Bed Bug Policy

 

Introduction

Wagner College is committed to an effective and efficient response to the bed bug issue.  A coordinated effort between the College Departments will provide education, communication, investigation, guidance, and on-going support.

This policy will provide information and guidelines to deal with any bud bug incidents.  In the order to maintain a proactive approach, this policy will be reviewed and updated on a regular basis.  This will include a review of the Bed Bug work orders that have been submitted over the previous year, training procedures and bed bug information.

This document contains information on the following:

  • Bed Bug Facts and FAQ
  • Education and Training
  • College Communication Plan
  • Procedures for Residence Halls
  • Procedures for Public Spaces
  • Treatment Protocol – Pre- and Post
  • Response Team

Bed Bugs Facts and FAQ

What are bed bugs?

  • Bed bugs are small nocturnal insects that live by feeding on the blood of humans and other warm blooded hosts. The adult bed bug is ¼ inch long, ⅛ inch wide (about the size of the apple seed) and reddish brown.  It is flattened from top to bottom, with an oval that is well adapted for hiding in narrow crevices.  The body may become greatly enlarged and blood-red during a blood meal, but it subsequently turns a dirty brown.  Bed bugs lack wings and cannot fly, but they are very mobile.
  • Bed bugs are generally active at night or dawn, with a peak feeding period approximately an hour before sunrise. After feeding for five to fifteen minutes, the bug returns to its hiding place.  They typically walk undetected across human skin.
  • Bites consist of a raised red bump or flat welt, and are often accompanied by intense itching. The red bump or flat welts are the result of an allergic reaction to the anesthetic contained in the bed bugs saliva, which is inserted into the blood of the host.  Bed bug bites may appear indistinguishable from mosquito bites, although they tend to last for longer periods.   Bites may not become immediately visible and can take up to 9 days to appear.  Bites may sometimes be aligned three in a row.
  • There have been no known cases of bed bugs passing disease from host to host. Extensive testing has been performed in laboratory settings which confirm the findings.  Therefore, bed bugs are less dangerous than some more common insects such as the flea.
  • To move from egg through adult and egg again under ideal conditions (75 to 80 percent relative humidity, 83 to 90 degrees F) may take four to five weeks; under less optimal conditions such as lower temperature and/or with fewer blood meals, development time may be longer. Adults can live several months (some say more than a year) and nymphs for three months without feeding.  Under typical conditions with a host (food supply), a bed bug may be able to live more than 300 days.

Myths and Facts:

 Bed bugs only bite in the dark.

False - Although bed bugs tend to be more active at night, they can bite at any time.

  • Only dirty, cluttered homes get bed bugs.

False - Anyone can get bed bugs. Bed bugs have been found in the homes of the wealthy and poor. Unsanitary conditions will not cause bed bugs but getting rid of clutter will help to reduce the number of places bed bugs can live and hide.

  • Bed bugs cannot be seen with the naked eye.

False - Bed bugs are small but can be seen with the naked eye. A magnifying glass will help. Young bed bugs are about the size of a poppy seed and mature ones are about the size of an apple seed.

  • If I see bite marks I have bed bugs.

False - Other insect bites may resemble that of bed bugs. Presence of live bed bugs or their eggs will confirm their infestation in an area.

  • If you have bed bugs you need to get rid of infested clothing and furniture.

False - Clothing can be laundered to get rid of bed bugs. In most cases furniture can be treated and should only be discarded if there are no acceptable treatments that can rid them of bed bugs.

  • Bed bugs are not known to cause or spread diseases.

True - Bed bugs have not been shown to cause or spread diseases. Some people will react to bed bugs bites and excessive scratching can lead to secondary infections.

  • Bed bugs cannot fly and will not jump from the floor to the bed.

True - Bed bugs have no wings and cannot fly, jump or hop.

  • Bed bugs are only found on the bed.

False - Although they are called bed bugs they are not only confined to the bed. Bed bugs are commonly found in beds, on sofas, in chairs and areas near where people sleep or lounge.

  • Some people are not affected by bed bugs.

True - Some people do not have a reaction to bed bug bites and may be unaware that bed bugs are in their home until they actually see them.

  • Bed bugs can live for many months without feeding.

True - Bed bugs can live for many months without feeding.

  • Bed bug inspections need scent detecting dogs to really tell where bed bugs are.

