Residents battle against bedbugs

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Unit 2 residents reported a case of bedbug bites in Griffiths Hall last week, prompting campus officials to act fast in order to prevent the pests’ spread.

On Tuesday, dogs trained to detect bedbugs sniffed out rooms on the eighth floor, the location of the latest outbreak. Heat treatment will be applied to rooms in which bedbugs were found, according to freshman resident Katherine Takeshita.

The incident is the latest in a string of bedbug outbreaks reported in Griffiths. The hall’s battle against the bugs began with reports of bites and bug sightings on the fifth and seventh floors during the past few months.

“One day I looked down and saw one crawling on my pillow,” said Jackie Moreira, a freshman and seventh-floor resident.

After students notified the floor’s resident assistant of the issue, the campus sent professionals to the scene, Moreira said.  While dealing with the infestation, bedbugs were also found in the floor’s lounge, she added.

Following a complaint, procedure requires that a professional clean all possible entry and exit points in the room, including baseboards around the door and conduits such as electrical circuits, said Marty Takimoto, the Residential and Student Service Programs director of communications and marketing.

“There are a couple of different treatments. Heat kills bedbugs and any eggs, and in the past (we’ve) recommended chemical treatment as a last resort, even though it’s not harmful to humans,” Takimoto said.

Eric Mica, a freshman who lives on Griffiths’ seventh floor, did not realize the bedbugs had infiltrated his room until he was alerted of their presence following the dog inspection, as no one in his room displayed bites.

According to Takimoto, bedbug outbreaks are far from a rare occurrence and are not restricted to the dorms.

“In general, we always have cases of bedbugs (on campus),” Takimoto said. “Nationwide the number of bedbugs has been increasing, not only among residence halls.”

Bedbugs have affected all residential units at some point, as infestations cannot be completely prevented, Takimoto said.

However, if detected, students have a variety of options to eradicate the pests. A student can either fill out a maintenance request if living in the residence halls or contact his or her landlord if living in an apartment.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, bedbugs feed on blood and are not attracted to food, so their presence is not related to the cleanliness of a living space.

“With transient populations, bugs are picked up, attach to backpacks or other surfaces, and are tracked back,” Takimoto said.

The CDC states that bedbugs are not known to spread disease, so despite being a nuisance, bedbugs are not a public health concern or grounds for panic.

Contact Christine Tyler at [email protected].