Bedbugs are a growing, worldwide problem brought about by increased travel and decreased use of pesticides. Bedbugs have been found in five-star hotels, college residence halls, hospitals, and virtually all other types of housing throughout the United States. Given the nearly 4,200+ residence hall students and hundreds of summer visitors from around the world who live in MSU residence halls each year, we have had experience in handling and removing bed bugs from our environment. MSU Residence Life has developed a multi-pronged approach to the handling of bed bugs when the staff is alerted to their presence. We also are continuing to enhance our educational efforts with students and guests about how to prevent the spread of bed bugs and to minimize the impact on our residence hall environment. We have outlined below our approach to help in understanding how bed bugs are handled at MSU.
- Educate yourself about bed bugs and understand how they live
- Take precautions when traveling to minimize the chance of bringing bed bugs to campus.
- Do not buy or bring second hand furniture that may contain bed bugs. Launder your clothing and bedding regularly to help reduce the chance of harboring bed bugs.
- Empty and inspect your backpack frequently.
- Keep your room picked up and orderly, vacuum your room and remove trash at least weekly, to reduce hiding places for bed bugs.
- Examine your bed and the area near your bed thoroughly every couple of weeks. Always be aware of the possibility of bed bug presence and react swiftly to inform the front desk that you may have a problem. Do not hesitate to call!
- Do not treat your room with chemicals, sprays or any other type of product to control or kill bed bugs, this will hinder the efforts of our professional exterminators.
- Capture any bug you suspect may be a bed bug so MSU ResLife staff can positively identify the bug.
- Understand that bed bugs are a distraction and inconvenience and will require some extra work and possible temporary displacement from your room.
- Provide the resources and information to educate all students about bed bugs and what students need to do if they suspect they may have bed bugs.
- Respond quickly to any student bed bug concern.
- Take proactive measures to detect and treat any potential bed bug problems and guide students through all necessary bed bug related procedures.
- Utilize up to date pest control techniques to minimize the risk and exposure to bed bugs.
- Establish a high level protocol for all Housing employees training and execution for effective pest control management.
- Hire proven, qualified professional exterminators to help prevent, detect and eradicate bed bugs.
- Openly communicate bed bug issues to all parties affected.
- Document all bed bug cases and monitor potential resurgence of infected areas.
- Accept no liability for damages during the heat treatment process.
Bed Bug Overview
- Bed bugs are blood feeder parasites that seek out people and animals to feed on.
- Adult bed bugs are apple seed size and nymphs and eggs are much smaller.
- Bed bugs are brown colored, flat, oval, with six legs and two antennae.
- They do not fly (no wings) or jump.
- They tend to feed at night and hide during the day.
Unexplained, often itchy red spots appearing on the skin usually in rows or clusters (skin reactions can be more severe). Drugs, medical, mental conditions, and allergies can mimic insect bites.
- Look for scattered brown spots on bed linen and/or mattress seams, or favorite seat.
- Look for small oval brown insects on bed(s) or chair(s).
- Contact Residence Life Staff to identify insects (if found). Carpet beetles, fleas, ticks, and small cockroaches can be mistaken for bed bugs.
There is not one approach or one thing that students and families can do to prevent bed bugs, but there are several different things that can be considered prior to moving into the residence halls to minimize any impact of bed bugs in the rooms. We encourage students and parents to educate themselves on bed bugs and to understand how they are transported, what they feed on, where they live, and what efforts can be made to minimize these efforts. Some of the suggestions that we encourage students and parents to consider are:
- Wash and dry all clothes in a dryer on high heat before moving into the residence halls or immediately after returning to the halls from a trip or vacation away from campus.
- Inspect all luggage, bags, backpacks, etc. when moving in or returning from a trip and use a heat treatment to remove any bed bugs from those belongings.
- Keep all new sheets and clothes wrapped prior to moving in so that the personal belongings can not be contaminated prior to students moving in.
- Vacuum and keep the room clean on a regular basis to minimize warm and dark locations for the bed bugs to hibernate and live in.
- Do not enter a room or socialize in a room that has a confirmed case of bed bugs. Transporting the bugs from one room to another will increase the risk and spread of bed bugs throughout the residence halls and create a bigger problem for students and staff.
- Notify staff immediately upon possible identification of bed bugs in a room or on personal belongings.
When an inspection of a room is ordered, the Residence Life staff will work with the students of the room as well as any adjacent rooms to inspect the personal belongings, the facility, and any other items that might have bed bugs in/on them. An inspection includes, but is not limited to:
- Bed linens
- Bed frames and mattresses
- Desk and desk chair
- Containers and boxes
- Blankets and pillows
- Bags, backpacks, suitcases, etc.
- Books and magazines
- Electronics and music instruments
- Rugs, carpets, and floor coverings
Residence Life in conjunction with a local pest control company has worked to develop the best practice to take care of any confirmed cases of bed bugs found in the residence halls. Our process includes multiple efforts and approaches that based on the severity of the issue will be used. The various options include, but are not limited to:ta
- Heat Treatments have proven to be one of the most effective processes to take care of bed bugs. Using a combination of a heat tent and the University dryer machines we will heat all personal belongings up to the prescribed temperature to neutralize all bed bugs, eggs and any other remnant of bed bugs.
- Chemicals are effective, but also require a combination of chemicals and sprays to be used in order to take care of the problem. Working with our pest company, we utilize a wide variety of chemicals and sprays throughout the entire room once personal belongings are removed.
Common Bed Bug Myths
- Myth: You can’t see bed bugs.
- Reality: You should be able to see adult bed bugs, nymphs, and eggs with your naked eye.
- Myth: Bed bugs live in dirty places.
- Reality: Bed bugs are not attracted to dirt and grime; they are attracted to warmth, blood, and carbon dioxide. However, clutter offers more hiding spots.
- Myth: Bed bugs transmit diseases.
- Reality: There have been no cases or studies that indicate bed bugs transmit diseases between humans.
- Myth: Bed bugs won’t come out if the room is brightly lit.
- Reality: While bed bugs prefer darkness, keeping the light on at night won’t deter these pests from biting you.
- Myth: Pesticide application alone will easily eliminate bed bugs infestations.
- Reality: Bed bug control can only be maintained through a treatment strategy that includes a variety of techniques. Proper use of pesticides may be part of the strategy but will not by itself eliminate bed bugs. With Residence Life and a qualified pest management professional if you suspect bed bugs in your room.