University Housing Updates Students About Bed Bug Situation Via Email
Monday, January 23, 2012
Just over two weeks ago, two Abel Hall residents found bedbugs
in their dorm room after returning from winter break. Last Friday,
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Housing sent out an email to all
students living in residence halls about the bedbug situation.
"We in University Housing want to actively communicate with you
about this: What we're doing, and what you can do, to manage this
situation," wrote Sue Gildersleeve, University Housing
director, in the email. "Your comfort is our top concern, and we
promise to involve you in this process."
The email informed students of what University Housing is doing
to handle the situation, as well as basic information about
bedbugs. The entire email is posted on the University Housing
Since the first case of bedbugs appeared on Jan. 6, Brooks
Exterminating Service, Inc., was called to identify that it was
bedbugs in the room. University Housing
contracted Plunkett's Pest Control Inc. to perform a heat
Gildersleeve said it was Housing's first experience
using Plunkett to treat bedbugs.
The heat treatment was performed Friday night in Abel. Results
of the heat treatment won't be known until Monday,
wrote Gildersleeve in an email.
Barb Ogg, UNL extension educator, said doing a
heat treatment to get rid of the bedbugs should work to get rid of
"When they die, they actually aren't dying of
starvation," Ogg said in a telephone interview. "They die
because they dry out. The warmer the temperature, the faster
Ogg said bedbugs can live a lot longer in cooler
temperatures, so turning down the heat in a room will not do
anything to get rid of them.
The Village also reported a case of bedbugs, but they were
isolated to one bedroom, not an entire apartment.
University Housing didn't inform students about either bedbug
situation until Friday afternoon, via email.
"The reason we didn't make an effort initially to talk about it
with other students was because of the way bedbugs
travel," Gildersleeve said. "They are not known to
migrate from one room to the room next door ... They are not
contagious like a disease that we feel we have to warnpeople."
Gildersleeve said she thought students living nearby in
Abel might have known about the issue, but she could not guarantee
that was true.
LeAnna Cutler, a sophomore business management major and
Abel resident, said she did not hear about the bedbugs until some
of her fellow battle buddies in the Big Red Baton told her last
"I'm not too upset about it, because I clean my sheets all the
time," Cutler said. "But it's a big concern as far as health issues
go and it'sgross."
Another Abel resident, Hope Job, said she heard about a bedbug
rumor from her friend, but Job wasn't sure if her friend was
telling the truth. Job, a sophomore general studies major, said she
was a little bit upset about University Housing not telling
students about the bedbugs.
"I like to know those kind of things, just in case," she
Luke Stoppkotte, a freshman athletic training major, lives
on the ninth floor of Abel, where the first case of bedbugs was
found. Stoppkottesaid he was not upset that Housing didn't
warn students about the bedbugs.
"It's kind of gross, but whatever," Stoppkotte said.
"As long as it's not in my dorm."
Because only 20 to 30 percent of people react to bites, people
might not realize they are in the area, Ogg said. And
leaving for winter break won't alone kill the bedbugs.
"They can easily live five to six months," she said. "Three
weeks for Christmas break is a piece of cake."
Knowing exactly how the bedbugs made their way into Abel is
difficult to determine. While bedbugs only travel on people, anyone
could have brought them in.
"It could have been the people (in the specific room), a guest
or a friend of a friend," Gildersleeve said.
"We'll never know, and frankly, I don't think it matters how
they got there. Nobody would bring them in intentionally. The
minute we knew they were there, we were trying to take care and
deal with it."