Concerned about bedbugs?

Across the nation, as the fall 2010 semester opened, we began to hear about a resurgence in bedbugs in hotels and college residence halls.  The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, AOL News, and Inside Higher Education all describe more bedbug sightings than the US has seen since the early part of the twentieth century.  Bedbugs enter institutions along with residents by hopping onto luggage and settling into sheets that have lots of human contact--and a source of bedbug food.  This National Geographic video explains how bedbugs enter houses and make contact with sleeping humans:

Geneseo received its first report of suspected bedbugs on Friday September 18, 2010, when a student found bites on her leg.  Facilities called in a professional exterminator who inspected the student's mattress and  room; both students in the room also laundered all linens and clothing they had worn at the hottest washer setting.  In an inspection of the crevices and seams of the mattress and the bed frame, the professional exterminator found no sign of bedbugs. 

If you find mystery bites on your skin, visit the health center.  Practitioners at Geneseo's Lauderdale Health Center will try to identify the sources of bite marks; other possibiities are ants, mites, mosquitoes, fleas, and scabies.

If you find bites on your skin, and you suspect bedbugs, please do the following:

  1. Strip your bed and wash all your linens, including mattress cover and bedspread in hot water at the hottest setting.This step must be completed before an inspection can be made in your room.
  2. File a work order requesting an inspection for bedbugs.  At least one resident must be present in the room for this inspection, so please list your available times.  Bedbug inspections will occur during regular business hours, Monday through Friday, subject to staff availability.
  3. Do a visual inspection of your mattress, paying particular attention to seams and crevices where bugs might hide or leave eggs.  You may need to ask someone to help you flip your mattress.  What are you looking for?  Bedbugs are tiny, but visible to the naked eye.  You might also find hard round eggs.  Or you might find blood stains.  If you discover any kind of bug or egg, a good way to "capture" it is on a piece of cellophane tape.  This will be extremely helpful for the inspector from Facilities.  This Google image search will show you what bedbugs and bedbug bites look like.
  4. Bedbugs aren't going to hurt you, but  some people may have alergic reactions and others get infections when they scratch their bites.  Regardless of their relatively minor harm to you, we know that bedbugs are unpleasant to think about, and if you prefer to temporarily leave the area rather than inspect your mattress, talk to your RA and your neighbors.  If you're more comfortable in a sleeping bag on someone else's floor for the night, you should take that option.
  5. Bedbugs settle can show up in anyone's home--regardless of your neighborhood.  Please do not fear any judgment if you suspect there are bugs in your room.  And please report them.
  6. When the inspectors come (again, please make sure the bedding is stripped and washed and that you have removed personal items from under your bed), Facilities will remove and replace your mattress if they find any signs of infestation (even simply blood stains).  
  7. Visit the Health Center if you are bothered by any bites or rashes.

Geneseo has been very fortunate in not having a major bedbug outbreak--but that could change at any time.  It is essential that you report any concerns about bugs or other creatures immediately by filing a work order or speaking with your RA.  Please let professional exterminators handle any necessary insecticides; otherwise you may be exposing yourself and your neighbors to poisons that are far worse than the creatures we all want to get rid of.