Back to school: news media focuses on bed bugs in college dorms

by nobugsonme on August 22, 2008 · 7 comments

in bed bug dogs, bed bug treatment, bed bugs, bed bugs and students, bed bugs in colleges, dorms, public health

This USA Today article from Wednesday gives a rundown on recent bed bug battles in a number of US colleges and universities, such as Ohio State, and the University of Florida.

This is an issue that administrators are increasingly thinking about in advance of a crisis arising (as evidenced by recent sessions on bed bugs at a conference for college administrators), and this is a good thing.

USA Today gives a lot of attention to Texas A&M, where an administrator says of bed bugs:

“They’re taking off right now,” says Dan Mizer, associate director of residence life at Texas A&M University.

It sounds like Mizer is being proactive and has an aggressive plan in place to deal with bed bugs:

Texas A&M has spent $37,000 in the past year to fly in bedbug-sniffing dogs. This fall, Mizer plans to call in a Minnesota outfit called Temp-Air, whose eradicator heats the room overnight to 130 degrees, killing the bedbugs but leaving students’ belongings unharmed. His other secret weapon: eternal vigilance. “When we get a report, we get the pest-control staff, and we respond. These bugs can take over quickly.”

The school is being proactive about finding bed bugs, and has plans to deal with them efficiently. Perhaps they’re being advised by the world class bed bug researchers in TAMU’s own Center for Urban and Structural Entomology, like James Austin.

Local news outlets picked up the “bed bugs in college dorms” idea after USA Today’s article was published, and UPI distributed a short version of the story.

WFMY News 2 interviewed North Carolina public health officials as well as Wake Forest University students about whether they’re concerned about bed bugs:

(The video was much more interesting than the accompanying article.)

WLWT in Cincinnati goes further, giving students tips on how to search dorm rooms for bed bugs:

They should be inspecting the mattress, the box spring and areas around the mattress and box springs,” Scherzinger Pest Control technical director Patrick Boland said.

Boland also said that students should check the headboard and the bed frame itself. Students should also check their home before they leave as well.

Experts said that people should look in the folds and seems of their mattresses. Bedbugs can also be spotted by the black fecal material they leave behind.

Not just mattresses, though! The whole room should be inspected for bed bugs of every size and color (from translucent unfed 1 mm nymphs, to rust-colored, bulging just-fed 6 mm adults), fecal stains, cast skins, and bed bug eggs. These photos may help.

And college students need to know that you may never react to bed bug bites, and may still be the nightly meal for bed bugs.

Also see this video from NBC 10 in Providence, R.I.

1 nobugsonme September 10, 2008 at 1:36 am

This article focuses on West Virginia Colleges:

West Virginia University in Morgantown has had four reported cases since classes began last month. WVU spokeswoman Janey Cink says that’s slightly more than normal.

Marshall spokesman Dave Wellman says the Huntington university hasn’t had a problem for about ten years since it switched to vinyl mattresses.

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