ResLife enlists dog to rid Bigelow of bed bugs

Bigelow residents can sleep tight after fast action by ResLife and an affected individual quickly eliminated a bed bug infestation.

Most residents of Bigelow first heard about the bed bugs when Associate Director of Residential Life Peggy Olson emailed them the afternoon of Nov. 2, explaining how the bed bugs would be eliminated. Ralph Williamson in Facilities coordinated the search and treatment, enlisting the help of a bed bug sniffing dog. At 8 a.m. on Nov. 3, the dog came into Bigelow to sniff for bed bugs in a predetermined radius of rooms around the affected room. Students living in these rooms were informed via direct contact. The outside company, Plunkett’s, exterminated all the bed bugs, Olson said.

The room with the original bed bug population was treated on Nov. 3, and a second room, which was found to have a small start of bed bugs, was treated over the weekend. In a further search, Plunkett’s did not find any other affected rooms.

“It is important to know that the college does have a protocol to follow in the case of bed bugs that Res. Life, [Health and Wellness Center] and Facilities worked on to create about a year and a half ago on the event [of] bed bugs,” she said in an email.

The names of the residents and number of the affected rooms were not released due to confidentiality concerns, but Olson indicated that their proactivity in contacting the Health and Wellness Center stopped any further outbreak.

“I want to emphasize that no one did anything ‘wrong’ in regards to the bed bugs affecting their room…bed bugs can happen to anyone,” she said.

The mass email asked Bigelow residents to contact the Health and Wellness Center if they experience bed bug bites, which “consist of a raised red bump or flat welt, often accompanied by intense itching similar to mosquito bites.” Olson offered to send a one-page write-up on bed bugs from the Health and Wellness Center to anyone who wants more specific information.

Olson hoped the email would reduce rumors and reassure each student of the services offered to them on campus. Rumors could easily have circled had information not been given, she said, especially around the appearance of the bed bug detecting dog.

“With the bed bug detecting dog on-campus,” she wrote in an email, “we wanted to be proactive in informing Bigelow residents of the dog’s presence, but also to make sure students know this is not a drug-sniffing dog (and stop any rumors before they start!).”