False - Bed bug scent dogs can be helpful, but are rarely necessary. Some bed bug scent dogs can signal the presence of a bed bug even when there is none, and may even miss some, with results varying according to the training the dog receives, the experience of the handler, and other factors.

  • Encasing a mattress and box spring will prevent future bed bug infestations in your home.

False - Encasements will help prevent a mattress or box spring from becoming infested or being a reservoir for bed bugs, but bed bugs can still find their way onto a bed to bite. And if bed bugs cannot live in a mattress or box springs, they will live somewhere else. Encasements are a good tool, but are not sufficient to prevent or treat an infestation.

  • Products can claim to be effective for bed bugs without proof.

True - Pesticides registered with the Environmental Protection Agency do have to have data to back their claims. But products without pesticides, or with pesticides that are exempt from registration requirements may make exaggerated claims without proof. Use common sense. If it sounds like a miracle product, it probably isn’t.

  • Insect foggers provide very little control of bed bugs and may even cause the bed bug population to disperse, making control more difficult.

True - Insect foggers do not effectively control bed bugs. Insect foggers are dangerous in that they can leave unwanted residue throughout the treated area. Most insect foggers contain a flammable propellant and some have been associated with a number of fires.

How did I get bed bugs?

  • Bed bugs were originally brought to the United States by early colonists from Europe. Bed bugs thrive in areas with high occupancy such as hotels, apartment complexes, and other residential facilities.  Bed bugs were believed to be altogether eradicated 50 years ago in the United States and elsewhere with the widespread use of DDT.
  • There are several theories regarding the resurgence of bed bugs. One theory attributes to the reemergence to the lack of DDT use for pest control.  Another theory points to the increase in international travel.  A main reason is simply a lack of knowledge of their existence and behavior.  They often go undetected until they become a major infestation and have already been transported to new locations.
  • Anyone can knowingly pick up bed bugs from a location they presently exist – an apartment, other residence hall rooms, movie theaters, hotels, motels, etc. They can also be harboring in secondhand furniture.  Bed bugs are equal opportunity pests – they will infest anyone, anywhere, and are not a result of poor hygiene or uncleanliness.

I frequently travel – what can I do to reduce my risk of bringing these bugs back with me?

  • First, look at the room you are staying in to seek potential hiding places for bed bugs, such as carpet edges, mattress seems, pillow linings, head boards, wall trim or other tiny crack like places bed bugs might hide.
  • Next, look specifically at the mattress seams for signs of bed bug activity: droppings, casings, eggs, bloodstains, or even bed bugs themselves – hiding in a tiny fold and seam lines.
  • Never leave clothing lying on the bed, floor or in any other location of possible infestation. Instead, use hangers or hooks capable of keeping all cloth distant from the floor or bed.  It’s also a good idea to elevate suitcases off the floor on a luggage stand, table top or other hard surface.
  • Close suitcases or travel bags when not in use. If the bugs move over the top of the luggage, they will have greater difficulty getting inside.
  • When returning from any travel (especially abroad), it is a good idea to take suitcases to the Laundromat and wash ALL items before taking the suitcase into the home, residence hall, apartment, etc. Washing and drying clothes at 120 degrees F will kill any bed bugs or eggs before they are brought inside. Suitcases should be sealed in plastic bags.

What SHOULD I do if I believe I have bed bugs?

Notify the Residential Education Office at (718) 390-3420 and ask for the RD On-Call to be notified.

  • Be prepared to clearly communicate the building, room and/or location and any physical/visual evidence leading to the belief there might be bed bugs present.
  • Keep any bug found (intact if possible) to show our Pest Control Technician. 
  • Be prepared to follow the written instructions for “treatment protocol” to the letter and in a timely manner (within 24 hours)All reports of potential bed bugs will be treated with respect.
  • A licensed pest control technician will work with the residents and staff to provide the best possible treatment in order to exterminate the pests.
  • Several treatments may be necessary to ensure complete eradication. All reports of potential bed bugs will be treated with respect.
  • A licensed pest control technician will work with the residents and staff to provide the best possible treatment in order to exterminate the pests.  Several treatments may be necessary to ensure complete eradication.

 What SHOULDN’T I do if I believe I have bed bugs?

Don’t panic! Although bed bugs can be annoying, they are not dangerous and can be battled safely and successfully by following all guidelines given.

