In student housing, bed bugs can spread from room to room with ease, which keeps the Ferris Housing and Residence Life department on their toes.
“It’s been happening probably in the last 5-6 years,” said Lisa Ortiz, the Assistant Director of the Office of Housing and Resident Life at Ferris. “The entire state of Michigan is seeing an uptake in bed bugs right now, so it’s not just Ferris State. We’re just trying to be proactive to ensure that, if something does pop up, we are quick in our response and that’s why we did the awareness posters, etc. So it’s nothing new, it’s just ensuring that our students know the policy and procedures.”
According to Ortiz, bites on your skin are a good indicator of bed bugs and students should check the seams of their mattresses or even the seams of their luggage, if they travel frequently. If a student finds bed bugs, they should contact their housing staff immediately.
“What happens is we find them a temporary location on campus. We ask them to take their basic belongings and what we do is we bring a professional exterminator in,” said Ortiz. “The exterminator actually uses a system that bakes the room, which is perfectly safe for all belongings, including electronics, but still kills the bed bugs.”
The extermination process heats the room to 140 degrees farenheit and takes one day once the professional exterminator is able to arrive on campus. As a result of this procedure, the Housing and Residence Life department will provide the student with a temporary living space for that time.
“We do provide them with extra laundry cards, so what they do is they wash what they immediately take with them and kill the initial eggs and adults so that they’re not spreading into the new room,” Ortiz said.
Ferris facility management junior, Preston Tindall experienced bed bug precautions this previous summer.
“I was sleeping in my room in North Bond over the summer and they just pounded on my door. I sat right up and I answered, it was a bunch of people, I’m pretty sure they were from the physical plant, but they came in and, they told me what they were doing, but they just came in and started pulling up my bed sheets and shining a flashlight in the crevices of the mattress,” Tindall said. “They were telling me they were checking for bugs and they were looking for little brown dots that they find sometimes and that’s the bug’s poop, and that can be an indicator that you have bed bugs, if they find that.”
Fortunately, they did not find bed bugs in Tindall’s room, although a lot of other residents were mad about the search, according to Tindall.
“I think they were just doing their jobs,” Tindall said.
It is advised that students inspect their beds and notify housing staff if they have reason to believe that they have bed bugs.