File 2593

Bed Bug Awareness

Are bed bugs a problem at UNC?
No, bed bugs are not a problem at UNC. There has only been a single reported case in the past few years. However, as bed bugs are becoming increasingly present in the United States, the Department of Housing & Residential Education is committed to educating residents and training our staff for preparedness should an incident arise.

What are the health risks of bed bugs?
Bed bugs, like head lice, feed on the blood of humans and animals but do not transmit disease. Many people experience mild to severe allergic reactions to bed bug bites, with some bites leading to secondary infections of the skin.

Where do bed bugs come from?
Bed bugs typically travel with people, either in luggage (especially during international travel) or in furniture, mattresses, and clothing during relocation. Anyone can get bed bugs - they are not a result of poor hygiene or uncleanliness.  Bed bugs can travel between apartments/rooms either by direct transport by humans or through voids in the walls for heat, plumbing and electrical services shared between units.

What do bed bugs look like?
Bed bugs are small, reddish-brown, flat, oval-shaped insects that can measure from 1 to 7 millimeters in length and are visible to the naked eye. [see picture] They are experts at hiding, and they can live for several days without a blood meal, so you may not see them during daylight hours unless you conduct a thorough inspection.

How can I tell if I have bed bugs?

  • Bed bugs tend to cluster together in places such as mattress seams, box springs, bed frames, crevices and piping on pillows or upholstery, in clutter near the bed, and in the crevices of luggage. They also can be found in sofas, chairs, and tables, particularly in used furniture.
  • Other evidence of bed bugs include exoskeletons left behind after molting; a sweet, musty, almond-like odor; or rusty-colored excrement spots.
  • Bite marks are another indicator, though the marks’ similarity to that of a mosquito or flea – a slightly swollen and red area that may itch and be irritating – makes them tricky to identify.

What should I do if I think I see bed bugs?

  • If you have bite marks or symptoms of an allergic reaction that you think might be related to bed bugs, visit Campus Health Services.
  • To report bed bugs in your room or apartment, contact Housing Support through Fix My Room
  • Baity Hill residents should report bed bugs to the Baity Hill Office at 919-843-8831.

How are bed bugs treated?
Treatment requires laundering all fabric items in hot water and drying at high heat, discarding the contaminated mattress and upholstered furniture, and administering a thorough pesticide treatment by a pest management professional.
How can I prevent bed bugs?

  • Inspect your room/apartment once a month and report any signs of bed bugs to authorities. Early, small infestations are much easier to treat than large ones.
  • Inspect for signs of bed bugs when traveling.
  • Separate any luggage and clothing that may have been exposed to bed bugs during travel and seal items in plastic bags until further inspection and decontamination.
  • Seal mattresses and box springs with a hypo-allergenic zippered encasement.
  • Avoid used upholstered furniture and mattresses, especially discarded furniture and mattresses.

Where I can read more about bed bugs?