It seems that the incidence of bed bug infestation in off-campus student housing is on the increase.
Bed bugs are parasites that live off the blood of humans and other animals. They are extremely small and can live in cracks and crevices near places where people sleep at night. Bed bugs can live for over a year without feeding, so even vacant apartments cannot be considered completely safe. Bed bugs can be brought into an apartment by anyone without their knowledge; they can also travel from one unit to another through pipes and walls.
Tips for Avoiding Bed Bugs:
- If you have been traveling, inspect your luggage. Hotels, hostels, resorts or places where large amounts of luggage are stored can harbor bed bugs.
- Avoid scavenging beds and furniture that have been discarded and left by the curb for disposal. Bed bug infestations can be found on furniture other than mattresses.
- When purchasing beds and other furniture, especially if it is used, verify that an inspection for bed bugs was conducted by a person experienced in identifying infestations.
If you suspect an infestation of bed bugs, immediately contact your landlord, the Housing Code Office (402) 441-7785, and the Lancaster County Extension (402) 441-7180. Treatments for bed bug infestations should only be done by professional pest control companies. Usually, a chemical is applied several times in order to kill all of the bed bugs and their eggs. Sometimes heat treatment is used. Any treatment is expensive and payment should be the responsibility of the landlord in order for him or her to adequately maintain their building in compliance with state and local laws (Lincoln Municipal Code 21.05.360; Nebraska Revised Statutes § 76-1419 and § 76-1427).
For more information about bed bugs, please check the Lancaster County Extension site.