While we work daily to keep our campus safe and clean, our campus is not immune to the potential of bed bugs. While dealing with bed bugs can be frustrating and exhausting, it is possible to rid them from your residence. Montreat College works closely with a local, licensed pest control service to help us safely eradicate any occurrence of bed bugs from campus. If a student is suspicious of a bed bug infestation, they should first contact their RD and remain calm. Please continue reading for the next steps.
Signs of Bed Bugs
- Bites consist of a raised red bump or flat welt, with slight irritation. Bed Bug bites may appear indistinguishable from mosquito bites, though they tend to last for longer periods. Bites may not become immediately visible and can take up to 3-4 days to appear. Bed Bug bites tend not to have a red dot in the center which is a characteristic of flea bites. A trait shared with flea bites, however, is the tendency towards arrangements of sequential bites. Bites are often aligned three in a row, giving rise to the colloquialism “breakfast, lunch and dinner.”
- Bugs are typically found around carpet edges, mattress seams, pillowcase linings, headboards, wall trim or other tiny crack-like places.
- Droppings, eggs, bloodstains, exoskeletons, or even bed bugs themselves may be hiding in tiny folds and seam lines of mattress.
What you should not do if you believe you have Bed Bugs
- Do not panic. Bed bugs can be battled safely and successfully if you follow the guidelines below. There have been no known cases of Bed Bugs passing disease from host to host. Extensive testing has been done in laboratory settings that also conclude that Bed Bugs are unlikely to pass disease from one person to another. Therefore, bedbugs are less dangerous than some more common insects such as the flea or mosquito.
- Do not apply chemical remedies on your own. Contact Housing and Residence Life immediately and make sure to submit a maintenance request.
- Do not move your mattress, furniture, or personal items (book bags, duffle bags, etc.) out into the hallway. Infested furniture can be cleaned and treated. Placing infested items (especially mattresses) into common areas may simply help spread bed bugs to other rooms or suites.
- Do not sleep in a friend’s room or in places off campus. If you actually have Bed Bugs, you will only spread them to others.
What you should do if you believe you have Bed Bugs
- First, contact the Resident Director (RD). Any student concerned about his or her residence having bed bugs should let the RD of their building know as soon as possible. The RD will notify the Facilities Director or designee.
- Students should not clean their room or belongings during the initial discovery phase, until a trained inspector can determine if there are any signs of Bed Bugs.
- If possible, students should try to retrieve a sample bug with clear tape or plastic baggie for the trained inspector to examine.
Once the RD has contacted Facilities staff, the next steps of inspection will begin
1. A trained Pest Management Professional (PMP) will inspect the residence.
- While not required, students are encouraged to be present during the inspection with the PMP.
- Students who report suspected Bed Bugs on a workday when the PMP can be dispatched within 24 hours will be asked not to relocate to any other room until their room can be inspected by
the College’s PMP This is crucial so that we can prevent the spread of bed bugs if they are found to be in a student’s room and belongings.
- Students may not, at any time, deny the PMP or Facilities staff access to their living spaces (including bedrooms, bathroom, etc.)
- Since Bed Bugs are treatable, Residential Life will not facilitate permanent room changes for these situations.
2. If the Pest Management Professional (PMP) cannot find any evidence of Bed Bugs….
- The PMP will not treat the room if there is no evidence of Bed Bugs present; however, a glue board may be installed to monitor activity. The student will be asked to continue monitoring their living space, and to notify the RD immediately if there are further concerns.
3. If the Pest Management Professional (PMP) confirms the presence of Bed Bugs ….
- If the PMP concludes that Bed Bugs are present in the residence, the Facilities Director and Residential Life will provide the affected student(s) with a detailed list of instructions for the removal and laundering of their personal items.
- Montreat College will provide students with plastic bags to assist the student with laundering clothes. Laundry for residential students is free in on-campus laundry rooms. The college will not cover the cost of anything the student wishes to dry clean or have laundered by an outside vendor.
- The College relies on the assessment of the PMP to identify signs of Bed Bugs in any residence.
- Bed Bugs are a serious community issue, and ALL students are expected to comply with the instructions and the Bed Bug Treatment Checklist for students within 24 hours once bed bugs have been confirmed within their living space.
Once the presence of Bed Bugs is confirmed
A treatment plan will be developed. The treatment of the room may take upwards of 7-10 business days. Check with your RD if you have any questions about these instructions. Bed bugs can travel in clothing, bags, backpacks, laptops, furniture—anything with small spaces to hide. Therefore, all actions should be performed inside your room to prevent the spread of bed bugs.
Steps to be taken by students if bed bugs have been confirmed in their residence:
Bed Bug Treatment Checklist for Students
- Personal electronics (i.e. smartphones, music systems, laptops, and other electronics) should be left on the desktop during treatment so they can be examined.
- Textbooks and study materials should also be left in your room (not bagged) during treatment. Backpacks should be treated as clothing.It is imperative that the following be done after the room has been inspected and the presence of bed bugs have been confirmed, but before room is treated:
- All clothing, including items in your room, dresser and closet must be bagged and laundered. In addition, all bath linens, bedding, and soft luggage (duffle bags) must be bagged and laundered. Please contact your RD when you are ready to start the process, as they will provide the bags necessary to accommodate your items. They will also provide you with bags in which to place your items after laundering.
- Items that are delicate or have the possibility of shrinking or color fading may be put into a separate plastic bag clearly marked DRY CLEANING at the student’s discretion. Anything a student wishes to dry clean or have laundered by an outside vendor is the student’s responsibility.
- Bring laundry bags immediately to laundry room and empty contents into the dryer. Immediately after unloading and starting laundry, dispose of plastic bags in a dumpster outside the building. Run the dryer on high heat for at least 20 minutes before washing; the dryer heat on campus is above 130º degrees, which is what is needed to kill the bed bugs. Wash twice, in hot water, and dry on high heat. Be sure to place cleaned laundry in new bags.
- Do not take laundered items back into the room until given clearance to do so by the PMP and/or Facilities Director. Treatment may take up to 10 days.
- Clean up all clutter; remove all non-furniture items from under beds and discard cardboard boxes. All trash should be placed in plastic bags and tied before removed from the room. Remember, clutter provides places for bugs to hide! Take all items off the floor, including closet floors.
- Move all items into center of room, at least two feet away from the walls.
- Place any shoes or other small, non-washable items from your closet into a plastic garbage bag and tie the bag off. Leave this in your room until the PMP treats the room.
- Vacuum all carpet and furniture, making sure to clean all crevices and corners, make sure to get behind furniture, including bed headboard. Immediately place vacuum bag into a plastic bag, tie the bag, and dispose in dumpster outside building. Leave vacuum cleaner in the room to be treated. Remove all open food.
- Leave room for at least 3 hours following treatment by PMP.
After room has been treated:
- Vacuum daily and discard vacuum bags after each use.
- A second treatment will be administered by the exterminator 7-10 days after the initial treatment.
- Do not mop floor or clean chemical residue for at least 10 days after the final treatment.
- Room will be inspected by PMP 7-10 days after first or second treatment (as necessary) with a college staff member present and the student(s) are again encouraged to be present. Follow-up will be determined as needed.