A worldwide problem. Bedbugs are a growing, worldwide problem brought about by increased travel and decreased use of pesticides. Bedbugs have been found in five-star hotels, college residence halls, hospitals, and virtually all other types of housing throughout the United States. Given the nearly 30,000 students and summer visitors from around the world who live in Student Housing each year, we are fortunate to have had very few cases since bedbugs resurfaced on a large scale in the United States a few years ago. Our peer Ivy League and University of California schools have also reported cases of bedbugs.
What are bedbugs? Bedbugs are small, flat, oval, wingless insects (about one-fifth of an inch) that are visible to the naked eye. They crawl at a steady rate. Like mosquitoes, they bite humans to feed on blood, but unlike mosquitoes, they do not transmit disease. They are hardy creatures that can live for up to 18 months without feeding and are able to withstand extreme temperature changes. They are nocturnal. During the day, they hide in crevices, bed frames, mattresses and box springs, behind electrical outlet covers and picture frames, inside drawers of furniture, within pleats of curtains, in clothes discarded on the floor, and in other spaces where they are not easily detected. They are called bedbugs because they thrive best in beds where people sleep. The first sign of a bedbug is often a rash or bite mark and blood spots on linens.
How are bedbugs brought onto campus? Bedbugs are generally not carried on your person, but they can be carried in personal possessions such as bedding, suitcases, backpacks, boxes, and furniture.
What does Student Housing do when bedbugs are discovered? Student Housing takes this problem very seriously and has an integrated pest management program in place to deal with cases when they are brought to our attention. We employ Crane Pest Control, a licensed, experienced pest control management company, whose employees are trained to identify and eradicate bedbugs. When a case is confirmed, we immediately relocate the affected students. Crane then inspects all personal items in the room and bags them for transport. Clothes are laundered or dry cleaned. Except in very unusual cases, all personal items are returned to students as quickly as possible. Carpeting and furniture are then removed and destroyed. The entire room is treated. We then repaint and install new carpeting and furniture before students return. Our aggressive pest management program allows us to eradicate bedbugs so we do not have repeat incidents in the same rooms as do many other institutions.
We understand the stress and burden this problem creates for affected students, and we try to respond sensitively, to assist students with academic issues, to restore their personal possessions as quickly as possible, and to move students back to their rooms as soon as we are confident that the problem has been resolved.
What is Student Housing doing to prevent bedbugs? In addition to our response protocol to individual cases, Student Housing is engaged in ongoing proactive measures to prevent and contain future cases. These include educational materials for students, staff training, partnership with Vaden Health Services and Stanford’s Environmental Health and Safety office, sharing best practices with peer institutions in the Ivy League and University of California system, and investigation of effective preventative treatments. We have also begun new inspection procedures to identify bedbugs after residents move out and before new residents move in.
What can I do to help? Though bedbugs are very rare at Stanford, and we have had only a few isolated cases in recent years, we need your assistance to avert and contain future cases. As bedbugs are brought into buildings in the belongings of people, here is what you can do to help:
Other resources. There are many good resources on bedbugs. Check the web sites listed below or do a keyword search in your favorite internet search portal such as Google or Yahoo.
Further questions. If you have further questions, contact your local Housing Supervisor, Student Housing Associate, or HARPSA.
Our commitment to you. We hope that the information in this fact sheet provides you a better understanding of this problem, the actions Student Housing is taking to address it, and what you can do to help. Providing a safe living environment for our students and residential visitors is Student Housing’s highest priority. Please know that everyone on our staff and in Residential and Dining Enterprises is committed to doing everything practicable to manage the impact of this worldwide problem on our campus.
Last modified Tue, 9 Jul, 2013 at 8:58