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Bed bugs in dorm room - what do I do??

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  1. buggedstudent

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Mon Sep 8 2008 12:06:49
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    I am a college student living in an on-campus dorm room. I moved in just over a week ago. The other day I found these black specks on my pillow in under my sheets, and this morning I woke up with what looked like bug bites all over my neck; the bites were very itchy, and when I scratched them, they became red and inflamed. I look everything up online, so I did some research on the internet that said that both of these things are signs of bed bugs. I also found a small blood spot on my pillow, which is supposed to be another sign. Not to mention that college campuses seem to be having a big problem with bed bugs. I found this website and read about other college students who have had this problem, and it sounds like the admins in their school don't take them too seriously and don't treat the problem correctly. So my question is, what should I do? Who should I tell that I think I might have bugs in my room, and how should I tell them? I seem to react pretty badly to the bites, since my skin swelled up a lot, but I read that some people don't have any reaction, so maybe other people have the problem but just don't know? I don't want to "wait and see" if the situation could spread to someone else's room, but how do I convince people that my room might really have a problem?

  2. Itchy-Scratchy

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Mon Sep 8 2008 12:33:09
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    I agree, you don't want to wait and see. And yes, others could have bed bugs and not react to bites, therefore being unaware of the problem.

    I don't know if the process is the same in the US as in Cdn. schools (I am from Canada) but this should give you some ideas. I understand that the administration does not seem to take the problem seriously but I think, initially, you will need to follow the usual routes.

    Start by talking to maintence (or the usual people you speak to when you need a repair). If they don't instruct you within a few days about how they are going to deal with the problem, contact student affairs (or the people who arrange student housing as a whole). If student housing proves unhelpful, your next stop would be your student union. They should know the ropes. If they are unhelpful, or the problem is over their heads, your next stop is the city.

    It doesn't hurt to bring this up with your student health services, not only because they have connections to administration, but because it will be helpful to have official documentation filed with them, should this problem lead to missed classes. And if you get stressed from working the problem, talk to counselling services because they also have connections with administration and they also have connections to the city at large.

    In the meantime, check your room carefully and see if you can find a bug. Having an actual bug will go a long way in convincing people you have a problem.

    And read this FAQ :

    http://bedbugger.com/2007/01/20/faq-think-you-have-bed-bugs-some-dos-and-donts/

    I'm really sorry to hear that you are starting your school year having to deal with this type of problem. My daughter started college last week and we are dealing with BBs at home, and she's feeling quite overwhelmed. So its important to remember that there are resources -- both at your school and on this site -- that can help you.

  3. buggedstudent

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Wed Sep 10 2008 18:59:17
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    Thank you for your advice. I talked to the woman who is in charge of my dormitory hall Monday night, and an exterminator is supposed to be coming in the morning. I washed all of my bedding and dirty clothing in hot water and then dried it on high heat for an hour. My roommate plans to do the same, but she has not yet had the time. I talked to the maintenance people, and they are letting me store my clean bedding and clothing in a closet in the hallway of the floor on which I live. My clothes are in plastic bags, but not ziplock, because I cannot afford to but a ton of big ziplock bags, but hopefully storing them out of the room will do the trick.

    My roommate and I are supposed to both get new mattresses tomorrow as well. Now I'm just not sure what to do with the rest of my stuff - should I wash my shoes? Should I throw all of my clean clothes and clean bedding that have been stored in my dresser into the dryer on high heat just to make sure those are safe, too? I don't have a ton of money to spend on laundry, but I will do this step if it means preventing the possible return of these critters.

    And there is one thing that concerns me the most: I'm a college student, so I've been to a lot of other dorm rooms since I moved in and before I knew my room had this problem. Should I mention anything to my friends whose rooms I have visited? I don't know how likely it is that I would have spread anything, but if I did I would feel so horrible! Not to mention that if a friend has gotten the problem, they could bring it to someone else and so on. My roommate and I have been hush-hush around other students about our situation because it's so gross and embarrassing, but I'm not sure if that's the right way to deal with what is going on. Please give me some advice!

  4. Itchy-Scratchy

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Thu Sep 11 2008 1:26:13
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    Hi again buggedstudent:
    I'm so glad to hear that you are getting new mattresses and a PCO to visit! What great news.

    As long as those plastic bags are tied tightely, you don't need to worry that they aren't Ziploc's. I agree, Ziplocs are expensive!!

    I would play it safe and throw all those items into the dryer (the shoes too) in case there are any bugs. Put small amounts (don't overstuff the dryer) for 10-15 minutes on high heat. It should suffice (and means you can sterilize quite a bit with your 1-hour dryer cycle). I'm not sure how much clothing you have ... hopefully it won't prove too expensive.

    I agree, bed bugs are embarrassing, so it's a difficult conversation. But the responsible approach is to let those other students know about your problem, and instruct them on how to check their rooms. It's possible other rooms have bed bugs also, and not because you've spread them!

    At this point, I would also suggest that you and your roommate start documenting everything. Document how and when you discovered them. Document every step you've taken, every person you've talked to, all advice you've received. And document all the money you have spent on the problem. This is for two reasons : (1) you may need further treatments at a later date and this documentation may be necessary to help you with any arguements and (2) once the problem is solved, you may want to attempt some sort of reiumbursement from the administration.

    You're taking good steps towards resolving the problem and you will have a PCO treating the room. You have every reason to believe your problem will be solved quickly. So hang in there!!


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