Bed bugs at Wilkes University in Pennsylvania

by nobugsonme on September 22, 2008 · 2 comments

in bed bug bites, bed bug dogs, bed bug treatment, bed bugs, bed bugs and students, bed bugs in colleges, dorms, pennsylvania

Bed bug have been found at Wilkes University, according to student paper, the Wilkes Beacon. They’ve been treated by Terminex, and students living in the affected building and their parents have been notified:

[Jeff] White [research entomologist for] says that one of the most effective treatments against bed bugs is education.

Stanley says that the students and parents impacted by the bed bug outbreak at the residence hall was sent literature on bed bugs and the October edition of their parent newsletter will also include information on the subject.

(That’s Brenda Stanley, Wilkes’s Director of Residence Life.)

This is good, though I would follow the lead of some other colleges such as Stanford and SUNY Potsdam in trying to educate students outside of those living in the affected residence hall about bed bugs.

Bed bugs in one dorm can easily spread to others as students visit one another, stow stuff in gym lockers, sit in classrooms, hang out in cafes and bars, go to jobs, and so on. Students anywhere are at risk at picking bed bugs up, and should learn all they can about how to detect and avoid bed bugs.

And I also hope the information given in the literature is more comprehensive than that provided in the following excerpt from this article:

How does a student know if they have bed bugs?

“If someone has a series of bites on their body, typically on the chest/torso or leg/foot region, they should visit our Health and Wellness Office, located on the first floor of Evans Hall. The bites would have not pattern (random) and may appear to look like mosquito bites. A professional can determine if in fact, they are bedbug bites,” says Stanley.

There are two errors here. First, we are told doctors cannot identify bed bug bites with any certainty. They don’t always look the same. They can also be anywhere on the body. We’re told dermatologists cannot visually identify them. There are to my knowledge no tests to positively identify bed bugs as the cause of suspected bites.

In addition, the answer that people they will know they have bed bugs because they will get bed bug bites is not very helpful. There is a large percentage of the population who do not react in any way to bed bug bites. (Mississippi state medical entomologist Jerome Goddard claims 70% do not react). So waiting until you see bed bug bites or feel itchy can be bad news.

This is why some colleges, like Texas A&M, are taking it upon themselves to search proactively for bed bugs, for example, using bed bug sniffing dogs.

It seems that colleges are doing more than ever to educate about bed bugs, to detect them and get rid of them properly. Overall, this is not a bad article, but as this article and the one yesterday about SUNY Potsdam show, there is still room for improvement.

You can read the article from the Wilkes Beacon here.


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