  • Don’t panic! Although bed bugs can be annoying, they are not dangerous and can be battled safely and successfully by following all guidelines given.
  • Do not wait until after 5pm on a Friday to notify someone. Contact the RD on call as soon as you suspect a problem.
  • Do not apply pesticides on your own!!! This can actually worsen the problem.  Wagner College has a licensed pest control technician located in New York City, that will come to campus and confirm the infestation and to develop an integrated pest management plan.
  •  Do not move mattresses or any other furniture out into the hallways, lounges, stairwells, or trash areas. Infested furniture can be cleaned and treated.  Placing infested furniture (particularly mattresses) into common areas or on the street may simply help spread bed bugs into the rooms and living areas of other residents.
  • Do not move mattresses or any other furniture out into the hallways, lounges, stairwells, or trash areas. Infested furniture can be cleaned and treated.  Placing infested furniture (particularly mattresses) into common areas or on the street may simply help spread bed bugs into the rooms and living areas of other residents.
  • Do not make plans to sleep in a friend’s room or at off-campus residences. If there are bed bugs present, this will only spread them to others.

 What happens when a certified pest control technician comes to my room?

  • Once an area has been identified as a potential problem, a certified Pest Control Technician will inspect the area. A thorough inspection of the living space will include, but not be limited to, the mattress, bed frame, closet, desk, clothing and any luggage.  This investigation may require several hours as bed bugs are difficult to locate.  This may also include the use of canine inspection.
  • If an infestation of bed bugs is not found, the area may be treated for any other pest problems that are identified.
  •  If your room or living space is confirmed to have bed bugs, a certified Pest Control Technician will treat all spaces and might, if deemed necessary, treat adjacent spaces. You will be required to launder all clothing/bedding and follow all other instructions given in the Treatment Protocol.
  •  Residents will be expected to participate in any post-treatment follow up deemed necessary.

 Education and Training

As with most preventative measures, a proactive focus and a commitment to educating the community is essential to achieving success.  This bed bug response plan incorporates a commitment to both aspects of prevention.

Education for Students

The education plan will begin during the summer months.

  • All incoming residents (returning and new) will be emailed a document over the summer outlining packing suggestions. This email will include information about bed bugs and, especially, how to check second-hand furniture to ensure bed bugs are not present.
  • A mandatory Residence Hall Floor Meeting for all residents will be conducted. During this meeting the Resident Assistants (RAs) will review the basic information of the Colleges Bed Bug Policy so students understand what to do if they believe they have bed bugs (and what not to do).

Education for Faculty and Staff

Training:

Selected members of Wagner’s staff will be trained regarding the identification of, prevention of, and steps in treating bed bugs.  This training will also outline the proper way to report an incident.  Training will be provided by the Colleges pest control company and updated regularly.  All documentation of training will be maintained in the Campus Operations Office.  Staff would include, by not be limited to:

  • Director of Residential Education
  • Associate Residential Education Director
  • Director of Public Safety
  • Director of Housekeeping
  • Director of Campus Operations
  • Resident Directors
  • Housekeeping Staff
  • Resident Assistants

Procedures for Residence Halls

For the safety and comfort of all residents living in the residence halls the College will adhere to the following guidelines:

The first member of the Residential Education staff arriving on the scene shall:

  • Ask the student if they have any visible bits or scars
  • Send the student immediately to the Health and Wellness Center (to determine if bites are possibly from bed bugs)
  • Inform the student that the Exterminator will be called and will be present in their room as soon as possible to do an assessment (NOTE: only the Exterminator can confirm bed bugs)
  • Contact the Residential Education Supervisor On-Duty

The Supervisor on-duty shall:

  1.  Call Campus Operations (and place request in School Dude immediately) to place a possible bed bug incident.
  • They will contact the exterminator and bring them to campus ASAP-if Campus Operations is not available (after 4 PM) call Director of Campus Operations directly to make arrangements
  • Arrange to have an RA let the exterminator in the room
  • When the Exterminator arrives:
    • The exterminator will talk to residents (if present) about what to look for
    • The exterminator will treat the room
    • The exterminator will make a plan to return to check the status of the room.
    • The Supervisor on Duty or RD (depending on timeline of process) of the building should communicate with the exterminator to hear of the final status
  1. Notify the Director or Associate Director of Residential Education
  1. Find and offer a temporary space for student(s) affected
  1. Start the move preparation.  Have student dry, wash, and dry again any clothes, bedding, and anything they will take with them to a temporary housing assignment (they should not go to another space until this has been done).  NOTE: Residential Education does not reimburse for any cleaning.
  1. Student should follow instructions provided by exterminator including bagging all belongings to be treated.
  1. After the Extermination treatment occurs, have any mattresses from the room replaced.
  • Mattresses should be placed in a bag (provided by Housekeeping or Exterminator), sealed and brought to dumpster behind the Maintenance Building.
  • Have new mattresses brought to the room immediately following the removal of the old mattress and the conclusion of the treatments.
  1. Submit a School Dude Work Order immediately that outlines all steps that have been taken (keep in mind that ONLY the exterminator can confirm bed bugs, not the Health Center)

