The press has been filled lately with stories about beg bugs. Each year, the University receives reports of possible cases, with the majority found to be negative. Less than 10% of the reports have resulted in a need for treatment. We want to be sure our residents have a thorough understanding about bed bugs, what to do if you suspect there are bed bugs in your apartment, and how to avoid any spread of bed bugs if you do have them.
What Are Bed bugs?
Bedbugs are small, oval insects that typically bite during the night, leaving small itchy red welts, particularly on or around the face, neck, hands, and arms. A few people are insensitive to the bites, and may not notice them at all. Adult bed bugs (5-7 mm in length) are red/brown in color (see picture) while nymphs are clear. Both will appear redder in color after feeding. They can often be confused with ticks and small cockroaches.
Are Bed Bugs Dangerous?
Although bed bugs are a niusance, they are not know to spread disease. If you are concnerned about insect bites, whether or not the are from bed bugs, call the Student Health Center to make an appointment.
Where Would I Typically Find Bed Bugs?Bed bugs like cracks and crevices. They are typically found in the cracks and crevices of mattresses, box springs, and bed frames as well as the inside corners of furniture items, inside curtains, and along the edges of carpeting. They can also be found in items of clothing, suitcases, or boxes. They tend to be most common in areas where people sleep, and they also tend to be most active at night.
How Are They Spread?
Bed bugs spread by crawling; they do not fly. They travel within walls, and they can latch onto items of clothing.
When you go to a movie theater or other such place, place your purse or any bag on the floor, not on the seat next to you. When traveling, place your suitcase on the provided luggage holder or on the bathroom floor. Do not place your suitcase on the bed. When you return from any trip, visually inspect your suitcase for any hitchhikers.
Bed Bug Bites
The bites are painless, so you will not notice being bitten. Once bitten, small, flat, or raised bumps on the skin are the most common sign, and redness, swelling, and itching are common. Hence, these bites can be confused with flea or mosquito bites. Often, bed bug bites will be lined up in a row.
What To Do If You Suspect Bed Bugs
Notify Residence Services immediately by filing a service request through Maximo, the online Service Request System, and by calling Ken Stenstrom, Facilities Manager, at 212-998-6515. Mattresses or other items suspected of being infested should not be put out int he hallway or other common areas as this may spread infestation.
What Will Happen Once You Report Suspected Bed Bugs?
We will immediately contact our pest control service. The exterminator will conduct a visual inspection and will place a few indicator pads (glue-board pads used to attract bugs) near the bed frame in your apartment. If the visual inspection confirms bed bugs, treatment will begin immediately. If the visual inspection is not conclusive, the inspector will return in a day to inspect the indicator pads. We encourage residents to check the pads as well, and to report any findings to the Facilities Office.
What Happens If I Do Have Bed Bugs?
- We will coordinate with the exterminator and you on immediate treatment of your apartment. There are fairly extensive preparations that must be accomplished by the resident prior to treatment, and we will walk you through these.
- Should bed bugs be found in your mattress, we will have it wrapped and sealed to prevent any spread, and we will dispose of it. Note that Residence Services provides fully sealed vinyl mattresses and box springs to all residents. These furnishings are sanitary and easy to clean, and they also provide resistance to bugs of any kind due to the impermeable material. Should you notice a rip or tear in your mattresses, please file a request online and it will be replaced.
- As care must be taken to avoid any spread, anything you remove from your apartment, such as trash, old clothing, papers, etc., must be in tightly sealed bags. Building staff can supply you with heavy-duty plastic bags. Do not reuse these bags.
- Your items of clothing should be washed in hot water and dried on the highest heat setting as heat kills bed bugs.
- Preventing and Getting Rid of Bed Bugs Safely
- Information on How To Prevent Beg Bugs in Hotels
- Stop Bed Bugs Safely Fact Sheet
Information from MedicineNet.com