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Bed Bugs to Invade State College

Run. Save yourself.

Because after a 50 year hiatus, bed bugs have returned. Only this time, they’re a little more adventurous. Having traded bed sheets for backpacks and bedrooms for restaurants, bed bugs are dominating national news as they make appearances in major cities like New York City and Washington D.C., as well as smaller cities, like our dear ol’ town of State College.

So what can we do to protect ourselves?

At Monday night’s borough council meeting, concerned citizens educated council members about the possibilities of a bed bug infestation in the Centre County region and encouraged them to take immediate action to further inform residents of the problem.

“They are particularly problematic because they are hitchhikers,” said Edwin Rajotte, a professor of entomolgy at Penn State and the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) coordinator. “They move around with people on backpacks, in their clothing and that type of thing. And in a college town where there is a lot of moving around, going to parties and other kinds of things, the bed bugs have a very good highway to move from one resident’s dorm to another.”

Rajotte is also part of the Centre Region Bed Bug Coalition, which aims to:

1. bring awareness to the community

2. educate property managers, residents, local officials, students, and others about bed bug detection and management

3. recognize that all parts of the community have a role to play in bed bug management

4. share information and protocols about bed bug management.

Rajotte said the most important step the Centre region needs to adopt is a monitoring system.

“One of the problems with bed bugs is that people are embarrassed to report it. This is not an embarrassing thing though. Anybody can have bed bugs. As soon as people realize that, people will be more likely to report them,” Rajotte said. “And if we can get to an infestation early, we have a much better chance of controlling them.”

According to David Manos, assistant director of housing, four individual dorm rooms have been quarantined on campus since the beginning of fall semester due to a bed bug outbreak, and a total of 28 bed bug cases on campus were reported since April 2006.

According to The Pennsylvania IPM Program, there are several ways  to recognize a bed bug:

  • A newly hatched bed bug is semi-transparent, light tan in color, and the size of a poppy seed
  • Adult bed bugs are flat, have rusty-red-colored oval bodies, and are about the size of an apple seed
  • Look for: blood stains, droppings and eggs found in mattress seams and tufts, sheets, pillow cases, upholstered furniture, crevices and cracks in furniture, the baseboard of walls, windows, door frames and behind wall hangings.

For more information on bed bugs, click here.

About the Author

Becky Perlow

Becky is a feature writer for Onward State. Currently on her victory lap (read: fifth-year senior), she studies both journalism and hotel/restaurant management at Penn State. She hails from Charm City, Maryland, and as a rabid Ravens fan, she isn't afraid to insult the Steelers QB ("No means no!"). She also loves to travel -- she's been to 26 countries and counting!

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