College Ambassadors were not the only ones who welcomed Jessie Lamotta to campus her freshman year. Lamotta had to deal with pesky bed bugs as well, following a trend that an increasing number of residents have run into on campus in the freshman dorms, especially Cromwell Hall.
Jessie Lamotta, now a junior history major at the College, was pestered by bed bugs on Cromwell 3 from move-in day to sometime in October during her freshman year.
“My roommate woke up with little red bumps on her body, and I found little blood stains on my bed sheets,” Lamotta said. “Also, at night when we pulled our sheets back, the bugs would scurry and hide.”
“The doctor (at Health Services) said that my roommate and I had scabies and that we should stay away from other students and not transport any of our belongings to other rooms,” Lamotta said. She and her roommate were given body cream to wash with twice a day.
Bed bug adults are small, brownish insects, just under a quarter of an inch long.
Sophomore elementary and early childhood education major Nicole Foderaro got a glance of the bugs when she had a run-in with the frustrating critters her freshman year.
“The bed bugs we saw were of a reddish tint because they had just fed. There were also a few clear ones.?They were pretty small, about the size of the head of a pin, if not smaller,” she said.
Foderaro’s roommate developed “weird red bumps on her shoulder, arm and chest.”
The room across the hall had a particularly bad case.
“Theirs was so bad that one boy was covered from head to toe,” Foderaro said.
Even after Foderaro’s room was initially treated, the problem was not fixed.
“Afterwards, we had two more cases of bed bugs before the problem was resolved,” Foderaro said.
Cooper Pest Solutions, the extermination group that deals with the College’s pest problems, maintains a Web site titled “Bed Bug Central.”
“This pest that was virtually non-existent just a few years ago is now affecting colleges and universities nationwide,” Cooper Pest Solutions’ Web site says.
Megan Roe, junior communication studies major at the College, has not experienced bed bugs on campus, but was recently bitten when visiting a friend in New York City. Roe discovered a line of red bites on her arm. Oddly, friends who recently stayed in the same bed didn’t experience any bites.
When Roe visited a doctor, she was told different people have different reactions to the bugs. “Mine stayed for three or four days,” Roe said. “My skin was itched raw.”
Cooper Pest Solutions recommends a few measures college students can take to prevent bed bugs, suggesting that students pay special attention to seams, folds and zippers, since they are ideal places for bed bugs to hide.
When feeding, the bed bugs “inject a tiny amount of their saliva into the skin,” the Harvard School of Public Health Web site says. The Harvard School of Public Health site confirms that bed bug bites, though annoying, are relatively harmless. The bugs have not been proved to transmit diseases.
“(R)epeated exposures to bed bug bites during a period of several weeks or more causes people to become sensitized to the saliva of these bugs; additional bites may then result in mild to intense allergic responses,” Harvard School of Public Health’s Web site says.
Kait McCarthy, a Community Advisor in Cromwell, said she had bed bug issues on her floor this past fall. Her residents woke up with bites on their arms. Cooper Pest Solutions exterminated the three-bedroom suite two to three times. McCarthy learned a valuable piece of information after all that.
“You’re not going to get it from someone sleeping on your bed,” McCarthy said.
But it seems that Cromwell Hall is done with bed bugs. If the bugs could read, they would realize just how unwanted they are.
“Bed bugs are NOT welcome! We’re sick of you so get the fuck out!” a sign on a Cromwell door reads, complete with a bright red slash through a tiny drawing of the small insect.