The Director or Associate Director shall:

  • Notify the Dean on Call
  • Ensure that the residence hall staff followed all protocols

The Pest Control Technician Examination:

  1. The Pest Control Contractor will be contacted if residents believe there is the presence of bed bugs in their room or suite. A pest solution technician will arrive and make a determination by inspecting several areas of the resident’s living space including around the bed, mattress, sheets and comforters.  It is also possible they will need to check dresser drawers, desks, and other furniture in the room or suite.  It is best if a resident of the room or suite be present; however, in every situation that a Pest Control Technician is in the room, a member of the Residential Education staff will also be present.
  2. If the Pest Control Technician finds that there are no bed bugs present in the resident’s living space, they will, as a precaution, put in place a bed bug monitoring system for follow-up. The residents will be asked to continue observing their living space, and to notify Residential Education immediately if there are further problems.

Procedures for Public Spaces

 For the safety and comfort of all faculty, staff, students, and guests utilizing college facilities, the college will adhere to the following guidelines:

  1. Any faculty or staff member who suspects the presence of bed bugs in any area on campus, such as a classroom, office or public space should contact the Campus Operations Office immediately (and place a work order in the School Dude system). Employees should also be prepared to communicate thorough and detailed information regarding locations and evidence of the pests.  Keep any bed bugs found (intact if possible) to show the pest control technicians.
  1. The Director of Campus Operations, the Director of Housekeeping, and/or the Director of Residential Education will make a thorough examination of the space in question and initiate a detailed work order. Response times may vary, but should be within an hour or so unless the call is after hours or on the weekend, in which case the response time may take longer.   Campus Operations will be contacted to schedule a technician from the Wagner pest control contractor.  They will evaluate initial findings and provide services as needed.   Marketing and Communications will be contacted to coordinate a communication plan regarding the situation.  Additional members of the Bed Bug Response Team will be contacted.
  • Office residents who report suspected bed bugs will NOT be granted an immediate temporary change in offices UNTIL the inspection has been completed and trained professionals from the pest control contractor have inspected the room and documented their findings.
  • Faculty and staff may not, at any time, deny the pest control company or staff access to their offices, classrooms or other public spaces.
  • Faculty and staff will be encouraged to visit Health Services or their physician or a Health Clinic for an examination of any bites that may have occurred and prevention of a secondary infection.

The Pest Control Contractor Examination

  • The Pest Control Contractor will be contacted. A pest control will need to check drawers, desks, and other furniture in the space.  It is best if the reporting person is present; however, in every situation that the pest control technician is in an office, a member of Campus Operations will also be present.
  • If the pest control technicians find that there are no bed bugs present in the space, they will, as a precaution, put in place a bed bug monitoring system for follow-up. The faculty or staff member will be asked to continue observing the suspected space, and to notify Campus Operations immediately if there are further problems.
  • If the pest control technician find that bed bugs are present in the space, individuals MUST follow the list of instructions provided for pre-treatment preparations. Generally, any non-office space preparations would be completed by Housekeeping Services and Campus Operations in coordination with the primary users of that space.
  • Spaces on either side, above and below, an infected space may also be required to be treated.
  • Only the pest control technician can officially confirm or deny the presence of bed bugs.

Bed bugs are a serious community issue and ALL faculty and staff are expected to comply with all instructions given to them within 24 hours once bed bugs have been confirmed within their space.

All efforts will be made to coordinate the necessary treatment of affected spaces as quickly and as effectively as possible.  However, any space designated to have bed bugs and possibly surrounding spaces, is eligible for closing as determined necessary by the Bed Bug Response Team, until the treatment has occurred and the space has been cleared by the pest control technician.

