Bed Bugs and You
Bed bugs thrive in universities because there are many people in a confined space. For instance, college dorm rooms can provide a perfect environment for an infestation. In fact, a survey conducted by NPMA (National Pest Management Association) found that 46% of pest control professionals have encountered infestations of bed bugs in college dormitories.
Common questions about Bed Bugs
What are Bed Bugs?
· Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) are small, flat, parasitic insects that feed solely on the blood of people and animals while they sleep. Bed bugs are reddish-brown in color, wingless, range from 1mm to 7mm (roughly the size of Lincoln’s head on a penny), and can live several months without a blood meal.
Do bed bugs spread disease?
· Bed bugs are not known to spread disease. Bed bugs can be an annoyance because their presence may cause itching and loss of sleep. Sometimes the itching can lead to excessive scratching that can sometimes increase the chance of a secondary skin infection.
How do I know if I have been bitten by a bed bug?
· It is hard to tell if you’ve been bitten by a bed bug unless you find bed bugs or signs of infestation. When bed bugs bite, they inject an anesthetic and an anticoagulant that prevents a person from realizing they are being bitten. Most people do not realize they have been bitten until bite marks appear anywhere from one to several days after the initial bite. The bite marks are similar to that of a mosquito or a flea -- a slightly swollen and red area that may itch and be irritating. The bite marks may be random or appear in a straight line. Other symptoms of bed bug bites include insomnia, anxiety, and skin problems that arise from profuse scratching of the bites. Because bed bug bites affect everyone differently, some people may have no reaction and will not develop bite marks or any other visible signs of being bitten. Other people may be allergic to the bed bugs and can react adversely to the bites. These allergic symptoms can include enlarged bite marks, painful swellings at the bite site, and, on rare occasions, anaphylaxis.
Here are the NPMA's tips for preventing bringing bed bugs in school:
· Fully inspect your suitcases prior to re-packing for a return to school, especially if you have traveled during the summer. Be sure that any clothes that may have been previously packed in the suitcase have been washed in hot water.
· Before putting your sheets on your dormitory bed, inspect the mattress seams, particularly at the corners, for telltale stains or spots. Thoroughly inspect the entire room before unpacking, including behind the headboard and in sofas/chairs. If you see anything suspect, immediately contact a university facility manager.
· If you are considering bringing "secondhand" furniture to campus, properly inspect it to ensure that a pest problem, such as bed bugs, is not the reason for its "secondhand" status. If you see anything suspect, do not bring it to your dorm, apartment or house.
Resource: PestWorld.org; CDC.gov
Published on August 28, 2017