What You Need To Know
There has been a recent resurgence of bedbugs in the United States. With the globalization of American society and the decreasing use of pesticides, bedbugs have once again become a nuisance. Wherever large numbers of people congregate to sleep, university residence halls, hotels, apartments, there is always a chance people will bring bedbugs in with their belongings. Bedbugs are a rare occurrence at Pacific Lutheran University, with one quickly contained case in 2014. Awareness is key and we need your help identifying potential problems if they arise.
Bedbugs are small wingless insects that feed solely upon the blood of warm-blooded animals, including humans. Bedbugs and their relatives have evolved as nest parasites and have adapted well to living in the ‘nests’ (homes) of people.
Hatchling bedbugs are about the size of a poppy seed, and adults are about 1/4 of an inch in length. From above they are oval in shape, but are flattened from top to bottom, resembling a small watermelon seed with very thin but fast legs.
What You Need To Do
Report any insect bites, or insect sightings immediately. Contact your Resident Adviser (RA) or Resident Director (RD). Bedbugs are not known to carry diseases harmful to humans, but their bites can be very irritating to some people, so it is important for residents to report all bites of unknown origin. A pest control technician will be scheduled to check your room as soon as possible.
Do not treat your room. In many cases, the biting insect may be something other than a bedbug. If you treat the room, you may drive any bugs into hiding so that they cannot be found during the pest inspection. Leave the treatment to the pest technician expert. There is typically no charge to residents for pest control.
Do not move or stay in another room. You could be taking the bedbugs with you and spread the problem if you move to another room.
Follow instructions from your RA or RD. If it is determined that you do have bedbugs, we will need your cooperation to ensure successful control for you, your roommate(s) and neighbors!
Treatment of Bedbugs
- Below is the general procedure PLU follows in treating bedbugs. Since every situation is unique, there may be different responses depending on what the pest control technician and PLU deem is the best course to control them.
- If you are being bitten or notice bugs in your room, contact your RA or RD. A pest control technician will check your room and if it is determined you have bedbugs, your RD will notify you of the treatment plan including your responsibilities to achieve successful control.
- Occupants are instructed not to move to or sleep in anybody else’s room.
Residents are given detailed instructions about laundering clothing and bedding needed for several weeks. Remaining items are bagged and small insecticidal strips are inserted into the bags, which are then stored in a secured location for three weeks until all bedbugs, if present, are dead. Items are then aired and returned ready to use.
- Bedbugs spend almost all of their lives in hiding, so the pest control technician attempts to define the problem’s size by applying an irritating flushing chemical into cracks and crevices of beds, walls, furniture and other hiding places to flush lurking bugs into the open where they can be counted. Adjacent rooms may be similarly surveyed.
- To kill bedbugs and their eggs, the pest controller carefully treats all furniture, structural seams and crevices which kills the insects and eggs. The technician may apply a long-lasting insecticide into as many cracks and crevices as can be accessed in the room to kill any surviving bedbugs hiding in them. This usually takes care of the problem. If not, visits are repeated until the infestation ends.
Pest control follow-up visits occur until the residents and housing staff are confident the infestation has been totally eradicated.