Are the bed bugs bigger in Texas? University of Texas at Dallas students infested with bed bugs

by nobugsonme on June 10, 2007 · 5 comments

in bad ideas, bed bug treatment, bed bugs, bed bugs in colleges, bed bugs in dorms, dorms, usa

The latest college to be hit (or, at least, to admit it): The University of Texas at Dallas campus, reports NBC5 in Dallas / Fort Worth.

The university acknowledged that they’re dealing with an infestation of bed bugs. School officials said 15 units on campus were found to have bed bugs. The school has received more than 100 complaints.

Hmm. 100 complaints for 15 student apartment units seems like a lot. Did each unit have to complain more than six times before anything was done? Or is there another explanation for that?

Entomologist Dr. Mike Merchant said bed bugs are basically fleas for humans and that apartments and hotels are dealing with the problem more frequently.

“The incidents of bed bugs has gone up considerably,” he said.

Merchant said that bed bugs are not native to North Texas, but that they stow away in luggage and clothing during international travel.

Dr. Merchant is obviously trying to make the bed bug information more accessible to people. Now, I know Dr. Merchant would not want this to happen, but I think calling bed bugs “basically fleas for humans” might mislead some people into thinking similar steps are needed for treating both infestations.

A lot of people already make the mistake of trying to treat bed bugs with products made for other insects. Now where did I put my flea collar? (Seriously, do not put a flea collar on your person. I have seen someone recommending that on another website and I do not think it is a good idea.)

I also like it where Texas tries to deny responsibility for the problem: “they’re not native to Texas”. Unless I am mistaken, bed bugs are no less “native” to Texas than anywhere else on earth. Before being eradicated for 50 years, I am sure North Texas had their fair share of bed bugs, which enjoyed a reign of hundreds of years.

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1 willow-the-wisp June 11, 2007 at 8:33 pm

Sometimes in an effort to quell ensuing panics, info is misleadingly twisted–and it is unfortunate if that sticks with a person, which, it all too often does:

“Unquenchable and persistent fleas for people who like to sleep, eventually, rather than be traversed upon by a bugs and have their blood sucked right out of them” might have been the opposite of the sedating effect the author might have been trying to instill–but my statement is probably a bit more accurate.
🙂 Folks we can and do get rid of bed bugs–but it is not a: Shew! Shew! Shew! them all–out the door and out of our lives! it is the opposite. Stick around and find out the “real deal” on and about Bed bugs, here, at bedbugger

2 DCinTX July 13, 2009 at 11:16 pm

I actually know Dr. Merchant, and while I can see how his comment may cause an inappropriate reaction I think I know where he’s coming from. Flea infestations in Texas are notorious for being very difficult to conquer – mention “I’m fighting fleas” to anyone and you’ll get a lot of sympathy. So, while you’re completely right that you shouldn’t use flea control methods on bed bugs, the fight is just as difficult.

Also, Dr. Merchant is very involved in research on many different pests and is quite a respected entomologist. Stating “they’re not native to Texas” is not the same as denying responsibility for the problem – it’s just a factoid. We have a natural resources volunteer program here in Texas (I’m a member) that is pretty good about talking about native versus non-native species, and Dr. Merchant does a lot of programs for us. Mentioning that something is or isn’t native is just a habit. I do it all the time without thinking when I’m discussing plants, animals, etc. Dr. Merchant is a a tireless informer and spends a lot of his own time trying to get the word out on pests, and trust me that not many people around here know ANYTHING about bed bugs. So, I’m not trying to completely fawn over him but he really is a great guy that works hard and probably had most of his quotes taken out of context.

And why am I here reading his quotes, anyway? We thought we had them conquered earlier this year but now they’ve suddenly taken over all the sleeping surfaces in the house. I’m online researching PCO’s right now and hoping that someone in North Texas knows what the heck they’re doing. I’m ready to go straight to thermal treatments or Vikane gas. Thanks for the awesome site; I’ve learned a lot.

3 nobugsonme July 14, 2009 at 10:47 pm

HI DCinTX,

Thanks for your comment!

The post you commented on was actually written over 2 years ago. Since then, I’ve had some exchanges with Dr. Merchant, and I have a lot of respect for him.

I don’t think my comments were entirely inappropriate, since I am responding to how others may perceive his remarks (especially people who do not know anything about bed bugs), but they also were not intended to be disrespectful.

I probably would respond differently if I read this article today, but it is also true that Americans are much more aware of bed bugs than they were in June of 2007.

4 robert September 17, 2009 at 1:55 am

Dallas landlord has tried 3x to clear daughter’s apt of bedbugs. Anyone know her rights in Texas?

5 nobugsonme September 18, 2009 at 3:15 pm

robert,

I would search for a group that gives tenants advice (such as a tenants’ organization) in Dallas. They should be able to help with the local laws and advise on how to follow up.

If you cannot find a tenants’ rights group, call the reference desk at the city’s public library. Reference librarians exist to help people find information, including information on local laws regarding pests. They should also be able to help you find out who to call for backup.

Good luck and please let us know what you find out!

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