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Bedbugs: Hollister Store Infested with Blood-Sucking Insects

Bedbug engorged with blood after feeding on human arm. (AP Photo) AP

(CBS) Talk about blood-sucking capitalists.

The flagship store of Hollister, the trendy, teen-oriented division of Abercrombie & Fitch, was forced to shut its doors on Wednesday by an infestation of bedbugs, tiny insects that feed on human blood.

The bedbugs had taken up residence in "certain isolated areas of the store," located in New York City's fashionable Soho district, a spokesman for the company told the Wall Street Journal. A sign on the store said it was closed for maintenance and that it would reopen soon, the paper reported.

It's not clear whether any customers were bitten, but an employee of the store - which sells casual, surfer-inspired clothing - discovered that she had been bitten and even found a bedbug and a bedbug shell hanging off her clothes, New York magazine reported.

Calls placed by CBS News to Hollister's headquarters in New Albany, Ohio, went unanswered by presstime.

The common bedbug, Cimex lectularius, has been sucking human blood since ancient times, according to the website of the University of Kentucky School of Agriculture. Brown and about the size of an apple seed, the bugs hide during the day and come out at night, piercing the skin of their hosts and drinking their fill.

The bites don't spread diseases but do leave some people with red, itchy welts - which are sometimes mistaken for mosquito bites.

The bedbug infestation - a problem often associated with urban decay - stands in stark contrast to the image that Hollister tries to project. The retailer's website says Hollister "brings southern California to the world"

And, apparently, bedbugs to lower Manhattan.

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