Residence Hall FAQs Preventing Bed Bugs
Help Us Prevent Bed Bugs On Campus
Bedbugs have made a recent comeback in the United States. The bugs are the size and shape of an apple seed. They are not known to transmit disease, but they are a nuisance and are very difficult to get rid of. The bites usually look similar to mosquito bites, although some will have very little reaction and others will react severely with hives. Evidence of a bedbug infestation (other than bites) includes empty exoskeletons, blood spots on sheets and black specks of waste in the seams of a mattress.
You can avoid spreading bed bugs by choosing not to bring used furniture items into your residence hall room, especially if it was found on the side of the road or in a second hand store. If you choose to get used furniture, please carefully inspect it before bringing it to campus.
If you come in contact with any of these pests, please know that they are not a result of being unsanitary. Bed bugs are looking for a live host to feast on, and good or bad hygiene does not attract or deter them. If you are in a place where you get bites and/or you actually see bed bugs, please be mindful that bed bugs can hitchhike on your clothing, pillows, bedding, backpack, towels or suitcase/bag.
If you have reason to think that you may have been exposed to bed bugs while off-campus, please follow the steps below before returning to campus.
Indicators That You May Have Bed Bugs
- You have received bites on exposed skin while sleeping.
- Check your bed and sheets. There are a couple things to look for: (1) if you have light colored sheets you may see small spots of blood where the bed bugs have bitten you while you’re sleeping. (2) if you look in the seams of your mattress and see small black spots that look like pepper, this may be the waste from bed bugs. (3) you could actually see a bed bug!
- If you see any of these signs or are experiencing bites please contact your RD, or the OCRD (805-565-6273) immediately.
If You Think You Have Bed Bugs
- Contact Dan Taylor, Assistant Director of Residence Lifeimmediately (805-565-6368). If it is after 5:00 p.m. please contact the OCRD (805-565-6273). A Residence Life staff member will check your bed and room for evidence of bed bugs.
- Westmont will contact US Detection Dogs, local K-9 Unit that specializes in locating bed bugs. Dogs are the best way to determine whether or not there are bed bugs in your room.
- Go to the Health Center to have your bites checked.
- Please do not attempt to treat your room for bed bugs.
What Not to Do If You Suspect Bed Bugs
- Do not sleep with bug repellent on. It won’t deter bed bugs.
- Don’t sleep with the lights on. Bed bugs will still feed during the night whether lights are on or off.
- Do not store items on the floor, especially under your bed.
- Do not move any items from your room to another room on campus as this could spread them to another student’s living space.
- Do not change your sleeping location as this may help to spread bugs to other locations.
- Do not throw away items from your room as this could contribute to spreading them to other parts of campus.
If Bed Bugs Are Found in Your Room/Apartment
- After US Detection Dogs has determined there are bed bugs in your room, the college works with a pest control company to provide treatment to rooms and apartments that have bed bugs. The treatment plan will depend on how long the bed bugs have been in the room. The sooner bed bugs are reported, the less invasive the treatment.
- Dan Taylor, Assistant Director of Residence Life, will communicate with you about the treatment plan and what your responsibilities will be to get your room/apartment ready for treatment.
- It is possible Westmont will utilize a local company that will do a heat treatment in your room to completely eradicate the bugs
- If you will be displaced for a few days, Dan Taylor will find a space where you may stay during the treatment.
Steps to Make Sure You Don't Bring Bed Bugs to Campus
- Dry ALL of your clothes, linens and pillows in clothes dryer on hot for at least 20 minutes. If you can put your bag into a dryer, do that as well. If you’re not able to dry your clothes, linens and pillows while you are away from campus, put everything in a plastic bag and seal it (tie it closed tightly). When you return to campus if you have any items in bags, make sure you put them through a hot dryer for 20 minutes before taking the items back to your room.If you are wearing clothes that haven’t been put in the dryer yet, have someone get you clothes to change in to so that you can put the clothes you’re wearing in the dryer. Or put some clothes through the dryer, change and put the clothes you’re currently wearing in the dryer.
- Once the items have been in the dryer for 20+ minutes put those items into a new plastic bag and tie the bag shut tightly until you arrive home.
- If your bag, shoes, pillows or any other items cannot go into the dryer place them in a plastic bag and tightly tie the bag shut. Once you return to campus please contact your RD, the OCRD (805-565-6273) or the Assistant Director of Residence Life (805-565-6368) to let them know you have been exposed. The will work with you to ensure you do not spread bugs around campus and can provide you with a laundry card to dry all your items.
- If you took a college vehicle while traveling, please let Physical Plant know that you have been exposed to bed bugs when you return the keys. Also, please contact them at (805-565-6015) and let them know that you may have been exposed to bed bugs so the vehicle can be removed from service until it is decontaminated. If you are leaving a message, please include the vehicle number.
- Resist the temptation to think that if you don’t treat one or more items it won’t really matter. Please don’t take chances because it could affect a large number of other students if you don’t take the necessary steps.
- **VERY IMPORTANT** As you are returning to campus please contact the OCRD (805-565-6273). The OCRD will meet you when you return to campus to see that you've been able to take any necessary precautions so that you don't take bed bugs back to your room or apartment. Your room/apartment will likely be checked over the next few weeks to make sure no bugs returned with you.