Bed bug infestations on the rise
Daily Universe (UT)
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Despite the efforts of the Honor Code Office, sometimes students
do not go to bed alone. Bed bugs are invading the apartments of
college students across the nation, and BYU could be next.
Over the past five years, numbers of bed bug infestations have
increased dramatically nationwide, and college apartments are a key
target for the bugs because of frequent moving and sometimes
less-than-immaculate apartments. Derrick Turner, a junior in civil
engineering, from Akron, Ohio, dealt with bed bugs while living at
a local complex and said an apartment complex with bed bugs can
create havoc with its residents.
"I lived in an a complex that had [bed bug] problems and my
friends were covered in bites," Turner said. "They had to get the
apartment sprayed three or four times before the bugs
Bed bugs' size can range from as small as a sharpened pencil tip
to as big as an eraser head. The bugs numb the skin when they bite
so those bitten don't wake up and it can take days for red itchy
spots to appear on the skin of those bitten. Michael Colongione,
owner of Gotcha Bed Bug Inspectors, said although bed bugs are not
known to carry disease, they can become a major inconvenience in a
short period of time.
"Even one bug or one egg can be a problem because they procreate
rapidly and food is plentiful," Colongione said.
Colongione said infestations can spread quickly at colleges
because the bugs are easily transferred from clothing to furniture
as students move from apartment to apartment.
A recent study by the National Pest Management Association
showed that college apartments were second only to hotels in
bed bug infestations. The study also showed major universities such
as the University of Illinois, the Ohio State University and the
University of Florida have already gone to great means to rid dorms
of massive infestations.
Although Utah's climate does not provide the most ideal
environment for bed bugs, the state is not immune to the increase.
Salt Lake City has seen a 94 percent increase in bed bug
infestations in recent years. According to BYU's Off-Campus Housing
Office, cases at BYU are few compared to other universities
but the problem still exists. Gary Briggs, manager of BYU
Off-Campus Housing, said the problem needs to be taken care of
swiftly so the bugs don't spread.
"Report it immediately to your landlord," Briggs said. "If the
landlord doesn't do anything, contact our office and we'll deal
with the landlord."
A variety of over-the-counter remedies are available to treat
small problems and prevent bed bugs from transferring from
place to place, but once infested, professional-strength pesticides
are usually the only way to completely get rid of an
"You need to do your research and be educated [about bed bugs],"
Colongione said. "That's the best defense."