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 or traveling into buildings in furniture brought in from outside (take care about purchasing used furniture). They settle 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:
At Geneseo, we have had a few reports of suspicious bedbug bites, but they have usually not been bedbugs. Red bites can also be signs of scabies and mites. Whenever there is a suspicion, Facilities Services calls in a professional exterminator who inspects the student's mattress and room; students are asked to launder all linens and clothing they have worn at the hottest washer setting. The inspector looks at all crevices and mattress seams as well as clothing, bedding, and other furniture. Special bedbug-detecting canines can be called in to do whole room inspections.
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 possibilities are ants, mites, mosquitoes, fleas, and scabies.
If you find bites on your skin, and you suspect bedbugs, please do the following:
Strip your bed and bag all your linens, including mattress cover and bedspread, as directed by the exterminator.
Notify your RA and 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.
If you are comfortable doing so, 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.
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.
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.
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.