They’re here. The bedbug scourge that has emptied hotels in the Midwest, crimped sales at second-hand stores in Manhattan and caused people in Cincinnati to sleep outside has reached a Georgia college campus. Many other campuses around the country have fought off invasions of the nasty apple-seed sized pests, including the University of Oklahoma and Indiana University.
According to the AJC, about 70 students at Reinhardt University in Cherokee County are sleeping in the gym as the school deals with an infestation of bedbugs found in two rooms in a dormitory. My own son attends college in Ohio, which has been called ground zero for infestations of the small, biting bugs that are apparently now fortified against many common repellents. An elementary school in Dayton had to close yesterday to exterminate bedbugs.
The bugs are so portable that they travel to new locales into people’s luggage, pockets and purses. There have been stories out of New York about people buying vintage clothing and going straight to the dry cleaners to ensure no bedbugs. And there are entire stores that have had to shut down due to the bugs, including the Niketown in Midtown Manhattan.
Many parents elsewhere are banning sleepovers because of the bedbug threat. I think bedbugs are going to make us yearn for lice, which typically only sends a few kids home rather than shuts down an entire school.
In my years as a parent, I have received notes of pinworms and lice infestations among students, but never bedbugs. That may be yet to come. By the way, are schools still sending kids home for lice? My understanding from the medical literature is that it is not really necessary or medically sound to make kids go home, and that lice does not pole vault from head to head as easily as once believed. Anyone know current policy?
The problem was confined to just two rooms, but we wanted to go ahead and treat the whole residence hall,” spokeswoman Marsha White told the AJC Thursday.
The bedbugs were discovered in Cobb Hall, an all-male, mostly freshman dormitory. Wednesday, exterminators began using high-end steamers and chemical treatments to eliminate the bedbugs.
“We vacuum up any we can find and heat the area, so if there are any egg casings still attached, it kills those,” said Chuck Tindol, owner of Allgood Pest Solutions. “It’s a three-day process at the minimum.”