Bed bugs are not a health hazard, but they can create a lot of stress. Bed bugs are small, brown insects - about the size of an apple seed at adult stage - that feed on human blood. After a feeding, they swell in size and can become bright or dark red. They are wingless and cannot fly or jump. They hide during the day and come out at night in areas where people sleep. Bed bugs can enter your room on items you carry in from outside. The most common items are mattresses, box springs, upholstered furniture, luggage, electronics, books, pictures, and household goods.
A sign you have bed bugs is finding (on your mattress, box spring, pillow, etc):
Dark, reddish brown stains
Cast off skins from nymphs
Live or dead bed bugs
If you suspect that you have bedbugs, the first and most important thing is to contact the Student Services Coordinator if you are staying in a Providence apartment, or your Residence Director if you are staying in any of the residences.
What To Do
There are several things that you should NOT do:
Do not throw items away or remove them from your room. If items are not removed in the correct fashion you may inadvertently spread the problem into the halls and other areas. In addition, once items have been discarded they may be picked up by another unsuspecting student spreading the problem to their room.
Do not attempt to control the bed bugs on your own. Any actions that you take to control bed bugs on your own could complicate the problem and may cause unexpected problems for others.
Do not relocate yourself to another room. While the initial instinct is to get out of the room and sleep elsewhere, in doing so you run the risk of taking bugs with you in your belongings. Instead the student should contact housing immediately so that the appropriate corrective actions can be taken.
In addition to reporting any suspected bed bug activity to the housing department, there are a few other things that you CAN do to help in reducing the likelihood of perpetuating the bed bug problem:
Clean up clothes and general clutter found throughout the room. Not only does clutter provide an ideal place for bed bugs to hide that cannot be treated, but it also makes completing the bed bug service very difficult.
Bag laundry and launder in hot water. Your clothes could have bed bugs or their eggs. By correctly laundering the clothes you will further reduce the spread of the bugs. Place linens and other items that can be laundered items in plastic bags and take the bag directly to a laundering facility. Dump the contents of the bag into the laundry machine and place the empty bag inside a clean bag. These items should be laundered in hot water. Bed bugs are susceptible to heat and this exposure will kill any bugs as well as their eggs. If you cannot wash the clothes on a hot wash cycle, then dump the bag directly into a hot dry cycle which will serve the same purpose. As soon as the items have been dumped from the bag into the washer or dryer the bag should be disposed of in an outdoor dumpster. After washing these items, (anything that does not need to be used right away) place in a clean garbage bag and seal it tightly. This will assure you that the clothes/bedding is free of bed bugs and will remain free until the problem is eliminated from your room. If you need to use it over the next month or so, keep it in your room in an organized, neat fashion.
Other than cleaning and laundering, leave the rest of the service to the trained professionals. Inspecting excessively, treating on your own or throwing items out can spread the problem and make it more difficult to treat.