Bed bugs move in on campus

Bed bugs have recently been discovered in student apartments on campus. Thus far, infestations have been confirmed by Residence Life in several units in Harwood Hall, 1 unit in the Garden apartments and in one uninhabited room in Building 757 of Hess Village and treatment us underway according to Marmian Grimes, senior public information officer.

No additional infestations are suspected in any other student housing according to Grimes.

The university was made aware of one instance of the pests in September, Grimes said, and has been addressing the problem since then.

“People don’t need to worry about what they should be doing right now,” Grimes said. “If they are affected we will have people directly in contact with them. Residence life has been working with some of the residents for a while so many people already were aware of what was going on.”

While no definitive cause has been confirmed, it is believed the bugs were introduced to campus on furniture that had been transported from an off campus residence, Grimes said.

Residence Life has organized eradication of the pests with the assistance of American Pest Management, a professional extermination company. The inhabitants of each residence have been informed of the issue as well as the treatment plan and an extermination team will sit down with members of each residence to outline steps for treatment. In addition to treating the infestation in known sites, the team will investigate other residences to confirm the pests have not spread.

“There will likely be some additional work going on especially in those buildings to see if the pests have spread to any other apartments within the building and treat as necessary,” Grimes said. “I think anytime you have any sort of pest in a residential setting it’s concerning, so that’s part of the reason why we’re doing more investigation.”

To fully eradicate the bugs, the extermination team will need to visit each affected residence multiple times to confirm a thorough treatment of the problem. Inhabitants of each residence will not have to move out of the residence during treatment. However, the treatment involves a number of insecticides and residents have been informed they should avoid the their homes for at least 4 hours after each treatment.

According to the Center for Disease Control, bedbugs are flightless pests that tend to gather near where people sleep. Though they are not known to carry disease, their bites tend to cause itching and irritation.

Attached to a campus wide email sent out Oct. 5 are several links to the Center for Disease Control and the UAF Cooperative Extension that detail the treatment plan and answer any basic questions campus residents may have, according to Grimes.

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