Comment dites-vous les bed bugs? Montreal finds out

by nobugsonme on November 17, 2006 · 6 comments

in bed bugs in colleges

We just heard about the recurring bed bugs at the Ryerson dorms in Toronto. Now another Canadian University, McGill in Montreal, is seeing red (well, rust-colored bugs, anyway), as reported by the McGill Daily. Students in MORE House (a brand new building) are battling a bedbug infestation that’s been in the same unit for some time. They discovered the problem after moving in in September; unfortunately, other students reported the problem back in June, and battled it through August. The university irresponsibly allowed a new batch of students to move in, despite the problem not being cleared up.

Already forced to sleep on the floor, couches, and even pool tables, the residents have also discovered their new pets surfacing in their clothes and notebooks while in class.

If you have bed bugs coming out of your notebooks and clothes while out of the home, you have a serious problem. It is unclear what the students and college are doing besides having exterminators spray. and I wonder if they know about washing and drying clothes on hot, and keeping them sealed in bags, sealed mattresses and box springs in sealed bedbug-proof cases, and so on.

Monique Mercier, Administrative Coordinator of Student Housing, said she has received many calls from worried parents, but that she has provided students with preventative spray bottles.

She contended that controlling the bed bugs is now the responsibility of the first-year residents.

‘I can’t believe they’re still alive,’ she said. ‘The situation is impossible to control. We’ve been doing everything we can, but we’re not experts; we’re following the advice of professionals.’

She added that McGill and Montreal are unequipped to manage such a situation.

“Controlling the bed bugs is now the responsibility of the first year students.” Great policy. But I do understand her frustration. McGill University and the City of Montreal need a plan to deal with bed bugs. And parents should be worried, as should we all. Those students are going to each go to a different family home come the winter break. and the problem will spread. It’s already spreading to other students (if they’re seeing bugs in the classrooms).

My heart goes out to these first year students, who have other things they should be worrying about and working on instead of a blood-sucking parasite. McGill is a private university and should be worried about losing fee-paying students, who may drop out if they are stressed out and not getting enough sleep.

A second article in the York University Excalibur paper added additional details:

During the final fumigation two weeks ago, residents had to vacate their house for eight hours. McGill Residences provided them with accommodations at Royal Victoria College for the duration of the evacuation.

Hmm, I hope the folks at Royal Victoria College monitor those rooms, since it would be really easy for the bugs to have been moved there.

And I know I sound like a broken record here, but: did they really fumigate (ie tent the building and gas it with Vikane, which works but is costly and a big production)? Or did they use bug bombs (which don’t work for bed bugs, period)? Or did they do some other kind of spraying which the author is erroneously calling “fumigation”?

I should stop typing those last three questions, and simply add them to this blog’s template. ‘Cause, dude, it’s like I have to ask that every day!*

*Sorry for the lapse into surfer talk, but reading about colleges reminds Nobugsonme of being a student. She was young, foolish, and had lots of studying to do. Thank goodness she did not have bed bugs then.

1 deb November 17, 2006 at 7:34 am

Well…This fast spreading bug is really cuttiing its teeth on our neighbor to the North…Canada had better rethink its pesticide policies ….If I was paying for my student to be bitten by bugs there would be a swift visit to the Dean’s office and then to my attorney, esp. since these kids run a high risk of “spreading these bugs”…to cafes , restaurants, libraries, and yes…..ultimately….their parents home..and we all know what happens next..Listen Up American Colleges and Universities…Parents will not be happy if their returning students bring something home for the holidays….and still Mum is the word…No public service announcments…..Ignorance isn’t bliss…it is dangerous…..Deb

2 jessinchicago November 17, 2006 at 8:55 pm

I saw this article on my Google alerts and wanted so badly to address it, but I fell asleep! At the computer! Stupid bugs that keep me up all night, you’re killing my writing time during the day! Back to the article…

There’s one thing in this article that I found incredibly amusing despite my horror, and it’s that Ms. Mercier, the Administrative Coordinator for Student Housing, admitted that she had given the infested students “preventative spray bottles.”

Guys, what the heck is a “preventative spray bottle?” THIS is what she was telling worried parents? That she gave the students “preventative spray bottles?” The ignorance is just breathtaking, isn’t it? I’d love to know where I can get myself one of those “preventative spray bottles” to use here at home and in my car and on the train and at work!!! I might just contact her and see where she purchased these miracle bottles! Guys, I think we may be saved by “preventative spray bottles!!!!!” Forget the Suspend SC, Gentrol, Drione, DE, Kleen Free and Murphy’s Oil– we’re going to get some PREVENTATIVE SPRAY BOTTLES!!! Ahahahaha!


3 nobugsonme November 17, 2006 at 9:36 pm

Jess. you are a very funny Bedbugger!

Yes– I was so caught up in addressing the horror that I forgot to laugh! No seriously, that phrase “preventative spray bottles” caught me off guard too.

Now, if they were preventative spray bottles, I would hope all the students, professors and administrators would have one. The time for prevention is when you don’t have an active infestation, n’est-ce pas?

I am thinking maybe the spray bottle had some Kleen Free or something (which is not preventative, really), but the mind does boggle. I dread to think the kids were walking around spraying Suspend, but you never know 😉

Perhaps the bottles were filled with magic potion (ie water), because the authorities secretly think that bed bugs are in the imagination, and that this water will have a placebo effect.

And if the admin seriously thinks bedbugs are real, then they’d better get real serious about their treatment protocols… Reading our FAQ would be a start.

4 Ouch! November 28, 2006 at 12:21 am

“Well…This fast spreading bug is really cuttiing its teeth on our neighbor to the North…Canada had better rethink its pesticide policies”

While I usually find American criticism that my country is “soft on terror” to be completely unfair, in this instance it’s spot on. Come on Canada, let’s nuke them!

5 nobugsonme November 28, 2006 at 12:34 am

Ouch, you’re not alone.

I’m a pacifist, and I run a blog that’s a “foxhole” in the “war” on bed bugs. These bugs really, seriously change your perception of things.

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