Colleges are bracing themselves for H1N1 this fall, but students and staff should remember that bed bugs are always a problem in colleges. Yes, even in commuter colleges with no student housing!
CBS2 in New York reports that students at the City University of New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice found out in an email Wednesday night that the first floor of the college’s North Hall has been infested with bed bugs:
The word came in a mass e-mail identifying several offices, including admissions, financial aid, health, student government, the registrar and a conference room as among those that have — not an infestation — but rather in the words of the email, a bed bug condition.
Unfortunately, having a “bed bug condition” in at least five offices and a conference room does indeed amount to a bed bug infestation.
Bed bug treatment is going to be carried out on Saturday to avoid disrupting classes.
Some students in the CBS report claimed to have been bitten already; of course, in New York, bed bugs are now so commonplace that this might also happen on a bus, in a subway seat, in a cafe or someone’s home.
We can only hope students, staff and faculty at John Jay are also getting a briefing on how to detect, identify — and respond to — bed bug infestations at home.
Watch the video and see the story: John Jay College Overrun By Bed Bugs – wcbstv.com.
As Buggedinsomerville notes in the comments below, The New York Times City Room blog now has a story on this.
City Room reports that North Hall has been closed until Tuesday for treatment, and there’s a Q&A with the college president and a pest firm in the College Theater at 2 today.
In it, Jim Grossman, a John Jay spokesman, explains the whole “bed bug condition” thing:
John Jay is calling it a bedbug “condition.” Mr. Grossman said, “Infestation is when you can see them swarming.”
This is terribly inaccurate and just shows an ignorance of how bed bugs act normally — they hide and they do so very well.
If you can see bed bugs swarming, you have an extremely serious bed bug infestation.
This level of infestation is very rare, though we’ve heard of a few cases.
It’s possible to have a considerable bed bug infestation and see few, if any, bed bugs.
City Room says that
Bedbugs were found on the first three floors of the four-story building, though they were concentrated mainly on the first.
Three quarters of the building? That, my friends, sounds like a sizeable bed bug infestation.
Update #2 (9/24):
Don’t look now, John Jay PR folks, but NBC called this a “bed bug infestation” no less than five times in this article alone.
The New York Times did not dip into that pesky conundrum.
We don’t need to tell you that the past few years has seen near-epidemic bedbug “conditions” in New York City…
By any other name, a bed bug problem smells just as nasty.*
In deference to our friend Winston, I will surrender the “i” word for now.
Here’s the thing, though: you have bed bugs (plural) in multiple offices and 3/4 floors of a building?
You have a bed bug problem. A serious one.
One which appears to have been going on since at least mid-August, according to the New York Times.
(I’m not discounting the importance of getting rid of even one single male bed bug, honestly, but am trying
And remember: there’s no shame in having a bed bug problem. What matters is how swiftly, carefully, and fully you respond to it.
*Yes: bed bug infestations can smell, but no: most people don’t report noticing this most of the time. Just taking a bit of poetic license.