CU Boulder Facilities Management and Environmental Health and Safety staff this month have treated one classroom in the Fleming Law building and one in Koelbel Building for the possible presence of bed bugs.
These events present an opportunity for the campus to not only create awareness around an issue that has in recent years become an increasing problem for universities and other facilities across the country but also to inform students and employees about treatment methods CU Boulder uses and available resources for mitigating against the insects.
No bugs, dead or alive, have been found in Fleming 155 or Koelbel S135. However, inspections of the rooms led scent-detection dogs to alert their handlers to the possible presence of live forms of the bugs, which could include eggs, in three areas of Fleming 155 and in one wall-mounted television in Koelbel S135. Those rooms were both closed and underwent thermal treatments. Follow-up inspections by the canines confirmed no further presence of any live forms of the bugs, and the rooms were deemed safe and re-opened.
The thermal treatment CU Boulder uses is a non-pesticide treatment proven to be the only method that effectively kills all forms of bed bugs (adults, juveniles and eggs). The treatment involves heating an area to 130 degrees Fahrenheit for several hours. There are no chemical residues left behind that could lead to skin irritations or other adverse effects. The rooms are safe to re-enter once temperatures have returned to normal. CU Boulder, however, does not re-open affected rooms until follow-up inspections confirm that treatments were successful.
Facilities Management plans to conduct periodic follow-up inspections of the affected rooms in Fleming and Koelbel to ensure the insects have not been reintroduced. However, it is important to note community awareness also plays a key role in helping to identify the source of insects and prevent reintroduction.
Anyone who frequents Fleming 155 or Koelbel S135 is encouraged to be on the lookout for bed bugs both at work and at home. Providing this information to Facilities Management can prove invaluable in more effectively preventing reintroduction to campus, as staff can consult on mitigation strategies with anyone who discovers bed bugs at home.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, bed bugs can be found around the world, and their presence “is not determined by the cleanliness of the living conditions where they are found.” Bed bugs are not known to spread disease, although their bites can cause allergic reactions.
The university encourages anyone who notices or suspects bed bugs in an office, classroom, residence hall, family housing apartment or anywhere else to notify Facilities Management as soon as possible. Ed von Bleichert is CU Boulder’s sustainability and resiliency program manager and can be reached at 303-735-3627 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additionally, issues can be reported to the Facilities Management Operations Control Center 24 hours per day at 303-492-5522. If you live in on-campus housing, Housing and Dining Services also has its own Facilities Operations Center that can be reached at 303-735-5555.
The university provides free pest-control services to campus departments, and von Bleichert can also advise students and employees on how to deal with the bugs if they spread to their homes.
Visit the The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for a comprehensive guide to bed bugs.