From the Bishopric:
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
We realize there has been a great deal of anxiety over the discovery of bed bugs in the building. We thought we should send out another message to try to set some minds at ease.
While it is possible that you could come in contact with bed bugs at the church building, it is not very likely that you will carry them home with you. Bed bugs are not necessarily nocturnal, but do prefer to feed at night. For this reason, when they leave their host (the carrier of the bed bugs) they immediately flee to a dark place that does not have human movement. This is why they are called bed bugs. They come out at night when there is no movement and seek food.
According to the Department of Agriculture, you are not very likely to pick up bed bugs at public areas like schools and churches because there is too much human activity for them to seek a new host. You are, however, far more likely to pick up bed bugs at some other areas where human movement is restricted. These areas include hotels and motels, movie theatres (sitting in chairs in the dark), hospitals and doctor's offices (people who carry bed bugs often remove their clothes at medical facilities which causes bed bugs to flee), red-eye airline flights, and buses (like Trailways and Greyhound).
The Church cannot guarantee that you and your family are 100% safe from getting bed bugs in the buildings. But as stated in the paragraph above, you are far more likely to bring the critters home from places other than the church building. The Church physical facilities department has taken every precaution to control the spread of bed bugs. But the spray only lasts for 48 hours, so with every new host that comes to church, the building has to be sprayed anew each time.
But as a bishopric, we want to draw your attention once again to the statistics on these bed bugs. One in twenty patients going to a suburban doctor's office have been exposed to bed bugs. In any given day, scores of people who go to movies have been exposed to bed bugs.
The problem is huge, but is not expected to peak for frour or five more years before it begins to decline. Between 30 and 40% of the homes in Norristown have had or currently have bed bug infestations. So the fact that our church building has been treated for a very minimal impact from bed bugs is not surprising, and also of very small significance given the breadth of the problem.
Because of these factors, it is not prudent to cancel church meetings or meet at another building because the truth is, the Church does as much to keep our buildings safe as is humanly possible. We cannot approve the sacrament being administered to except in our chapels on the Sabbath.
If you are worried about bed bugs being in any home you visit or home teach in, please let the bishopric know. We will do our best to protect you from making visits in areas that may be infested.
In the meantime, a few suggestions we have emphasized in our Priesthood and Relief Society Meetings the last few weeks (from the Centers for Disease Control) on how protect yourself from bed bugs. If you think a house, building, or room you are in may have bed bugs do the following:
1-Sit in a metal, plastic, or wood chair, or stand. Bed bugs prefer cloth or fibrous material;
2-Do not put items on the floor of areas you are concerned about. Keep these items in your lap;
3-Do not stuff coats or other clothing under chairs or against curtains;
4-If you find bed bugs in your home, do not spray them with commercial sprays. Contact a professional company, bed bugs are killed with a chemical that causes their digestive system to break down and it is difficult to find and apply the chemical without training. (Washing clothes and bedding in water that is 114 degrees and above kills bed bugs.)
We are confident that our building is as safe if not safer than the safest public buildings on a week-to-week basis. We hope that you will come out and take the sacrament and enjoy fellowship with your fellow brothers and sisters.
The Valley Forge First Ward Bishopric