I didn’t choose the bug life; the bug life chose me
For most students, the first couple of days after moving in consist of socializing, setting up their rooms and getting ready for classes.
For my roommates and I, our first few days of move-in consisted of socializing, setting up our rooms — and then tearing down everything, packing up and moving out for the exterminators.
Our apartment was infested with bed bugs on the first day of class. The critters came into our lives, unknowingly, when one of my roommates picked up some used (and, as it turned out, bed bug-infested) furniture for our apartment.
The uninvited guests came all the way from Bucyrus, Ohio, travelling some 50 miles to get to the MVNU campus.
After a year of living in Cedar, we were looking forward to a new adventure in what some call the nicest apartment complex on campus.
But, by the first day of school, when the bed bugs were discovered, Rosewood 309 was no longer what we could call home.
To make sure all of the bed bugs were removed, we were asked to gather up every stitch of cloth we had in our apartment and run it all though a full cycle in a clothes dryer.
This SOUNDS simple, but it turned out to be an hours-long process. We had to transport all of our clothes, shoes, towels, bed sheets, back packs — you name it — to the Birch E laundry room, only to pack it all back up and take it to our temporary home in Cedar for the next week.
We spent the night slaving, taking everything that we needed for the next week to Cedar. The entire Birch E laundry room was shut down for us. After a lot of hard work — and about 30 dryer loads of clothes — we were finally moved in to Cedar.
So there we were. After feeling like we were on top of the world for three days, we were back to the bottom of the totem pole in Cedar. We were stuck in an apartment with no air conditioning for the next week because of some upholstered couches.
The next day, the whole student body got an email from Residential Life informing us that our bed bug-infested couch, which had been placed in the trash dumpster by Oakwood, apparently was picked up by another group of students.
This obviously meant that someone else would be infested with bed bugs. (We later heard the couch ended up in Cedar, which is kind of ironic since that’s where we were staying while our own residence was decontaminated.)
After that, we were asked to meet with our resident director, Amy Reeves. She told us that our apartment had been decontaminated, but this was only Round One.
The exterminators would have to come back in for Round Two. Oh, and by the way, Round Two wasn’t going to start for another two weeks.
Although Amy strongly recommended that we stay in Cedar until the second treatment was over, she said the final decision was ours.
In unison, everyone in my apartment said, “We’re moving back in tomorrow.”
We moved back in the next day, bed bug-free, and continued enjoying life in Rosewood. Two weeks went by, and the exterminators came back.
This time, we were asked to stay out of our apartments from 1 p.m. until 7 p.m. to avoid exposure to the pesticides, but we didn’t have to move out overnight.
Our apartment is now completely decontaminated, and we are back to enjoying the good life in Rosewood 309.
Bed Bug Basics
Bed bugs are small, flat, parasitic insects that feed solely on the blood of people and animals.
Bed bugs are reddish-brown in color, wingless, range from 1mm to 7mm (roughly the size of Lincoln’s head on a penny)
Though considered a public health pest, bed bugs are not known to transmit or spread disease.
Bed bugs can survive and remain active at temperatures as low as 46°F, but they die when their body temperatures reach 113°F.
The best way to treat a bed bug bite is to avoid scratching the area, apply antiseptic creams and take an antihistamine.
Bed bug infestations are commonly treated by insecticide spraying.
If you suspect that you have an infestation, contact a professional pest control company that is experienced with treating bed bugs.
Sources: cdc.gov, epa.gov