Bugs not biting at CSU

Sep 142010
Authors: Hannah Cornish

Although the U.S. has witnessed a spike in bedbug infestations recently, a 57 percent increase in five years according to the National Pest Management Association, CSU has missed out on the trend.

Jeannine Riess, CSU’s public health administrator, said even though universities are more prone to infestations, there have been very few cases here.

But the university, in response to the heightened concern about bedbugs, wanted to inform students of how to recognize bedbugs and avoid them.

“The most important thing for people to know is that anybody can get them,” said Matt Camper, a professor in CSU’s Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management
Department. Camper said that it is not a matter of being clean or dirty; everyone is capable of getting them.

The most recent case took place within the past year. Riess said three live bedbugs were found in a CSU residence hall bedroom, and pest control treated the entire
floor to avoid any other possible infestations.

When treating the infestations, Riess said they use heat treatment that is non-chemical.

Cases of infestations have remained fairly steady since she started at CSU in 2007.

“It is a seasonal thing,” Riess said. “Especially with universities. People can bring them back to campus after having been on break.”

When it comes to finding these bugs, Camper said people should never search their bodies for them. These bugs live in small dark crevices and come out between 2 and 5 a.m. while people are usually in the REM cycle of sleep, the deepest sleep.

Bedbugs look almost identical to ticks. They are about the size of a watermelon seed and have flat bodies. Considering bedbugs are not the easiest culprits to spot, the best way to look for them is by their fecal matter or by their eggs, which are found on things like your clothes or on your sheets.

Bedbugs spread quickly by laying their eggs on people’s clothes, usually pajamas, but not on bodies. And when people mix clothes they brought on vacation with the clothes they have sitting at home, the bugs inevitably spread.

“The No. 1 key is heat” to get rid of them, Camper said. To avoid the possibility of infestation, the best thing to do is to immediately throw vacation clothes in the drier.

If an infestation has already taken place, it takes a few days to become aware of it.

“Everyone reacts to bedbug bites differently,” Camper said. But, he said, generally people would find a small bite that resembles a mosquito or ant bite somewhere on their body.

Once an infestation has taken place, pest control services are virtually the only thing that will get rid of them.

“Expect three to four weeks of treatment stages,” Camper said.

Staff writer Hannah Cornish can be reached at news@collegian.com.

Bedbug recognition and prevention

  • Look for small eggs, feces or tick-sized bugs on clothing. Check clothes, especially pajamas, after vacations.
  • Wash your clothes as soon as possible after returning from vacations.
  • Bedbug sprays only work for short periods of time. The best way to get rid of bedbugs is to contact professional services.
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