to the store on Friday to determine that the insects were, in fact, bedbugs. Authorities said one of Ecolab’s employees reported seeing the insects crawling around the men’s changing rooms.
In a statement to PEOPLE, a spokesperson for Walmart said that they were working with local authorities as they investigate the incident and determine who was responsible for releasing the critters.
“Our third-party pest management service has visited the store, and after conducting a thorough review found no evidence of an infestation,” the spokesperson says. “We believe this to be an isolated incident and are taking all the necessary steps to help ensure a safe environment for customers and associates.”
“We will continue working with law enforcement as they conduct their investigation,” the spokesperson adds.
A spokesperson for the Edinboro Police Department and the Pennsylvania State Police did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s requests for comment.
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Bedbugs are small, nocturnal insects that feed on the blood of humans and animals, according to Ecolab. Some can live several months without feeding off of blood.
Found in areas where people typically sleep and in small spaces or crevices, the insects do not spread disease but tend to cause extreme itching and a loss of sleep, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
For those who are bitten, the CDC recommends treating the affected area with antiseptic cream or lotion and taking an antihistamine. Experts also suggest that people avoid scratching the area.
To prevent bedbugs, a regular inspection is recommended, as well as an insecticide spraying by a pest control company.