ROOM PREP REQUIRED BEFORE TREATMENT:

  1. Depending on level of infestation and provided the room is completely prepared it will be out of service for a minimum of 5-7 days, this may vary upon completion of initial treatment, but the Pest Control Technician will inform you.
  1. All bed linens, bed skirts, towels, clothing (robes) and curtains should be bagged, removed and laundered immediately (washed and placed into a dryer-high heat).
  2. All closets and furniture containing clothes, linens, etc should be removed and laundered as well.
  1. All items advised to be discarded by the Pest Control Technician (example: furniture, mattresses, box springs, headboards, etc.) must be completely wrapped in plastic and labeled “DISCARD-DO NOT REUSE” and must be discarded immediately. Items must be clearly labeled so they do not get mistaken for clean items and transported to another premises.  If the Pest Control Technician does not require any furniture to be discarded, then everything shall remain in the room for treatment and after.
  1. All furniture drawers should be emptied and removed and placed on the floor for treatment.
  1. Electrical Outlets, light covers and conduit covers should be removed for treatment.
  1. DO NOT TRANSFER ANY CONTENTS OF THE INFESTED ROOM TO OTHER AREAS. LEAVE ALL FURNITURE IN THE ROOM FOR TREATMENT.
  1. All wall hangings must be removed off the walls for treatment.
  1. Carpet may need to be pulled off the wall so tack strip is exposed for treatment depending on the level of infestation.

After treatment has been performed, and the Pest Control Technician clears the room, it is HIGHLY recommended that rooms receive “general cleaning” with a steam cleaning of carpet to kill anything left behind in carpet.

Bed Bug Response Team

In order to ensure that there are effective internal communications and coordination regarding bed bug incidents, communication must begin with the initial report of a suspected bed bug issue and last through the satisfactory conclusion of the situation and post-modem review.  The following departments are considered as critical for communication regarding potential incidents:

 

Department Role
Residential Education Initial Investigation

Response Coordinator (for Residence Halls)

Response Team member

Housekeeping Response Coordinator (as needed)

Response Team Member

Marketing and Communication Response Team Member:

Communications

Campus Operations Response Coordinator (for Public Spaces)

Contacting and arranging the pest control contractor

Response Team Member

Public Safety Initial Investigation (for Public Spaces)

Response Team Member

VP for Administration Response Team Member
  •  Initial Investigators will go to the space to do the initial investigation of a report of suspected presence of bed bugs. The result of this will be communicated to Campus Operations who will coordinate this information with the pest control contractor.
  • Response Coordinators will serve as the information hub in coordinating the action response to any incidents of bed bugs. They will communicate with Campus Operations.
  • Response Team Members help plan the overall response and will be informed of progress. They may have a defined action role, but that is situational based upon the particulars of each incident.

For issues in the residence halls and apartments:  The Director of Residential Education will be the contact point with the residential students involved and student inquiries when appropriate.  The Director of Residential Education can respond to inquiries from parents but must coordinate with the Director of Campus Operations.

For issues in classrooms, offices, or common spaces outside of residence halls:  The Director of Campus Operations will be the contact point with faculty, staff, or other individuals in infected areas.   Coordination with the Office of the Registrar, the V.P. of Academics, V.P of Administration, may also be necessary depending on the area infected.

For all issues:  Initial contact regarding the potential presence of bedbugs should occur in Residential Life, Campus Operations, Public Safety, or Housekeeping.  After the initial investigation of a report of suspected bed bugs by the appropriately trained staff, Campus Operations should be contacted to help coordinate a response from the pest control contractor.  Campus Operations will also contact Marketing and Communications as needed.   Additionally, Response Team Members should be contacted, utilizing the chain of command (Directors contacting their appropriate Deans/V.P.’s and so on).  The lead Response Coordinator (depending on the area of the incident) will establish a meeting time for College response planning, if necessary.

The College Response Team, as appropriate, might involve additional people depending upon the situation, what type of and where, the coordination and response is necessary.

Documentation and Other Forms

School Dude Work Order:  These documents will be initiated by any member of the college community who put in a request for bed bug activity.

Pest Control Contractor, Bed Bug Incident Report:  This document will be initiated any time there is a report of suspected bed bugs.  The document will be stored in the Campus Operations Office.

Training Sign-In:  This will be used to document each occurrence of training and those present.  This document will be stored in the Human Resources Office.