This article from the Wilkes Beacon (a student newspaper at Wilkes University, in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania) yesterday describes the ongoing battle against bed bugs in a student apartment in the university’s University Tower apartments, where the four student residents experienced bed bug bites, and saw bed bugs, even after multiple treatments.
It’s the third bed bug infestation at Wilkes University this academic year, according to the Wilkes Beacon. Of course, it can only be the third known bed bug infestation, since one can never be sure whether one has bed bugs that are as yet undetected or unreported.
The university called in their PCO (Terminex) to fight the infestation starting at the end of the Fall 2008 semester. According to Director of Residence Life Brenda Stanley:
“We brought in our pest control contractor…who we have used for a previous bed bug incident… and they came in and were inconclusive in their findings in terms of what the occupants presented and based upon what they actually found,” she said.
To alleviate any concerns school officials asked the pest control person to spray the area with the pesticide, which according to Stanley is eco-friendly.
Stanley also said that the school continued to treat the area over winter break and into the beginning to the spring semester. However, the residents continued to report bites and visual confirmation of the insects.
It’s interesting to note that before the first treatment, it sounds like Terminex was able to find no visual confirmation of the infestation, but after treating several times, the residents were finding bed bugs.
What is also unique about this story of bed bugs in a college, is that it’s the first time I recall hearing that students took their case to the city, when it was not resolved by the university:
After repeated treatments by the pest control company failed, the residents contacted the City of Wilkes-Barre.
An official from the city toured the apartment and told the residents to contact the school again and he would type a report for their records.
The article implies that the university moved students to a new apartment; it also provided them with new furniture and money for laundry.
And school officials say the infestation was isolated to the one unit:
Stanley added that the school and the pest control contractor was able to isolate the infestation to the single apartment.
She said, “We actually tested the four rooms adjacent to the apartment space, above and below, to ensure there wasn’t a deeper issue. That was both reassuring for the residents and for us to know that we had truly isolated it to its one location.”
I wonder how the testing was done? Perhaps Terminex or Wilkes U have access to one of the brand-new bed bug monitors, or perhaps they used a bed bug sniffing k9.
In any case, I hope extreme caution was taken to make sure bed bugs were not spread to the new apartment.
Bravo to Wilkes admin for talking about bed bugs, even when it means admitting that dealing with bed bugs is a struggle.
In my opinion, doing so is necessary as it opens the way for other students and staff to learn about the problem and what to do should they encounter it. More awareness of bed bugs is good for students, faculty, staff, parents, and administrators alike.