UB has had four cases of bed bugs on campus so far this semester
Since the semester started three weeks ago, Campus Living has four confirmed cases of bed bugs in residence halls and apartments on North Campus.
Two cases occurred in Flint Village, the others in Hadley Village and Governors Hall.
Students have also reported seeing extermination vehicles in front of Wilkeson Quad in the Ellicott Complex during the past few weeks, but according to UB Director of News Content Charlotte Hsu, the only complaints out of Wilkeson have been about spiders and one call was for a mouse.
Brian Haggerty, senior associate director of Campus Living, said in an email that because there are approximately 7,500 students living in on-campus residence halls and apartments, it’s not uncommon for Campus Living to receive requests for pest control.
Bed bugs are parasites that feed on human blood and are typically found in beds and under mattresses, couches and carpets. Dan McIntosh, the service manager for special services at Buffalo Exterminating, said bed bugs have a hooked appendage that allows them to hook into crevices where they live.
The UB buildings infected with bed bugs were unoccupied over the summer due to capital projects, Haggerty said. He said the probable explanation for the bed bugs is that the students brought them with their belongings.
McIntosh said while it is possible for a bed bug to attach onto a person’s clothing, they typically do not move from place to place.
Haggerty said that in all four bed bug cases this semester, UB’s contracted exterminator was able to treat the bugs either the first day or the next business day.
One student, who wishes to remain anonymous, had bed bugs in her Flint Village apartment last week. She walked into her room last Friday around 3 a.m., turned on a light and noticed something crawling out of her pillowcase.
After several attempts to kill the bug, she picked it up and “squeezed it” in a napkin. She looked up bed bugs on Google and had a feeling that’s what was crawling on her bed.
“I couldn’t sleep,” the student said. “Every time I closed my eyes all I saw were the pictures I Googled.”
The student’s father, who has an exterminator license, told her to contact Campus Living immediately after she described the bug to him. The student went to the Flint Community Center at 8:30 a.m. once it had opened and Campus Living put in a work order for the bed bugs.
Whenever a work order is put in for bed bugs, Campus Living contacts Buffalo Exterminating, its contracted vendor, who responds within the next business day to assess the potential issue. According to Haggerty, “in most cases, it’s not bed bugs.”
“We have had 80 calls for an exterminator since the halls and apartments opened in August,” Haggerty said. “Of those 80, only four were confirmed cases of bed bugs. Other pests identified were ants, spiders, wasps, and the most common, bees.”
Once the exterminator has confirmed bed bugs are present in the dorm or apartment, the student must place excess clutter in trash bags, provided by UB, and refrain from entering the room during treatment and four hours afterward. Students are told not to remove any linens present in the affected area as well.
Campus Living advises students whose dorms or apartments are infested with bed bugs to pick out clean clothes prior to the exterminator arriving and wash them in hot water before sealing them in a bag. McIntosh said heat kills bed bugs, which is why people are encouraged to wash their clothes with water at a temperature of more than 130 degrees.
Campus Living also advises students to relocate before the exterminator arrives in order to prevent further contamination. If students choose to stay in a hotel, UB does not reimburse them.
Campus Living advised the UB student who spoke with The Spectrum to stay in her apartment until the exterminators came to treat the room Monday – three days from when she first reported the issue – to prevent the bed bugs from spreading.
McIntosh said there are several ways to treat bed bugs, but the most common ways are to use heat treatment and physical removal. Price of treatment depends on how big of an infestation is found, how much “man power” is used and the size of the surface area.
McIntosh also said that there is no cause for health concerns involving bed bugs. While bed bugs bite humans and feed off of their blood, the bites do not hurt and the bed bugs do not transmit diseases.
McIntosh said that while bed bugs do not cause major physical issues, they may cause a person psychological issues.
“They see themselves as dirty, but anyone can get these. It does not mean you’re a dirty person,” McIntosh said. “I’ve treated anything from a shack to a mansion – bed bugs do not care about socioeconomic standings.”
Marlee Tuskes is a news desk editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.