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Bed Bug Information

In an effort to educate the Coker College community on the prevention, recognition, and treatment of bed bugs, the Office of Residence Life has developed the following information sheet. 

What are bed bugs?

Bed bugs are small, parasitic insects that are most often found in bedding.  Although not strictly nocturnal, bed bugs are mostly active at night.  The insects are easily identifiable in their adult form - about the size of a pencil eraser, red to brown in color, and flat and oval in shape.  Beg bugs are normally a hospitality industry problem, i.e. hotels, motels, cruise ships, and resorts.

Who gets bed bugs?

Bed bugs do not discriminate; anyone can get bed bugs.  It has nothing to do with personal hygiene, gender, race, or socioeconomic status.  As a matter of fact, five-star hotels and high-end boutiques in New York and Los Angles have reported infestations of bed bugs in recent months. 

How can I tell if I have bed bugs? 

Typically, people become suspect they may have bed bugs when they notice numerous small, insect-like bites on their skin.  Bite sites can swell into welts and cause intense itching.  It is often difficult to determine a bed bug bite from other insect bites, however.  The only way to be absolutely sure you have bed bugs is to find the insect on your belongings. 

An indication that there may be a bed bug infestation is always small blood spots found on bedding. Bed bugs are unable to digest all their blood meals and therefore excrete portions of the undigested blood on the areas where they crawl. Another cause of these small blood spots on bedding is that as bed bugs feed, individuals move around in their beds during sleep and squeeze bed bugs between their bodies and the bedding. This leaves small blood spots. Inspection of the sheets and mattress covers in most instances verifies the presence or absence of bed bugs.

What should I do if I discover bed bugs in my residence hall room?

If you believe you have discovered bed bugs in your residence hall room, please contact the Office of Residence Life immediately at 843-383-8360. The Office of Residence Life has plans and strategies in place to assist you in treating your space and to prevent the infestation from spreading. 

How can bed bugs be prevented? 

Although we have had no confirmed cases of bed bugs at Coker, we highly encourage our campus community to take precautionary measures to reduce the chance of an infestation.  According to Cornell University, the type of mattresses we use in our residential facilities are ideal to minimize bed bug problems.  Other precautions include: 

1. Keep an eye out for red streaks on sheets, pillows, and mattresses.  Also, inspect your mattress at least once a week for signs of bed bugs.  Pay special attention to the seams around the mattress. 
2. At least once a week, wash all your bedding in hot water (110 degrees or higher) and dry it for at least 30 minutes on high heat.  Place pillows and stuffed animals in the dryer as well. 
3. Vacuum all floors, rugs, mattresses, pillows and baseboards once a week.  Be sure to empty the dust container after every use. 
4. Keep clothing and bedding items picked up off the floor.  Additionally, don’t put items like suitcases, duffel bags, or backpacks on your bed. 
5. Do not bring items into the residence halls that you obtained from second-hand stores or from the road side. 
6. Avoid sharing clothing or allowing visitors to sit on your bed. 
7. Pull your bed away from the wall 5-7 inches. 
8. Don’t allow your dirty laundry to pile up.  Wash and dry your clothing as directed above.

Should I be concerned? 

There is no cause for major concern about bed bugs at Coker at this point.  However, a healthy awareness and an eye toward prevention is appropriate.  In the event of an infestation, the College will communicate with you via your Coker email address with pertinent information. 

What if I want to learn more about bed bugs or have other questions? 

Please visit these links for more information.
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/bedbugs/DS00663
http://www.bedbuginfo.com/
http://www.nysipm.cornell.edu/publications/bb_guidelines/
http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/ehs/publications/Bed_Bugs_CDC-EPA_Statement.htm

Additionally, please do not hesitate to contact the Office of Residence Life with any questions or concerns. 

 
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