Bed bugs suck.
Though previously eradicated, a resurgence of the nighttime pests has Albuquerque crawling with them.
David Swanson, of Patriot Pest Control, said college students are at the highest risk of getting bed bugs.
“College students seem to be a little more prone to it due to the nature of the college lifestyle, generally,” he said. “People tend to stay at other people’s houses more often, which certainly helps spread the bed bug.”
Bed bugs have not been a problem at UNM residence halls, said Brian Ward, associate director of facilities.
“We have had no reports of bed bugs,” he said. “We have had some questions, and we have gone and they were not bed bugs. If we look historically, we have had fewer calls for pest infestations and things.”
Student Jsh’nei Romero said she has not come across the bugs so far, but was appalled at the thought of discovering one.
“I would probably freak out,” she said. “I would definitely wash my sheets immediately.”
The pests’ mobility is at an all-time high, Swanson said, because of increasingly mobile lifestyles.
“It’s not just people staying in local towns anymore,” he said. “It’s international travel too that is causing this influx. Looking forward, it is never going to be like it was when we had them extinct in this country, so we need to develop and look forward.”
Ward said UNM resident halls take precautions to prevent bug infestations.
“We do have several ongoing maintenance programs for pest control, and we also do spot treatments,” he said. “Our mattresses are commercial grade and made for residence halls. They are made of a plastic substance that makes it difficult for bed bugs or any other kinds of bugs, and they are cleaned whenever students check in or check out.”
As an on-campus resident, student Gianna Sanchez said it is important for UNM Housing to regularly exterminate the dorms.
“I would expect them to hire an exterminator to get rid of them,” she said. “If there are bed bugs, they should exterminate more often because so many different people sleep in those beds at different times.”
If you do contract bed bugs, it is your responsibility to get it taken care of immediately, Swanson said.
“Don’t be embarrassed if you have them. Get them taken care of right away,” he said. “People will try to go to Home Depot and take care of it themselves, but they are not going to stop the problem effectively, and if anybody comes over, they are going to be contaminated, too.”