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What is a bedbug? Adult bedbugs are slightly smaller than a lady bug or about 3/8 of an inch long. They are reddish-brown in color with flat oval shaped bodies.Adult bedbugs are slightly smaller than a lady bug or about 3/8 of an inch long. They are reddish-brown in color with flat oval shaped bodies. Bedbugs feed on the blood of people and warm blooded animals. They are nocturnal feeders who, unlike lice or fleas, do not live on hosts, but rather in the “nests” of hosts.
The average lifespan for a bedbug is 12 to 18 months. Bedbugs can live for months without feeding. Bedbugs are spread by hitchhiking from areas of infestation on clothes, furniture, bedding, suitcases, backpacks and books.
Are bedbugs a concern here? Bedbugs are most common in places where many people sleep. These places include hotels, motels, apartments, cruise ships and residence halls. Bedbugs can easily travel on clothing, linens and furniture. Infestations of bedbugs do not necessarily indicate poor hygiene.
Can bedbugs hurt you? Although bites can cause severe itching, they are relatively harmless. When a bedbug bites, it releases a salivary fluid which can irritate skin and cause allergic reactions over time. Scratching the bites can cause secondary infections and scaring. Washing the bite area with soap and water then applying an anti-itch/antihistamine cream is recommended. If infection occurs, seek medical attention. Bedbugs are not known to transmit any blood borne diseases such as HIV or AIDS.
Do you have bedbugs? Bedbug bites are identified by small welts similar to mosquito bites. Often these welts occur in rows of three or more and cause itching and discomfort. These bites show up in the morning or middle of the night. If bedbugs are present, tiny dark excrement stains will be on the sheets, pillowcases and mattresses. Molted skins and egg shells may also be present, but look for the crawling or dead adults as well. In cases of severe infestation, a musty sweet smell may be detected.
Examine areas around the bed and sleeping quarters for signs of bedbug activity. Bedbugs prefer areas around fabric, wood and paper. Check folds or seams in bedding, linens and mattresses. Check around the headboard and footboard, paying special attention to corners and crevices. Check baseboards, moldings and carpet seams around the bed. Check artwork and wall hangings, curtains and walls. Look for any excrement spots, skin casings or live bugs.
What if you think you have bedbugs? Please contact your Resident Advisor, Residence Hall Director or place a work order as soon as possible. The RA/RHD will contact the proper entity to evaluate and treat, if needed, your room. Due to the way bedbugs travel, you SHOULD NOT move personal belongings out of your room. Leave items in place to avoid carrying the bedbugs with you. Bedbugs can be controlled with vigilance, constant inspection and treatment by professional pest control technicians.
How do you prevent getting bedbugs?
- Do not bring infested items into your room. Thoroughly inspect any "freebie" or second hand furniture or accessories before you bring them in.
- Check luggage, clothing and bedding after trips, especially after trips aboard.
- Clean up and reduce clutter to eliminate some of their favorite hiding spots.
- Keep rooms clean and tidy. Vacuum crevices and upholstery regularly.
- Vacuum mattresses frequently or permanently encase mattress in a mattress bag.
If you should have any other questions or concerns, do not hesitate to ask your Resident Advisor, Residence Hall Director or call Residence Life Facilities Maintenance at 936-294-4474.
Mildew/mold may form in hot and humid environments such as bathrooms. Sometimes this situation is caused by water leaks and daily use. Residents are asked to be diligent about preventing mildew/mold formation. Residents are REQUIRED to clean any mildew/mold that forms in their residence hall room and bathroom.
Mold or mildew? Mildew is a surface fungus that can easily be identified as a path of gray or even white fungus that is lying on the surface of a moist area. Mildew is easily treated with a store bought cleaner and scrubbing brush. Mold, on the other hand, can be black or green and is often the result of a much bigger concern.
Where does mildew/mold grow? There is always some mildew/mold around. Mildew/mold can get in your home through open doors, windows, vents and heating/air conditioning systems. Mildew/mold in the air outside can be brought indoors on clothing, shoes, bags and even pets.
Mildew/mold will grow where there is moisture, such as around leaks in roofs, windows, pipes or where there has been a flood. Mildew/mold grows on paper, cardboard, ceiling tiles and wood. Mildew/mold can also grow in dust, paints, wallpaper, insulation, drywall, carpet, fabric and upholstery.
These growths can begin to develop on a damp surface within 24 to 48 hours and produce spores that travel through the air. They will break down and destroy whatever they're growing on.
How can you prevent mildew/mold formation in the bathroom?
- During and after every shower, residents should leave bathroom doors open. Allow time for the humidity to dissipate.
- If your bathroom has an exhaust switch, turn your exhaust fan on during and after your shower.
- Spread towels out after use so that they dry more quickly.
- Minimize containers left in the shower for cleaning ease and better circulation.
- Wipe down the shower with a clean towel or squeegee after its last daily use.
- Choose shower curtains that dry and clean easily to help avoid soap residue, which fosters mildew.
- Use proper cleaning chemicals for mold/mildew. Report any signs of possible water leak.
How can I clean mildew/mold? If mildew does start to form, residents are responsible for cleaning it. First you will need the correct cleaning supplies:
- Latex or rubber gloves
- Mop and sponges
- Buckets and brushes
- Non-ammonia detergent, soap or commercial cleaner
- Disinfectant chlorine bleach mixed with water
Once you have obtained your cleaning supplies:
- Spray your cleaner of choice on affected surfaces. Do not mix chemicals/cleaning products.
- Allow cleaner to “work” by setting on affected area for 5-10 minutes.
- Wipe down surfaces.
- If you find mildew in items made of fabric (i.e. shower curtain), launder the shower curtain according to the manufacturer instructions.
On occasion, bats will get into the residence hall areas. If you find a bat in our facilities, please follow the steps below:
- Do not approach or touch the animal.
- Contact a hall staff member.