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Bed Bug Education For Universities
It’s no secret that college campuses are ground zero for bed bugs. In fact, University of Nebraska–Lincoln recently experienced a bed bug infestation on campus and is reeling from the aftermath. Proactive education is paramount in addressing infestations as well as preventing it all together.
Student housing organizations and residence life need to address the complex challenges behind treating and managing a bed bug infestation. It is evident that bed bug policies are needed; however, most schools are dealing with bed bugs in a reactive fashion rather than a proactive one.
According to Nebraska media, since students returned from Christmas break in early January, officials at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln have discovered bed bugs in 26 student rooms and in eight common areas of four residence halls. Students are reporting they were asked to remain silent about the infestations.
“Institutions of higher education can best serve their students by having proactive, reactive, and follow-up protocols in place,” said Jeffrey White, Technical Director of BedBug Central. “These protocols should clearly outline the steps that all involved parties should take to prevent an infestation.”
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, bed bugs are increasingly becoming a problem within residences of all kinds, including homes, apartments, hotels, cruise ships, dormitories, and shelters. Colleges and universities need to develop policies on how to manage and mitigate infestations if and when they occur. And once a policy is in place, students, parents, and residence life should all be equally educated on the different aspects of bed bugs biology and behavior, prevention and treatment methods.
New Jersey-based Rutgers University, one of the few institutions that has recognized the need for bed bug policy and education on its campus, provides students with a downloadable PDF Bed Bug Information Sheet right from their main website. The pamphlet gives students and parents’ helpful information about bed bugs and how they assist in the eradication of an infestation. They have also outlined the service call criteria, and what you should inspect during and after treatment.
College administration can help by providing students and staff with information to pass along to new move-ins, such as bed bug information in the student handbook, handouts, fact sheets, and pictures. Additionally, administrators should periodically remind students that they should be checking for bed bugs and reporting any signs of pests they may find in their rooms.
Although many colleges remain reactive to bed bugs, some college websites contain helpful and accurate bed bug information. These sites can be used as a reference for creating protocols and educational materials. Besides Rutgers University, Kentucky University, Harvard University, and Cornell University all have accurate bed bug information.
In addition, the “Bed Bug Handbook: The Complete Guide to Bed Bugs and Their Control” written by L.J. Pinto, R. Cooper, and S.K. Kraft, can be utilized as a great resource. This book provides very detailed information about bed bugs, as well as outlines many different and useful checklists.