The following policy outlines reporting and response procedures and provides basic information regarding bedbugs.
Policy Statement: There has been a recent resurgence of bedbugs throughout the United States after many years of the bugs seemingly being dormant. In our mobile society, it is common for people to regularly travel throughout the country and the world. As such, it is not unlikely that someone who has traveled could pick up bedbugs and bring them back to Juniata College.
Purpose: The information included here is meant to give you some of the basics on bedbugs.
What to do if you suspect bedbugs in your room: Contact the Residential Life Office/Resident Director so the situation can be investigated and assessed. It is imperative that any instance of bedbugs be treated as soon as possible.
- Following notification, the College’s pest control contractor will be dispatched to the location to perform a thorough inspection.
If the presence of bedbugs is confirmed, personal items must be removed so the
room can be treated. The Residential Life Office will provide the affected student(s) with a detailed
list of instructions for cleaning, removing, and laundering of personal items.
- Treatment generally involves application of a pesticide. Glue boards may be placed in the room to determine the effectiveness of the treatment.
- All items in the room must be thoroughly cleaned.
What NOT to do if you suspect bedbugs:
· Don’t panic! Although bedbugs can be annoying, they can be controlled safely and successfully by following the appropriate guidelines.
· Do not apply pesticides on your own. The College employs a licensed pest control contractor to confirm an infestation and maintain an integrated pest management plan.
· Do not go sleep in a friend’s room or in places off-campus.
· Do not move your mattress or other furniture; doing so could help spread bedbugs to other areas.
What are bedbugs?
· Bedbugs are reddish-brown insects with an oval shape, about 5 mm (1/5”) long. Their body is flat from top to bottom and they have tiny wing pads instead of wings. Eggs are yellowish white and only about 1mm long.
· Bedbugs feed on the blood of warm-blooded hosts. Bites consist of a raised red bump or flat welt and are often accompanied by intense itching.
· In contrast to fleas and ticks, extensive laboratory testing indicates that bedbugs are unlikely to pass disease from one person to another.
How did we get bed bugs?
· Bedbugs were originally brought to the United States by early colonists from Europe. Bedbugs thrive in places with high occupancy, such as hotels. Bedbugs were believed to be altogether eradicated 50 years ago in the United States and elsewhere with the widespread use of DDT.
· One recent theory about bedbug reappearance involves potential geographic epicentres in some states. It was determined that workers in these facilities were the main spreaders of these bedbugs, unknowingly carrying them to their places of residence and elsewhere after leaving work.
· Many years ago, bed bugs were eradicated by the use of a pesticide, DDT. This is no longer used and may account for the resurgence of these bugs in the US, as might the increase in international travel.
· Anyone can pick bed bugs up from a location where they presently exist – someone’s apartment, other dorm rooms, movie theatres, etc. Bed bugs are equal opportunity pests – they will infest anyone, anywhere.
What happens when the pest control contractor comes to my room?
· If your room or suite is confirmed to have bed bugs, the College’s pest control contractor will come to treat your room. You will be required to bag and remove all clothing, bedding, books and personal items prior to the treatment. Your room will essentially need to be emptied out in order for the treatment to be effective.
· The treatment will likely consist of a few different approaches:
o A pesticide will be applied to locations within your room that may harbor the bugs.
o The pest control contractor may place glue boards in your room. These boards can be good detectives and show the degree of success of the treatment. If the glue board collects bed bugs after its placement, then another treatment may be warranted. If this is the case, you should be back in touch with Residential Life as soon as possible.
o The pest control contractor and/or Facilities services will perform a THOROUGH and DETAILED vacuuming of your room and belongings. All of your room and items contained within it should be vacuumed on the outside surface and each drawer, crevice, etc. must also be vacuumed. This includes:
Since I travel quite a bit, what can I do to reduce my risk of bringing bedbugs back with me?
- First, look at the room to seek potential hiding places for bedbugs, such as carpet edges, mattress seams, pillow case linings, head boards, wall trim or other tiny crack like places bedbugs might hide.
- Next, look specifically at the mattress seams for signs of bedbug activity: droppings, eggs, bloodstains or even bedbugs themselves – hiding in tiny folds and seam lines.
- Never leave your clothing laying on the bed, or any location of possible infestation. Instead, use hangers or hooks capable of keeping all cloth distant from the floor or bed. It’s also not a bad idea to elevate suitcases off the floor on a luggage stand, tabletop or other hard surface.
- Close your suitcase, travel bag, when you're not using it. This way, during the night the bugs may move over top of your luggage with greater difficulty to get inside.
- Elevate your luggage off the floor to tables or chairs. These may also be hiding places, but less likely.
- If you suspect the presence of bedbugs following travel, it is a good idea to take your suitcase to the laundromat so you can wash all items before taking them home.
Are they increasing? In the 1940s and early 1950s, bedbugs were the most important pest we encountered. They dropped to near zero numbers, mainly because of the intervention and widespread use of DDT. But now, they are on the increase again, probably due to increased international travel.
What is its life cycle? Females lay 4 to 5 eggs per day. A single female can lay 100 to 500 eggs in her lifetime. Eggs hatch in 6 to 10 days, but in cool areas it may take as long as 30 days. They nymphs, which hatch from eggs, go through a series of 5 instars; it takes 1 to 5 months before the adult is formed.
Where do bedbugs lay their eggs? Adult female bedbugs deposit their eggs in many different places. Most commonly the eggs are placed on the mattress, inside a box spring, behind peeling wallpaper, behind walls and baseboards, near the edges of rugs, and in closets.
What do they eat? Both nymphs and adults feed only on blood. Bedbugs feed on humans, chickens, rabbits, dogs, cats, mice, pigeons, and sparrows. They prefer humans.
How long can bedbugs go without feeding? Below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, their activity is reduced. During the winter, bedbugs can survive without feeding. They can survive a year or more without a meal.
Where do bedbugs bite people? They bite people on the legs, arms, face, and body regions. Some people are more sensitive to the bite than others. Generally, the bite is not felt while it is being administered by the bug, but people know afterwards that they have been bitten. A bit causes severe itching and a large red spot, and may cause very severe allergic reactions in some individuals.
What are the health effects on humans? While bedbugs have been known to harbor pathogens in their bodies, including plague and hepatitis B, they have not been linked to the transmission of any disease and are not regarded as a medical threat. Some individuals, however, can get skin infections and scars from scratching bites from allergic reactions. While bedbugs are not regarded as a vector of transmissible diseases, they may be a significant source of stress, alarm, and/or distress. With some individuals, it may precipitate mild to moderate cases of delusional parasitosis. Bedbugs do not carry or transmit diseases to humans.
How do you get rid of bedbugs? Bedbugs can be killed using extreme heat (greater than 120F), extreme cold (less than 32F), steam, and insecticide. Their numbers can be reduced by vacuuming prior to treatment.
Bedbug Policy Instruction for the Removal and Laundering of Personal Items:
· Pick up clothing and other materials from the floor and have it treated (laundered, hot and cold treatment, or treated with insecticide which is appropriate and recommended by the pest control contractor).
· Clothing and other items in drawers will need to be removed by occupant and inspected prior to being placed temporarily in plastic bags or treated as appropriate
· If a vacant room is available, occupants will be asked to relocate. All items brought to the new room will need to be treated or cleaned prior to bringing into the new room. This will prevent the spread of bedbugs to other areas.
· If a vacant room is not available, occupant must stay away from the room until the insecticide has dried.