Bed bugs in dorms at Princeton University

By Jon Offredo/The Times of TrentonBed Bugs in Dorms

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PRINCETON — Princeton University battles bed bugs in dorms. A bed bug infestation at Princeton University has displaced several students from two separate dorm rooms in one of the campus’s residential halls.

The most recent case of bed bugs in dorms was reported on October 1 after a student staying in a four-person suite at Rockefeller College’s Holder Hall noticed what appeared to be a bed bug infestation on a piece of personal furniture brought into the suite, Princeton University spokesman Martin Mbugua said in an e-mail today.

An infestation was confirmed after an exterminator inspected the room, Mbugua said.

The residents living in that room were offered temporary housing elsewhere on campus while the suite and students’ belongings were decontaminated, he said.

Treating bed bugs in dorms

“As is the case in all types of pest control efforts, prevention requires monitoring, investigating reports and treating an affected area when a case is confirmed,” Mbugua said. “The treatment protocol used is designed to contain the infestation through segregating and fumigating the entire contents of a room and treating the room itself.”

Mbugua said the university did not need to notify the municipality or the state of the incident.

Tuesday’s case comes after more bed bugs in dorms were reported and confirmed in another suite in Holder Hall on Sept. 13.

Four students were relocated and their room and personal items were fumigated, and other items received heat treatments. The university covers all of the costs associated with extermination, Mbugua said.

Last Friday, a second report of bed bugs came from the same room.

“We believe that it’s not a new infestation. Some of the original infestation had survived the extermination,” Mbugua said.

The students were relocated to other rooms on campus and are expected to return to their suite after one week, he said.

There was a third case of bed bugs in dorms reported on campus at Forbes College, another residence hall, Mbugua said.

Bed bugs cause itchy bites and general irritation, but are not known to transmit or spread disease, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s web site. The EPA, the Centers for Disesase Control and Prevention and the United States Department of Agriculture all consider bed bugs to be a public health pest, according to the EPA’s web site.

The exact cost of battling bed bugs is not known, but “the economic losses from health care, lost wages, lost revenue and reduced productivity can be substantial,” according to the CDC’s web site.

The agency’s web site also says that the cost of effectively eliminating bed bugs may be “significantly more” than the cost of other pests because bed bug treatment usually requires multiple visits by an exterminator, the site says.

Controlling bed bugs in dorms and multi-family homes is more difficult because bed bugs frequently travel between units, either by direct transport or through voids in the walls, according to the CDC.

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