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Bed bugs persist despite Res Life efforts

Full story in this week's print edition

By Rachel Bailey
On April 4, 2012

 

Efforts to eradicate bed bugs at Smith and Berry residence halls at Texas A&M University-Commerce have reduced but not eliminated the parasites, which were the source of 80 documented complaints to Residential Living and Learning (Res Life) over the past two years.

Reports obtained through facilities assert that there were 65 confirmed bed bug cases in Smith and Berry for the academic year of August 2010-2011. According to Assistant Director for Facilities Kathy McGrath the problem had been going on for several years.

A former Residence Assistant (RA#1) who wishes to remain anonymous told The East Texan that treating the bed bug problem was a common issue.

"We were running the heaters at least once a week if not more," RA#1 said. "People told me about bed bug problems at Berry at least once or twice a day."

Res Life requires that after a bed bug complaint is filed, student maintenance workers check for the presence of bed bugs in the room. After the case was confirmed, the room would be sealed and the heater ran at 130 degrees for 3 hours.

Another former Residence Assistant (RA#2) who also wishes to remain anonymous said they informed Res Life officials that this method was not very effective, but that was ignored.

"I went in once when the heater was running, as if though they did not want me to see how it all worked," RA#2 said. "There was insulation over the vents and tape, but it was not completely sealed and the tape was falling off."

Information from facilities states that the treatment process for bed bugs takes three days to complete.  According to reports, six of the 15 cases since August 2011 took more than three days. Slow response time meant students suffered more exposure to bed bugs.

"We had to deal with people who had open sores and welts from the bedbugs complaining to us," RA#1 said. "A lot of times the heating wouldn't get done for an entire week."

Resident Assistants and Maintenance Assistants are required to check rooms for bed bugs in order to confirm cases.

"We never physically took the heaters over, but we had to check every room for bed bugs which then made us at risk for bed bugs," former RA#1 said.

According to Facilities, symptoms of bed bugs include "small welts similar to mosquito bites that show up in the morning or in the middle of the night."

If a student believes they have bed bugs, Residence Life advises that they contact a RA or Hall Director as soon as possible.

"Report it immediately, move away from your room and leave your stuff to be heated and treated," Director of Residential Living and Learning Dennis Koch said. "Whatever you take with you wash in hot water. Clean your room and make sure that your laundry is done properly."

For the rest of this story, check out the front page of this week's print edition of The East Texan.


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