UConn takes measures to protect students from bed bugs


File- If there is a confirmed case of bed bus, the university has a procedure in place according to Aris Rista, director of Building Services. (Charlotte Lao/ The Daily Campus)

The University of Connecticut has a thorough protocol for confirmed cases of bed bugs in dorms on campus, Aris Ristau, director of Building Services at Facilities Operations & Building Services, said.

Ristau said the university does not have a specific preventative plan in place for bed bugs, but cases at UConn are very rare.

“Some years are more and some are less. The number of cases reported is higher, but most of the time, a reported bed bug incident is discredited,” Ristau said. “I think we had two cases confirmed in rooms last year.”

If a student suspects bed bugs are present in his or her room, the student should not panic, and avoid sleeping in another student’s room or bringing any pillows or linens to another dorm, according to protocol by Building Services and Residential Life.

Once bed bugs are reported, the university will send an exterminator within 24 hours to confirm. If confirmed, the student must place all of his or her belongings into sealed plastic bags and remain out of the room from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. the following day while the room is treated, according to the protocol.

Pamela D. Schipani, Executive Director of Residential Life, said if a student believes he or she has been bitten by a bed bug, the student should report the concern to Student Health Services, who will deal with it on a case by case basis.

Ristau said most cases of bed bugs are reported after breaks and that students often bring them in to the dorms themselves. When staying in a hotel, Ristau suggests students leave bags in the hallway and check the room for bed bugs before staying there.

“Bed bugs are usually picked up when students stay at a hotel, and for this reason we usually see a few cases after spring break, sometimes after the fall [or] winter holidays as students may be traveling,” Ristau said. “Once they are in folks’ bags, they are hard to find without specific protocol.”

The university generally prevents pest infestations in the dorm buildings by keeping facilities clean and working with specialists, according to Ristau.

“We have a robust cleaning program on campus which allows us to keep our facilities in a state in which we have limited pest issues,” Ristau said. “We do have a contract with an exterminator that works on campus each day who deals with anything from yellow jackets to ladybugs, and many things in between.”

Miranda Garcia is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at miranda.r.garcia@uconn.edu.

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