An article today reports that bed bugs have emerged in yet another room in Alondra, a dorm previously hit by the vermin. Click here to see our previous posts on Stanford. Accoding to the articles we’ve read, the Stanford approach to bed bugs is by far the most sensible we’ve seen reported on at any college so far.
After having some rooms on the second floor in Alondra infested in the fall, this week
On Friday, all the rooms in Alondra were examined for bedbugs, and an infestation was discovered in a third-floor room. The discovery of the blood-feeding insects was the first on the third floor, after bedbugs attacked more than half a dozen second-floor rooms in December.
It’s good the bugs did not resurface on the same floor or in the same rooms, but adjacent units above and below are always in danger when a room or apartment is infested. It’s also good that Stanford is not waiting for students to complain: they’re actually looking for the bugs; hotels and institutions like college dorms should have trained PCO’s doing this regularly:
“They did a check a couple of days ago, and they found just one bug in the room,” said Garner Kropp, a freshman resident of the infested room. “Now, they are probably going to take out all the carpeting, put in new beds, put in new furniture and then repaint the walls.”
The check for bedbugs on Friday followed a more comprehensive investigation during winter break, when exterminators conducted a thorough walk-through of Alondra and destroyed all furniture and student belongings suspected to have been infested by the pests. The winter break examination was motivated by the discovery of bedbugs in several student rooms in early December, a discovery that forced the temporary relocation of several students to various dorms across campus.
If you recall, the Stanford PCO’s protocol is to isolate everything in the room: bagging all belongings until they can search, and sending students out with clothing to launder on hot / dry on hot, and none of their other posessions. This is what it takes, but most colleges don’t seem to get involved to this degree.
If these articles are accurate, Stanford is a good model for other universities to follow regarding bed bug protocols. Other universities need to realize that eliminating bed bugs from the dorms entirely is difficult (students go home, travel to hotels and hostels, and visit friends; like the rest of us, they can pick up bed bugs and bring them to school). Colleges that try to hide the problem (avoiding press reports, for example) and who don’t take it upon themselves to educate students and professors and staff, as Stanford is doing, are just making the problem more likely to get out of hand.
As much as Stanford does not probably want to be associated with bed bugs, they’re taking the high road: publicizing their methods (talking to the student paper and local press, like the San-Jose Mercury News), adding a page on bed bugs to their student affairs website, and educating students about what to look for. Above all else, they are being proactive in seeking the bed bugs out.
Parents should realize that there are probably bed bugs on most North American residential college campuses at this point. (I did not say most rooms, or most dorms, but most colleges are probably affected.) There’s nothing wrong with Stanford because they found a bed bug. They’re doing a great job because they sought out and found a bed bug and are taking aggressive action to eliminate them and halt their spread.
So that when bed bugs do arise (note, I did not say “if”), they can be swiftly dealt with. I don’t know anything about Crane Pest Control except what I’ve read in these articles, but I have to tell you, they and the Stanford administration have got me impressed.