Bed bugs found in on and off-campus residences

Originally published November 5, 2010

Students have reported finding bed bugs in the St. James apartment complex.

“My boyfriend lives in an off-campus house and they originally got the bed bugs because the people who had lived there before had them and neglected to say anything about it,” senior psychology major Amanda Vogl said. “We got the bed bugs from me staying over at his place and him staying at mine. He found them first, and then I found one at my place.”

Vogl’s roommate, senior advertising and theatre arts major Jessica Dobson said the bugs have only been found in one room.

“So far we’ve been pretty lucky,” she said. “Amanda has only found a couple in her own room. We’ve taken precautions, however, to ensure they don’t spread through our apartment as we’re told they’re extremely difficult to kill.”

Vogl said she originally tried to get rid of the bugs using advice from the Internet.

“I tried to get rid of them using techniques I’d found online, because I realized the process of professionally exterminating them would destroy my apartment,” she said. “I was naive enough to believe the bugs wouldn’t spread. Luckily they didn’t get to my roommates, but once I found a second bug I called Cambridge.”

Fortunately, Cambridge paid for bed bug extermination, Dobson said.

“Cambridge pays for our extermination because the bugs can easily spread from one apartment to the next through electrical outlets and vents,” she said. “I’ve been told Orkin usually charges $400 for the first room exterminated, and $200 for each additional room.”

To get rid of the bed bugs and prepare for the exterminator, every bit of cloth in the apartment needed to be washed, Vogl said.

“Cambridge gave me a list of things to do to prepare for the exterminator,” she said. “The list said we had to wash every cloth in the apartment and bag clothing and papers in airtight plastic bags for at least ten days. It’s been really hard on everyone because we’re living out of plastic bags. It’s really annoying.”

Dobson said preparing for the exterminator and cleaning up afterwards was tough.

“We had to clear off shelves and empty dressers in order for him to spray everything,” she said. “After evacuating our apartment for four hours, we returned to see what looked like a hurricane in our apartment. Drawers taken out of dressers, couches turned over and everything covered in white spots from the exterminating liquid.”

The roommates now have zip-on mattress and box spring covers to protect their bedding, Dobson said.

“The exterminator left us mattress and box spring covers that zip on – what seems like an easy task but truly isn’t,” she said. “We were lucky he had extra because I’m told they’re usually pretty expensive. We’re going to keep all our other stuffed bagged up for now because the exterminator will be back to spray again in 10 days, though not nearly as much. Hopefully he won’t tear the apartment apart again.”