DENVER (CBS4) – A tiny insect has shut down the campus at West High School in Denver. The campus has been off limits since Friday while exterminators hunt for bed bugs.

Three bed bugs could fit from head to tail on a dime and still have room left over, yet just three of them were enough to close the doors at four schools on the West Campus while exterminators work to make sure the campus is bed bug free.

Bed bugs are like mosquitos — they feed on human blood, but a man with a master’s degree in insects says closing a school because of three is an overreaction.

“Bed bugs are nocturnal. They’re pretty much active from about midnight and 5 a.m., so if you think of school, when the bed bugs want to come out and feed, there’s nobody there,” said Scott Armbrust, an urban entomologist.

Yet according to a letter issued to students and parents at the West Campus, “Three bed bugs were discovered in a classroom. When the bugs were discovered, students and faculty were immediately removed and the Denver Public Schools Pest Control Team conducted a treatment of the area.”

“I think just by monitoring and doing some localized spot treatments to kill whatever bugs had gotten in, they should be able to solve it without closing the school,” Armbrust said.

Armbrust said heat and chemicals are typically used to kill bed bugs. A trap, which uses other chemicals to attract the bugs, helps to count how many are in a room.

“The (pest control) team assessed the situation and determined that we do not have an infestation,” said Friday’s letter to students and parents.

Armbrust said it’s hard to figure out how the bed bugs invaded the high school.

“That’s pretty much impossible, they’re hitchhikers,” he said. “They can come in purses, suitcases, hats, furniture that’s been sitting somewhere.”

The Pest Control Team has been working on the bed bug problem since Saturday. Students were told the campus wants to make sure the area is bug free and classes will resume on Wednesday.


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