College dorm fights bed bug infestation

Bed bugs like Philadelphia, which ranked second recently among big cities for most cases of the biting, itchy pests, and now they’ve found their way to a college dormitory.

The quick-spreading bugs were reported inside a handful of beds at University Crossings — on the floors where Drexel University students live — and since then four cases of infested apartments were confirmed. The building’s owner now believes the infestation is under control.

“These cases were reported very recently and it seems they’ve been contained,” said Jim Sholders of University Crossings. “We’ve hit each case with a very aggressive treatment.”

But the bugs are notorious for jumping to other beds before the exterminator arrives, and Philadelphia is already dealing with a larger problem than one dormitory. In a report released last month, the national extermination company Terminix rated Philadelphia as the nation’s second most bedbug-infested city.

Chad Gilbert, a spokesperson for Terminix, said the possibility of these infestations spreading is high. “In hotels and apartment complexes, where there’s lots of high traffic and a lot of turn around, with units next to each other, bed bugs can spread very quickly.”

Another major problem with containing bed bugs is their ability to move between connecting rooms easily. “If one room has bed bugs, its possible for them to spread throughout a complex very quickly,” said Gilbert. “If there’s a case of bed bugs in one room, we usually have to treat the rooms around it.”

Students in dark on bugs

Students at University Crossing said they weren’t well informed about the several reported cases inside their buidling.

“I would really like to know what’s going on now, because I think it’s pretty relevant if it spreads,” Stephanie Jonson, a resident of University Crossings, said.

“Maintenance service is generally not quick unless the problem is something of significance,” said a Drexel student who declined to give his name. When asked about the bed bug problem, he said, “a friend told me about them. I don’t know what they’re doing about it.”

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