Bed Bug Cost? $65 Per UNL Resident
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
LINCOLN - The University of Nebraska-Lincoln spent nearly
$400,000 - roughly $65 per resident - to track down and eradicate
bedbugs in its student housing.
It was worth it, according to Juan Franco, UNL vice chancellor of
"We think any parent or student would think it's worth $65 to be
certain that we're providing a comfortable place for our students
to live and study," he said.
UNL last week wrapped up a six-week effort to sweep all 3,256
residence hall rooms with bedbug-detecting dogs.
These were the results: 197 rooms treated; $324,000 spent on
detection and treatment and $60,500 spent on equipment that will
continue to be used in the future.
Although 197 rooms were treated for the pests, UNL officials say
they believe that far fewer rooms actually were infested.
There were only eight cases of students reporting bedbug bites.
Bugs, eggs or droppings were sighted in fewer than 10 other
In all other instances, rooms were treated only based upon a dog's
indication that it detected bedbugs. In some cases, the detection
was confirmed by a second dog, Franco said. In others, rooms were
treated at students' request even though the dog's detection was
Franco said that many other campuses across the country have
battled bedbugs in recent years.
To his knowledge, UNL mounted a more comprehensive attack than any
other campus. "I don't know any that have done the exhaustive
review we did," he said.
It was necessary, he said, to assure students and their families
that UNL housing is clean.
"We knew it would take a lot of effort and would be expensive, but
students come first," he said.
Franco said housing rates have already been set for next year and
will not need to be increased to cover the costs of the bedbug
He said the cost can be absorbed in the housing department's $55
million annual budget. It represents less than 1 percent of the
A mild winter has helped because heating and snow removal costs
have been lower than normal.
Bedbugs were detected in some rooms in Abel Hall on the downtown
campus after students returned after winter break Jan. 9.
Franco said UNL will continue to aggressively battle bedbugs into
Students departing for spring break next week will leave with
fliers giving them advice on how to avoid bringing bedbugs back to
campus from their travels.
In mid-May, after residence halls empty out at semester's end,
housing officials will again sweep all rooms with bedbug-detecting
The sweep should take less time when there are no student
belongings that need to be moved out of the way. The mid-May
inspection should reassure those arriving to stay in the residence
halls for summer conferences.
Another sweep will be conducted in early August, after summer camps
and before students arrive on campus for the fall semester.