The resurgence of Bed Bugs has been well documented and the East Coast of the United States is the front line in the battle to control them. They can be found in theaters, moving vans, all hospitality venues, schools, homes, buses, clothing stores’ fitting rooms, aircraft and gyms. Bed Bugs are excellent hitch hikers, they will find their way into backpacks, socks, shoes, clothing of all types and new or used furniture so they will find themselves in a new location to set up their next meal. Bed Bugs are negative Phototaxis and will hide in crack, crevasses, beneath bed clothing, etc.
Residential housing on or off Campus is ideal for BBs, there are many cracks and crevasses for them to hide, they like to hide in bed clothing, under mattresses, inside bedframes, within wooden beds’ counter-sunk screw holes, behind posters, inside electronic devices and the list goes on. Clutter in rooms provides the BBs with additional hiding places away from light. Because residents share the same building infrastructure, i.e. hallways, walls, ceilings, floors, and utility lines, bed bugs can easily move among different units in multifamily housing, thereby spreading quickly among people who live in close proximity to each other. An innocent trip to the laundry can result in BBs being spread to other locations, which increases the potential risk of infesting the entire building.
BBs tend to drop maroon colored frass that looks somewhat like ground pepper to the naked eye and you may find small dried blood spots on your bed clothing where a recent bite bled. This photo is the piping edge of a mattress that was folded against the main body of the mattress with three adult BBs resting during daytime.
This is a close up of a wooden bed frame headboard’s recessed screw hole showing the dried frass. The next photo is the same scene magnified showing the frass, eggs and a newly molted almost colorless Bed Bug within the screw hole. The counter sunk screw hole is partially covered by a piece of wood glued in front of it.
Bed bugs are small wingless insects. Adults are approximately 1⁄4 inch long: nymphs are much smaller. They feed on blood, usually at night. Bed bugs often congregate in cracks and crevices near where humans or animals sleep. They also infest furniture, electronic devices, books or any other article that provides a crevice. Evidence of infestations includes presence of the bugs or their cast exoskeletons, and blood spots or stains on bedding, walls or furniture. Bed bugs do not spread disease, but their bites result in itchy skin reactions and scratching bed bug bites can lead to secondary skin infections. Bed bug infestations may result in psychological distress, disruption of sleep and agitation. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bed_bug
If you find bites notify the Appel Health Services and make an appointment. The Appel Staff will work with you to reduce the risk of secondary infection and confirm the marks are bites or possibly from another source. You should notify Facilities and Operations repairs.fandm.edu as soon as you suspect you are being bitten. State when your bites were first noticed and which bed [door, window or other telltale such as green sheets, brown stuffed bear, etc.] is yours and if your Room Mate is also being bitten. The sooner there is a response the sooner a specimen can be found and treatment will begin. If you believe you are being bitten over the weekend or a holiday contact the Department of Public Safety who will notify a Facilities and Operations’ on-call person.
A work request entered into the Help Desk System will result in a confirmation email will be sent to you and other interested persons including Dr. Myers MD, F & O’s Pest Control Manager and your House Dean.
Facilities and Operations will email you a “Bed Bug Information Sheet” with basic information regarding BBs and methods that need to be employed immediately to prevent their spread. Attempts to treat without Facilities and Operations’ involvement will lead to the spread of the Bed Bug population to other locations.
Facilities & Operations’ State Certified Pest Control Manager will thoroughly inspect your room as an initial inspection. Bed clothing will be removed, pillows, mattress covers, bedframes, beneath beds, luggage, backpacks, laptop cases, posters, electronics, etc., within several feet of your headboard will be checked. Species specific and general non-toxic sticky traps will be deployed and checked often until a specimen can be located. Eggs, skin castings or BB will lead to the first application of pesticides or scheduling of other treatment methods including extreme heat. Continuing inspections will occur until a specimen is located. The College’s Pest Control Contractor will be called in once a specimen has been located and any treatment plan will be discussed with you and you will need to prepare your room before hand. A complete check off list will be provided to ensure you prepare your room for treatment. Preparation allows Technicians access, allows heat to permeate objects and prevents BBs from avoiding treatment.
An interview must occur to learn the possible location(s) where the Bed Bug(s) were picked up. Who do you know that has been bitten? Has any new items been added to the room recently [furniture, clothing, shoes, mattress, etc.]? Have you recently returned from a trip or stay in a motel/hotel/house?
Laundering bed and other clothing in hot water and drying on high heat will kill any insects on these items. Washing is not 100% effective so drying on high heat for a minimum of 40 minutes will kill the BBs and their eggs. Items such as woolen, shoes, stuffed animals, etc., can be placed in a dryer without washing and heated for 40 minutes. They should be transported to the laundry inside plastic bags and those bags should be discarded outside your building to prevent BBs from being spread. Dried clothing should be kept in tightly closed plastic bags to reduce the possibility of reintroduction of BBs. Facilities and Operations will provide you and your Room Mate with a supply of large plastic bags. Additional bags can be obtained as needed from F & O.
Any vacuuming in the room must result in the vacuum bag being removed from the building inside a tightly closed plastic bag and discarded outside in a trashcan. “Bag-less” vacuums will be emptied by Facilities and Operations’ personnel outside the building into a plastic bag, the bag will be placed in an outside trashcan and the vacuum will be treated with an appropriate insecticide. The vacuum must be thoroughly inspected before it is returned to the building to insure hoses, brushes, airflow chases, etc., are not infested.
Adjacent rooms [left, right, across the hallway, above and below] may require inspection depending on the situation, number of Bed Bugs present and the length of time since the first bite was noted.
A date and time will be scheduled for your room’s treatment. You will be responsible for preparing it for this process. Facilities and Operations will also have tasks such as removing light switch and electrical outlet cover plates, removal of the heat/smoke detector(s) and removal of the automatic sprinkler head(s) if heat is the method of treatment. You will be required to remain out of your room for a set period of time. You may not remove more than your laptop, iPad, textbooks, studying materials and a backpack. The backpack and your clothing you wear out before treatment must be placed in a tightly closed bag upon your return to your room and then laundered and dried.
Extra care must be taken not to re-introduce Bed Bugs into the room. Consideration must be given as to the possible locations where the original Bed Bug(s) were picked up and those locations will need to be notified.
Notify Facilities and Operations should you find evidence of additional Bed Bugs or if again are bitten. Encourage your Hall Mates to always report any bites to Appel Health Services and Facilities and Operations. Early detection will reduce the scope of rooms that will need to be treated.