A handful of recent reports of insects entering Cal Poly dorms and causing red, splotchy spots on some students’ bodies gives literal meaning to the expression, “Don’t let the bed bugs bite.”
Preston Allen, Cal Poly’s executive director of university housing, said that the discovery of the roughly quarter-inch bugs at the university has led housing officials to take measures to eradicate them.
Cal Poly’s website advisory to parents and students about the bugs describes them as reddish-brown in color with flat, oval-shaped bodies.
“Bed bugs feed on the blood of people and other warm-blooded animals,” the note states. “ For the most part, bed bugs are plainly and simply creepy, but remain relatively harmless.”
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Bed bugs tend to inhabit dark crevices and seek out furniture, beds, clothes, suitcases and backpacks, according to university officials.
They typically feed every seven to 10 days on people while they’re sleeping.
Bed bugs are not known to transmit any blood-borne diseases.
Allen said the university hired a pest control company over the summer to fumigate bed bugs at the Santa Lucia dorm.
And eradication workers have sprayed and removed some baseboards of some housing units to get rid of the pests.Allen said the university’s three housing communities — including dorms and on-campus apartments — have been affected by the bothersome insects.
He said the first report of the bed bugs came after spring break last year, and university officials believe students traveling brought the small creatures back.
“We know that bed bugs tend to be hitchhikers by nature, so we’re asking students to check for them if they take a trip and bring the same luggage back,” Allen said. “Even setting your backpack or jacket down on the ground can attract them.”
Other preventive measures include keeping one’s room clean, washing bedding regularly and keeping beds away from the wall.
Students living on campus who were interviewed at Cal Poly on Thursday said they’d heard of the problem and seemed inquisitive about bed bugs.
“From what I hear, it’s mostly been taken care of,” said Natalie Scott, a communications major. “By the way, how big are they?”
Animal science major Travis Parker said that his girlfriend thought she’d seen a dead bed bug, but she wasn’t sure.
“I hardly knew they existed before they came here,” Parker said.