(ASBURY PARK PRESS) -- Don't let the bedbugs bite has taken on a whole new meaning in the township, where officials closed town hall Thursday after finding one of the blood-sucking parasites in the tax collector's office.
The municipal building, 401 Chambers Bridge Road, reopened today for normal business, officials said.
"The safety and well-being of the citizens that visit our building and our employees is our paramount concern," Mayor Stephen Acropolis said. "If we had to do it again we would close the building."
The small, flat insects feed on the blood of sleeping people and animals. They are reddish-brown, wingless and from 1 to 7 millimeters long, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Police Department, also housed in the municipal building, operated out of its mobile command unit at the municipal complex Thursday.
Township Administrator Scott Pezarras, said the first bedbug was found a month ago, and the latest was found in the tax collector's office Thursday morning. Pezarras said no one was bitten.
"A month ago we found one in a jail cell, and then another in HR (human resources) two days ago," Pezarras said. "You would rather be safe than sorry."
The township notified the Ocean County Health Department, officials said.
"It is our policy to offer educational materials, research and ongoing assistance for the issue," said Leslie Terjesen, spokeswoman for the health department. "The opening or closing of a municipal building for bed bugs is not within our purview."
Thursday night's Municipal Court session was canceled.
Bed bugs also were reported this week in two occupied patient rooms at CentraState Medical Center, Freehold Township, said Valerie Pratz, marketing manager. "Both rooms were quarantined and professionally treated," Pratz said.
Contributing: Hartriono B. Sastrowardoyo
Nicholas Huba: 732-557-5617; nhuba@ njpressmedia.com