The Cimex lectularius has everyone from New York to California checking the sheets in the hotel or bedroom twice before even thinking about hitting the hay. In other words, you can sleep tight, but if you have bed bugs, they will surely bite.
Now, the bed bugs have found their way to Marquette’s campus.
Residents at all university-owned housing received a letter and brochure concerning bed bugs earlier this week. The letter was sent “in an effort to educate students about the bed bug resurgence,” while the brochure gives the facts and tips on dealing with the pesky insects.
Daniel Bergen, area coordinator for University Apartments, said the letters were sent to keep students alert after learning of an infestation on campus.
“Currently, we do have one confirmed case within Campus Town East,” Bergen said.
Kathy Wierzchowski, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, said before the letter came, she and her roommates had woken up with strange mosquito-like bites, only to realize they had a bed bug problem.
“At first I was glad to know why we had gotten these bites,” Wierzchowski said. “Then I ran to my room and actually found one, which was horrifying.”
Meanwhile, Wierzchowski and her roommates have been relocated to Humphrey Hall for temporary housing while their room is being cleaned, Wierzchowski said.
Bergen said Wierzchowski’s room is the only confirmed case of bed bugs.
“Campus Town East is not infested with bed bugs,” Bergen said. “Students tend to be a highly transient population and from time-to-time we experience isolated cases. As far as we are aware, only that individual apartment is affected.”
Ceara Milligan, a junior in the College of Business Administration, said she had no idea there was a bed bug problem in Campus Town.
“Now that I know about it, I think it’s a big concern — a big, disgusting concern,” Milligan said.
Bed bugs have taken a stranglehold on nationwide coverage in recent months, with several infestations being reported in New York City and other major cities.
Bed bugs travel around by attaching themselves to luggage, clothes and sheets, earning them the nickname of “the world’s greatest hitchhikers.” Another common place for bed bugs to congregate is in furniture on the side of the road.
The sheer volume of reported bed bug cases recently prompted the launch of the Bedbug Registry, a website that has a map and archive of bed bug complaints. A week long convention centered on bed bug prevention is also being held in Rosemont, Ill.
Rooms that are found to be inhabited by bed bugs will undergo a comprehensive cleaning program, Bergen said.
“Firstly, students must wash and dry all clothing and clean his or her living space thoroughly,” Bergen said. “Then our pest control agency will then treat the mattresses and any other furniture in the living space. Afterwards, there will be follow-up treatments throughout the next few weeks to ensure their complete eradication.”
Bed bugs, though a nuisance, are not dangerous and cannot transmit diseases, according to Student Health Services. Typically, the only mark a bed bug leaves is a cluster of three red and often very itchy bite marks.
The quarter-inch-long bug is nocturnal and reddish in color. Bed bugs tend to mass along mattress seams, inside sheet folds and holes in bed frames, according to the distributed brochure.
Students who have, or are concerned they have, bed bugs should immediately contact his or her hall director or landlord, Bergen said.
“I really hope that people check their apartments so the little terrors never come back,” Wierzchowski said.