A 36th District Court judge cleared out her packed courtroom Thursday after bailiffs spotted what appeared to be bedbugs crawling on a man who was accompanying a witness to a hearing.
The incident is the latest problem involving the pests in Detroit, which was named among the most bedbug-infested cities in America two years ago by a pest control company.
After evacuating her courtroom, Judge Cylenthia LaToye Miller tried to move her docket to another room. When none were available, she sent her staff home for the day.
"I evacuated the courtroom today due to a man with live bedbugs for everybody's well-being," the judge said. She told her staff they were being sent home on "administrative leave," because, she told them, "It's not our fault."
When a bailiff saw bedbugs crawling on the man, he was removed from the courtroom. Court officials then cleared out the front row in which he had been sitting, before the judge asked everyone to leave the room.
The man's daughter, who did not give her name, said she knew there was a bedbug problem at her father's house.
With 7,000 people entering the 36th District courthouse each day, pests are a concern, court officials said. A Detroit pest-control firm is contracted to spray the building each quarter, and has a dog specifically trained to sniff out bedbugs, court officials said.
The pest-control company will be brought in to spray Miller's courtroom, she said.
The most common pests in the courthouse are roaches and fleas, officials said.
In June, the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 26, which represents Detroit Department of Transportation bus drivers, asked the City Council to pressure the transit agency to halt the spread of bedbugs on coaches. About 50 DDOT drivers reported seeing the bugs on buses, and some had been bitten, union officials said.
Terminix, a Memphis, Tenn.-based pest control company, in 2010 released a list of the 15 most bedbug-infested cities, based on an analysis of call volume to 350 service centers the firm has throughout the country. Detroit, New York and Philadelphia were named as having the worst bedbug problems.
Bedbugs feed on blood of people or animals, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They are flat, about a quarter-inch long and spread by latching onto clothing or luggage.
From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/2012 ... z24OfTaNpD