WSU calls in exterminators after bedbug sighting

Kyla Smith
The Detroit News

Officials at Wayne State University called in exterminators this week after bedbugs were found in a dormitory, which followed a possible sighting in a cubicle at the the school’s medical library.

The reports have some students rattled, while university officials insist they have the situation under control and that there’s no outbreak of the blood-sucking insects at Wayne State.

“Four years ago we declared war to put an end to bedbugs,” said Tim Michael, the school’s director of housing and residential life. “We have a pest control company on call 24 hours that uses a heat-treated process that takes six hours and rids the room of bedbugs and eggs.”

A room at the Towers Residential Suites, an 11-story dorm, was fumigated Friday after a student saw bedbugs in her room, said Sara Gray, a residential adviser at the dormitory.

“Once the student reports the problem, we will send someone out within 48 hours,” she said.

An exterminator treated a cubicle at the Shiffman Medical Library on Sunday after a reported bedbug sighting last week.

A bedbug-sniffing dog was brought in to check for the pests and found none, WSU spokesman Matt Lockwood said.

“We did identify a single cubicle of where there could have been a presence of bedbugs and we have since removed and treated the cubicle,” said Philip VanHulle, a spokesman for WSU’s School of Medicine.

“Nothing else was found in the library, so we didn’t need to close it.”

Despite the school’s response, some students aren’t completely reassured.

“I’m very upset, although my room is not affected,” said Tim Carroll, a junior who lives in the Towers. “To know it’s in my building is very upsetting. It makes me scared to go to class or share an area and interact with someone, for fear that I could get bedbugs.”

Others say they’re not overly concerned.

“I usually study there most of the time, but honestly I thought it was quite comical that they would be found in the library,” said Matthew Weeks, a third-year medical student.

“I think someone from the outside bought them in, not a student.”

The flesh feeders have been popping up all over Detroit. Last month, the pest control company Orkin ranked the city as the nation’s second worst for bedbug infestations.

The tiny, six-legged reddish-brown creatures can be found in furniture and the seams of beds. .

“Bedbugs can travel from person to person and it makes it easy for them to be transported on a school campus,” said James Washington, who owns Expert Pest Control in Detroit. “You can sit down and one can hitchhike to your living space.”

Lockwood said Wayne State “periodically” has isolated incidents where bedbugs are found in dorm rooms. “If you were to check with other schools, they’re having the same issues,” he said.

Signs that you may have bed bugs:

Itchy welts, often appearing in a zigzag pattern

Blood stains on your sheets or pillowcase

Bed bug fecal spots or egg shells

Offensive ordor from the bug’s scent gland