The school did not release the number of infested rooms, nor how many students complained about the issue.
An exterminator was called to fix the problem.
It’s not the first time BU has had to deal with the itchy problem. In February 2007, they were in Shelton Hall, and the Daily Free Press at BU said students were asked to keep quiet and not spread panic.
The same student newspaper argued rightly that all students should be notified about the problem. This is sound advice, because administrators need students to come forward if they think they have bed bugs.
And then, eight months later, in October of the same year, students in a London (UK) Boston University dorm were bitten by bed bugs.
The Daily Free Press reported that students claimed a London BU administrator told them they were lying about bed bugs, and that they’d be banned from studying abroad again if they discussed the problem with others. Boston University admin later claimed the students’ accusations were false, so we’re not certain what actually happened in London except that the incidence of bed bugs in London was not itself denied according to The Daily Free Press.
It’s great news that the media is reporting the current story, but I hope BU is also now telling students about bed bug infestations as they arise. Since many people do not react to bed bug bites, and since it can take a long, long time to actually see a bed bug after becoming infested, everyone deserves to be notified that their neighbors have encountered bed bugs.
The recent history of bed bugs at Boston University highlights the need for university housing administrators to have an up-to-date bed bug protocol, taking advantage of the latest detection technology (which may include bed bug k9s and maybe one of the soon-to-be-released bed bug traps?) and treatment protocols which include careful and thorough inspections, prepping students for treatment, and options such as thermal heat or aggressive and repeated applications of an appropriate combination of steam, residual pesticides and dusts.
Colleges should not worry prospective students will choose another college; they should get on board with the best bed bug protocol they can, and publicize that fact, like Dan Mizer, Associate Director of Residence Life at Texas A&M, who is happy to tell the media the school is proactively employing bed bug sniffing k9s and planning to use TempAir when bed bugs are found. Would you rather send your kid to a college with a good bed bug plan in place? Or one where they try to avoid alarming people by discussing the problem which we know can arise at any college, anywhere?