A bedbug infestation in a suite on the second floor of Aquinas Hall was reported to the office of Housing and Residence Life in late March.
Since then, residents in other rooms also complained about bedbugs.
HRL Director Tara Hart said that her department was notified and immediately responded by following a set process to address the issue.
“We work directly with both the SHU Department of Facilities Engineering and our outside vendor, Cooper Pest Control, to use the best-practice approaches to resolve the issue,” Hart said.
According to the National Pest Management Association, bedbugs are a growing worldwide phenomenon and reports of infestations tend to be higher in college dormitories. In a survey conducted by the NPMA, 47 percent of professionals reported treating bedbugs in college dormitories.
Hart said that treating bed bugs as quickly as possible is the main concern.
“How bed bugs arrive in any particular location is less important than addressing the concern promptly, working with students and using best practices as directed by experts in extermination,” Hart said.
Boland Hall, the other freshmen dorm, also was affected.
“A room in Boland was also treated as a precaution, since one of the affected students from Aquinas had visited there,” Hart said.
According to Hart, HRL is still following up to ensure that the bed bugs are completely exterminated.
“Reducing the risk of such occurrences truly has to be a collaboration between students and the University,” Hart said. “Students need to be aware and take precautions for themselves.”
She encourages students to visit www.bedbugcentral.com for details on bedbugs in college dorms.
“The information presented is accurate, clear and informative,” Hart added.
Aquinas resident Rhiannon Ohnstad said the residents were not informed of the situation.
“No one told us anything; however, the lounge was packed with beds and desks from a suite so we assumed it was something similar to bedbugs,” Ohnstad said.
Aquinas Resident Rachael George said Housing did not do enough.
“They said they would replace the mattresses and they didn’t,” George said. “They told us three times we could move back in and every single time we move back out, we had to wash and dry everything, shoes, clothes and bags. It was terrible.”
Although she was not directly affected, Ohnstad said that this caused inconveniences for her whole suite.
“The only thing that has affected my suite is the people that used to go into that lounge area (now filled with matresses). Now they go in the lounge near my room and they keep us up all night,” Ohnstad said.
Ohnstad also said that the use of the lounges is vital, especially during finals week.
“This has affected all of the floor because we all go in there to study and do work,” she said. “Going to the library is a hassle because it is always crowded, so we have nowhere to study.”
Other students said they felt that the school should focus on exterminating the bugs immediately.
“The school should find a way to get rid of the bugs,” Boland resident Rachel Hayes said. “They should not be doing construction on Aquinas when bedbugs are present.”
Another Boland resident, Rebecca Gramuglia, said that she doesn’t feel safe.
“If this got to Boland, I would be scared and probably
go home,” Gramuglia said. “I shouldn’t have to worry about this issue. They need to make sure it is resolved right away.”
Patrick Maroun can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Graphic courtesy of Victoria Plate. Bugs not to scale.