A Cincinnati teen trying to kill a bed bug is accused of starting a fire in his apartment complex that caused $300,000 in damage and displaced eight residents.
WCPO in Cincinnati reported that the 13-year-old boy tried to kill the pest by lighting it on fire. His mattress burst into flames, and the fire spread to the building’s attic.
Firefighters extinguished the blaze, but one apartment was destroyed. Two other units had fire damage, and two others were damaged by smoke and water.
Three adults and five children were displaced by the incident, the news station reported. Firefighters said the American Red Cross was assisting the residents.
Bed bugs are flat, reddish-brown insects that feed on the blood of humans or animals. According to pest control company Orkin, they are usually found in cracks and crevices, including mattress seams, sheets and furniture. They also hide behind baseboards and in electrical plate outlets.
They are often found in hotels because they can travel easily in luggage, purses and briefcases, the company’s website said.
Signs of an infestation include not only the bugs, which are about the size of an apple seed, but also the empty skins that young bed bugs shed as they grow. They also leave behind their droppings.
Homeowners may also discover bites on their bodies when they wake up. Bed bugs prefer to be active at night, when their hosts are asleep, Orkin said.