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Bedbugs found in University townhouse
At the beginning of September, a group of students living in a University-owned townhouse started finding mysterious bug bites on their skin. They shrugged it off until they found an insect on one of their desks. Early last week, Georgetown University Facilities confirmed that their townhouse had a bedbug infestation.
Carmen Mei (NHS ’12), one of the occupants of the infested townhouse, said that she and her roommates will be temporarily living in a Village A apartment for at least one or two weeks while the University exterminates their bedbugs. Before moving to Village A, Facilities gave Mei and her roommates a list of precautions to take so that the bed bug infestation did not spread to Village A, including washing all of their clothes in hot water and inspecting all of their items before moving them.
“I didn’t think it would happen to us,” Mei said. “It’s a hassle to move the entire house.”
Nicole Cimback (NHS ’12) lives in Henle Village and also suspects that there may have been bedbugs in her apartment. Cimback and her roommates, however, did not report the problem to Facilities and said the problem “seemed to go away with the purchase of a new mattress pad.”
The number of bedbug incidents in the United States has been on the rise in recent years thanks to more widespread international travel, the bans of the use of pesticides like DDT, and strains of bedbugs that are resistant to existing pesticides. Until recently, the number of bedbugs in the United States and other developed nations had dropped dramatically due to extensive use of DDT for extermination.
The number of bedbug incidents around Washington D.C. has also been on the rise. W.L. Rick, President of R and J Pest Control in D.C., said that requests for treatment have become fairly common in the area. Bedbug infestations are not easy to treat, as they survive without feeding for up to six months, and not everyone is allergic to the bite.
Rebecca Clark of EJF Real Estate Services said that several of the 70 buildings she rents in the area have had to be treated. However, Clark said that bedbugs are a minor enough problem that not everyone who has bedbugs will necessarily notice or report the problem.
Bites are usually red with a darker red spot in the middle, and they are commonly arranged in a rough line or cluster, according to a Mayo Clinic Factsheet. Other signs of a bedbug infestation include empty exoskeletons, bloody smears on sheets due to crushed bedbugs, and bedbug excrement, which appears as dark specks along mattress seams.
Julie Green Bataille, associate vice president for communications at Georgetown, said that there has only been one reported incident of bedbugs this academic year.
Normal University protocol has a pest control specialist examine the area and provide the appropriate treatment, which can require students to bag personal items and even move to a new location.
Bataille said that the University purchases mattresses for use in residence halls that are “treated to prevent any kind of insect infestation for use in residence halls.”