Back in September, the George Washington University student paper, The GW Hatchet, reported that one student was known to have received bed bug bites at a pre-semester off-campus retreat. A dozen more, an administrator noted, might have been exposed to bed bugs.
Those were engineering students, whose dorm was treated for bed bugs in the Fall.
This week, a new article from the Hatchet reports that since the Fall 2009 semester began, twelve dorm rooms have been confirmed to have bed bugs and sixty rooms in multiple dorms have been treated for bed bugs.
The Hatchet notes,
The inspection and eradication process conducted by the University’s Residential Property Management requires that students living in possibly infested rooms move all of their belongings to the center of the room, vacate the room for four hours and wash all bedding and clothing.
Students affected by the decontamination efforts receive $10 to $20 on their GWorld cards as reimbursement for the cost of laundry and trash bags to store their belongings – a response many of the affected students interviewed said they found unsatisfactory.
It is not clear what sort of bed bug treatment is performed, or whether follow-up treatments occur.
It also is not clear whether non-washable belongings are bagged during treatment.
Colleges struggling with bed bugs would do well to consider some of the bed bug detection and treatment procedures which are being employed at other colleges, including searches by bed bug sniffing dogs, heat treatment of belongings, and — perhaps most crucial — educating students and staff about bed bugs, how to detect their presence, and what to do if bed bugs are suspected.