Residence hall has bed bug infestation

Brittany Moseley

Pests found in Dunbar Hall; exterminators spray rooms

Don’t let the bed bugs bite just gained new meaning for the residents of Dunbar Hall.

A third floor room in the residence hall will receive another inspection this week for Cimex lectularius, or bed bugs. The bugs were first reported in late February, and the room was sprayed soon after. It was sprayed again last Tuesday after exterminators found three bugs. The entire floor was inspected during spring break, and no bugs were found in other rooms.

The same floor in Dunbar had an earlier bed bug scare in November. With both incidents, the rooms were sprayed more than once, the mattresses were destroyed and all of the residents’ clothes and bedding were laundered at high temperatures to kill the bugs.

Jim Zentmeyer, associate director of Residence Services, said it is likely that the second case developed around the time of the first case, but the resident didn’t know it was bed bugs until later. Zentmeyer doesn’t know where the bugs came from, but said most situations involve travel.

“They’re the ultimate hitchhiker,” said Zentmeyer, associate director for facilities and administrative operations. Bed bugs are usually found in motels or other places where people come and go. They’re also common in apartments and houses.

The residents in the infected rooms were moved to different halls, and their belongings were inspected beforehand. There was a brief case of bed bugs in the new room the students moved to in November, but Zentmeyer said it was taken care of, and there have been no problems since. Dunbar residents were notified about both cases within a couple days of the occurrences.

In his 25 years at Residence Services, Zentmeyer said this is the first confirmed case of bed bugs he has seen.

“Thankfully from my observation, it’s once in a blue moon,” Zentmeyer said.

Although bed bugs aren’t common in the residence halls, they are more prevalent now, said Greg Sams, district manager of Central Exterminating, who handled the cases in Dunbar. In the past 25 years, Sam had one case of bed bugs. However, this year he has had around 20 cases.

“We don’t know why it’s come back, but it’s not going to get better, not any time soon,” Sams said.

Even though both rooms are clean right now, bed bugs don’t vanish over night.

“The problem with bed bugs is they can lay dormant for a year,” Sams said. “Bed bugs are one of the hardest insects to kill.”

The bugs “can get into any little crevice they can find,” Sams said; everywhere from bed frames to electrical outlets.

Bed bugs are visible and are typically a fifth of an inch or smaller. The bites usually come in threes, and can resemble a rash. Zentmeyer said one thing to remember is bed bugs don’t choose where they go.

“It’s not an issue of economy,” he said. “Bed bugs can be found at a Motel 8 or a Hilton.”

Contact room and board reporter Brittany Moseley at [email protected].