The latest victims in the bed bug war: the Guardian student paper at Wright State reports on 10/4/2006 that students in Meadowrun Apartments, a student apartment building in Dayton, have had their entire building treated for the pests. It is good that the whole building was treated. But I have some questions about how well the people involved know their enemy.
Dan Bertsos, Director of Residence Services, outlined how he felt students could prevent infestations:
“Good hygiene is always important. If students’ bedrooms at home are not well kept, and they just grab everything and bring it to campus without washing their laundry, we could have a bed bug infestation here,” Bertsos added.
Well, there’s some truth in the fact that laundering is an important part of treating bed bug infestations, this makes it sound like bad hygiene leads to bed bugs. Not so! Bed bugs are a parasite. Anyone with blood can catch them, and “normal” hygiene practices are not enough to prevent them, or enough to fight them. If the students had them at home, it was not because they were sloppy. It is simply a parasite and it needs to be treated. (And you can catch it in a 5-star hotel, or from your rich neighbors, as well as in a flea-bag motel or in a hostel.)
I was glad to read that students were asked to launder all their clothes, but it does not sound like the authorities there are very informed about just how extensively a bed bug victim needs to clean their space. In addition, it does not sound like the students knew how to act after the infestation.
For example, simply laundering clothes is not enough. The clothes need to be kept in airtight bags until treatment is completed. Otherwise, when the exterminators come again, which they most likely will have to, students will have to wash everything again. And as we know here at Bedbugger, washing isn’t enough. Everything must be washed on the hot setting, and dried on the hot setting; anything that can’t be washed must be dry cleaned. The cleaners must be told the materials may contain bed bugs. And so on.