Lawrenceville, N.J. — It is no secret that college campuses are ground zero for bed bugs. In fact, the University of Nebraska–Lincoln (UNL) continues to battle the campus-wide bed bug infestation with officials stating that 124 dorm rooms tested positive for bed bugs.
According to a recent article, treatment for each dorm costs about $1,000, and the university said it is only a third of the way through inspections.
The new infestations were apparently found as part of the school's effort to wipe out the bugs and curb their spread after students reported finding the bugs in January when they returned from winter break.
“The number of bed bug infestations being reported seems extremely high based upon all of our experiences with large universities,” said Jeffrey White, Technical Director of BedBug Central. “If you are hiring a canine to inspect a campus, it’s important to be confirming what the dog is saying. From afar I can’t say exactly what is happening, but false positives can happen with even the best canine/handler team.”
According to White, a suspected false positive is when the dog says live bed bugs are present, but they cannot be confirmed. The only way to limit this is by creating a checks and balance system.
With spring break approaching, officials are trying to finish treatment soon in order to make sure the work that's already been done isn't undone.
Recently, the Associated Press reported that the bugs were first reported on campus in June, when they turned up in a laboratory on the third floor of Nebraska Hall that is used as office space for the College of Engineering. The January dorm infestation reports first came from two students who said they noticed bedbugs when they returned to their ninth-floor room in Abel Hall from winter break.
“Institutions of higher education can best serve their students by having proactive, reactive, and follow-up protocols in place,” said White. “These protocols should clearly outline the steps that all involved parties should take to prevent an infestation or the spread of an existing one.”
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, bed bugs are increasingly becoming a problem within residences of all kinds, including homes, apartments, hotels, cruise ships, dormitories, and shelters. Colleges and universities need to develop policies on how to manage and mitigate infestations if and when they occur. And once a policy is in place, students, parents, and residence life should all be equally educated on the different aspects of bed bugs biology and behavior, prevention and treatment methods.
New Jersey-based Rutgers University, one institution that has recognized the need for bed bug policy and education on its campus, provides students with a downloadable PDF Bed Bug Information Sheet right from their main website. The pamphlet gives students and parents’ helpful information about bed bugs and how they assist in the eradication of an infestation. They have also outlined the service call criteria, and what you should inspect during and after treatment.
College administration need to provide students and staff with information about bed bug, either in the student hand book or by distributing handouts, fact sheets, and pictures. Additionally, administrators should periodically remind students that they should be checking for bed bugs and reporting any signs of pests they may find in their rooms.
Although many colleges remain reactive to bed bugs, some college websites contain helpful and accurate bed bug information. These sites can be used as a reference for creating protocols and educational materials. Besides Rutgers University, Kentucky University, Harvard University, and Cornell University all have accurate bed bug information.
In addition, the “Bed Bug Handbook: The Complete Guide to Bed Bugs and Their Control” written by L.J. Pinto, R. Cooper, and S.K. Kraft, can be utilized as a great resource. This book provides very detailed information about bed bugs, as well as outlines many different and useful checklists.
About Bed Bug Central
Bed Bug Central serves as the nation’s most authoritative information resource and website available to the public for information concerning bed bugs and bed bug related issues concerning health, prevention, and treatment methods.More information can be obtained at www.bedbugcentral.com.