MMC is committed to an effective and efficient response to students who suspect they may have bed bugs. If you think you have bed bugs call the Office of Residence Life at 212-774-0740 during regular business hours, tell your RA, and/or alert Security when you are submitting a work order request. We will set up an appointment to have the pest company check your room as soon as possible. If you happen to find a bug, keep it to show the exterminator.
It is important to remember that bed bugs do not indicate someone is unsanitary or has done something wrong. Unfortunately, bed bugs are common in urban areas and can be transmitted on the subway, on the bus, in a movie theater, or by trying on clothes. If you know someone who has identified bed bugs in their vicinity, remember to be supportive and understanding.
If your room is positive for bed bugs, Residence Life and maintenance staff will be in touch with you about the next steps to treat your room and belongings.
For the safety and comfort of all students living in the residence halls, our staff will adhere to the following protocol to effectively treat rooms:
- Before the pest company can treat a room, all occupants will need to wash or dry clean ALL clothing and linens (at their own expense), and store laundered items in sealed plastic bags that will be provided to you. The students should then shower and put on clean clothing.
- All items that cannot be washed must be treated and placed in plastic storage containers and sealed with tape.
- Books can be stored in ziploc bags, but will need to be vacuumed by the pest company. Laptops are ok, but the laptop case will need to be cleaned.
- The pest company will then come in and spray your bedroom (or apartment, depending on the location).
- The pest company will come in for a follow up treatment if necessary. Some cases may need additional or fewer treatments, and will be handled on a case by case basis.
Keep in mind:
- Don’t panic! Although bed bugs can be annoying, they can be battled safely and successfully if you follow all guidelines given to you by Residence Life.
- Do not move your mattress or any furniture out into the hallway. Infested furniture can be cleaned and treated. Placing infested furniture (particularly mattresses) into common areas or on the street may simply help spread bed bugs to the rooms and suites of other students.
- Do not go sleep in a friend’s room or in places off-campus. If you actually have bed bugs, you will only spread them to others.
Bed Bug FAQ
What are bed bugs?
Bed bugs are small, flat, oval, wingless insects that are visible to the naked eye and feed on the blood of people while they sleep. Like mosquitoes, they bite humans, but unlike mosquitoes, they do not transmit disease, but can cause significant itchiness, anxiety, and sleeplessness. They are hardy, nocturnal creatures that can live for up to 18 months without feeding and are able to withstand extreme temperature changes.
During the day, they hide in crevices, bed frames, mattresses and box springs, behind electrical outlet covers and picture frames, inside drawers of furniture, within pleats of curtains, in clothes discarded on the floor, and in other spaces where they are not easily detected. The first sign of a bed bug is often a rash or bite mark and blood spots on linens. Bites are often aligned three in a row, giving rise to the colloquialism “breakfast, lunch, and dinner.”
How can I prevent bed bugs?
While there are some precautionary measures, it is not always possible to prevent bed bugs. We suggest the following precautions:
Wash new clothes in hot water and dry in high heat for at least 30 minutes.
Never leave your clothing laying on the bed, or any location of possible infestation. Instead, use hangers or hooks capable of keeping all clothing distant from the floor or bed.
Don’t bring items found on the street into the hall. Even if things look clean, it doesn’t mean they are.
Be mindful of where you shop and visit. In the past, several stores and movies theaters in NYC have been treated for bed bugs.
Bed bugs are the reason we restrict certain items in the halls. Papasan chairs, body pillows, and items with extra stuffing are perfect homes for bed bugs, and by restricting these items, we reduce the possibility of bed bugs.
Where do bed bugs come from?
• Many years ago, bed bugs were eradicated by the use of a pesticide, DDT. This is no longer used and may account for the resurgence of these bugs in the US, as might the increase in international travel.
• Anyone can pick bed bugs up from a location where they presently exist – someone’s apartment, other residence hall rooms, theatres, etc. Bed bugs are equal opportunity pests – they will infest anyone, anywhere.
Where can I get more information on bed bugs?