Student Life | Sept. 29

Bed bug infestation in Holder Hall causes students to relocate twice

The occupants of a four-person suite in Rockefeller College’s Holder Hall have been relocated twice after reporting bed bug infestations on Sept. 13 and Sept. 27, according to a student from the affected suite.

In the first incident, two roommates contacted the Rockefeller College Office on Sept. 13 after they woke up with bites and “saw clusters of bed bugs” under the mattress in their bedroom, said the student, who was granted anonymity to freely discuss the situation.

An exterminator confirmed the presence of bed bugs in one of the bedrooms of the quad following the report of the first incident, University Spokesman Martin Mbugua said.

Rockefeller Residential College Adviser Rohan Bhargava confirmed that all four residents of the suite were affected and that the exterminator determined there was a bed bug infestation.

All four students in the suite were relocated to alternate single rooms in 1915 Hall, Butler College, throughout the first extermination, the student said.

Before relocating to single rooms in 1915 Hall, the four occupants of the suite had to wash their clothing and place all their books and laptops in a heat box for four hours, the student explained. Other personal items were shipped out and fumigated for seven days.

“It was really stressful for classes and such,” the student said.

Although the four students were allowed to move back into their room on Sept. 23, the two roommates who had initially found beg bugs in their bedroom reported another incidence of the vermin on Sept. 27, the student said.

All four students were again relocated to the same singles in 1915 Hall and are waiting for the College Office to notify them that they may return to their suite, the student said. The student added that the college office told the suite’s occupants to bring enough clothing for seven days.

Rockefeller College Director of Student Life Amy Ham Johnson did not respond to requests for comment.

Mbugua said the room would undergo the same extermination process and that the students’ belongings would again be heat-treated to kill the bed bugs. He did not specify whether the second incident constituted a new infestation or whether the bed bugs had survived the first round of extermination.

“I do not want to blame the exterminators for the need to relocate twice,” the student said. “I know it was not a mistake on our parts.  It could just be that the initial problem was more serious than what they originally thought.”

While Mbugua said that the suite in Holder Hall constituted the only case of a “confirmed infestation” of bed bugs, he also said that another, unrelated case of bed bugs was recently reported in Forbes College.

Bed bugs are considered to be “a public health pest” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, according to the EPA’s website.

Bed bugs tend to feed on blood, “causing itchy bites and generally irritating their human hosts,” according to the EPA.

The EPA website suggests that the best way to identify a possible bed bug infestation is by looking for physical signs, like spotted bedding and the presence of larvae and eggs on bedding. Bite marks on the skin are a “poor indicator of a bed bug infestation,” according to the EPA website.

The agency recommends that exterminators use non-chemical treatments, such as the application of excessive heat or coldness, or chemical treatments, such as pesticides, to exterminate bed bugs.

In March 2009, The Yale Daily News reported an incidence of bed bugs that occurred in a suite around Valentine’s Day weekend.

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