(New Berlin,WI, August 2, 2012) — There’s a new “college course” that students returning to their campuses next month need to study: “Bed Bugs 101.” OK, there’s really no such course. But it’s important that college students and their parents should know something about bed bugs. Why? Because July to September is the peak season for this blood sucking insect, according to recent pest control industry research findings.
“Students will soon be moving into campus housing and unless they take action multitudes of bed bugs can accompany them,” warns Jason Freels, lead technician for Batzner Bed Bug Services, New Berlin, a sister-company of Batzner Pest Management.
“As they arrive on campus, students should know that there’s a risk of bed bugs invading dorms, apartments, student centers, libraries, and classrooms, “ he says. “So it’s important to understand the ramifications of an infestation.”
According to Freels, some students may have had a bed bug infestation at their home, but may be unaware that the bugs could have hitchhiked with them on the trip to their campus. “Because these critters are so small and can easily hide, some students may not even know they had a bed bug infestation at home before they left for college. And some students may have even picked up bed bugs if they slept in a hotel on the way to their destination. The point is, bed bugs can be found anywhere,” he says.
Freels says some universities no longer allow students to bring futons or couches with them this school year. Students arriving on campus are being told that a “No Outside Furniture” rule is being enforced because of the health hazard. Any furniture that is infested with bed bugs that is moved from one location to another will spread the infestation, he says. And, if a person has bed bugs in their luggage, clothing, or other belongings, that too will quickly enable an infestation throughout a college dorm.
He offers information to help identify the telltale signs:
* Usually just under a quarter-inch long and oval in shape, bed bugs are wingless, brown or reddish brown in color, and relatively flat.
* They are able to crawl into very small crevices in and around human living spaces. These include between mattresses, seams in bed linens, upholstery, behind wood trim, inside electrical boxes, in floors, behind wallpaper and in other spaces close to a potential meal.
* An infestation doesn’t mean there are unclean or unsanitary living conditions. Even highly regarded hotels and office buildings in the USA have had bed bug infestations lately, probably because of domestic and international travel.
* Bed bugs are nocturnal creatures and can probably be seen in the early morning hours, but if an infestation is large, they may be spotted at other times as well.
According to Freels, bites can be the first signs of an infestation. Bites on some people will swell up, but bites on others may hardly cause any type of reaction, he says. Approximately 30% of the people currently living with bed bugs don’t report bites. That doesn’t mean they aren’t getting bit. They just don’t react to the bites. That means that one-third of the time, people who have bed bugs don’t know it.
Other signs he mentions include:
*Blood smears on the sheets.
*Bed bug fecal matter, which look like small black spots.
*Bed bug shedded skin.
*Bed bug eggs, which are quite small and very sticky.
“It’s important to identify them as soon as you can,” he says. “If you don’t, an infestation can grow quickly. Bed bugs can bite you, members of your family, and even your pets. They aren’t poisonous, but can certainly be a major nuisance.
“Removing headboards, washing bed linens or other infested areas might not eliminate the source. The first thing to do is to have a pest control professional thoroughly inspect the area. We do this to determine the places where the bed bugs are living. To get rid of them, we’ll then do an appropriate treatment of these areas as well as adjacent areas,” he says.
For more information, contact Batzner Bed Bug Services at 262-797-4160, or visit them on the web at www.batzner.com. The company has service centers in Green Bay, Milwaukee, Madison, Racine, Fond du Lac, and Oshkosh.