UM housing staff sniffing out bed bug problems -- Gazette.Net


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Since the reports of four cases of bed bugs inside a University of Maryland, College Park dormitory surfaced last week, 11 new cases have been made by students living within the building, causing housing management to conduct a building-wide inspection to extinguish the potential threat.

Bed bugs are parasitic insects that feed on blood and are commonly found in dark crevices of beds or couches in order to stay close to humans, causing itching, swelling and skin irritation by eating flesh.

Prior to the fall semester in August, Capstone On-Campus Management, which manages the South Campus Commons on-campus housing through a public-private partnership with UM, conducted inspections throughout all of their buildings using trained canines and did not find any signs of bed bugs. But on Friday, Capstone’s exterminators confirmed reports of bed bugs in four units inside the South Campus Commons Building 7, according to a Capstone statement sent to SCC student residents.

Management has since been in the process of exterminating the bed bugs in each unit using a series of treatments such as vacuuming, steaming and using liquid chemicals and is remaining in contact with the student residents affected. Students in affected dormitories have not been relocated, but have been given various inspections and exterminator visits to their units, according to property management.

Following the first four cases, 11 additional cases of bed bugs were reported Friday to Capstone, but exterminators found no evidence of the insects. As a precaution, management said a building-wide inspection will be conducted, again using canines to detect potential signs of bedbugs.

Kevin Reilly, 21, a UM senior and economics major, said he lives in the SCC Building 7 next to one of the four units that were infested and said the fact that he lives so close is concerning.

“It makes me think it’s easily possible that we can also get bed bugs,” he said.

Jordan Cedarleaf, 21, a UM junior and mechanical engineering major, said he also lives in the affected building, but said there’s not much concern and said he doesn’t expect it to spread to other units.

“It doesn’t bother me too much. I think [Capstone] is taking all of the right precautions,” he said, noting the several emails the student residents have received from property management.

UM spokeswoman Crystal Brown said the university is aware of the issue and working closely with property management.

“We’re getting real-time updates from them, staying in close contact with them and monitoring their progress,” Brown said. “We feel very confident that they are working very aggressively to resolve the issue.”

djgross@gazette.net