NOTICE:  Early detection and follow-through on procedures is critical.  If you have a confirmed case of bed bugs, failure to comply with the Bed Bug Procedures with 24 hours will result in a $250.00 fine.

Step 1: Identification and Behavior

Bed bug adults are small, brownish insects, just under a 1/4 inch long and are relatively flat. They are nearly as wide as they are long, and oval in shape. Immature bed bugs (nymphs) resemble the adults, but are much smaller and lighter in color. Newly hatched nymphs are translucent and are no bigger than a pinhead (1 mm about the size of a letter on a penny). The eggs are very small (approximately 1mm), whitish, and very difficult to see on most surfaces without magnification (individual eggs are about the size of a dust speck).

Bed Bug Eggs – 1mm in size
(About the size of a letter on a penny)

Immature Bed Bugs Early Stage

Immature Bed Bugs Middle Stage

Adult Bed Bug

Both immature and adult bed bugs feed exclusively on blood and while they have been shown to feed on other animals such as mice, dogs, cats, rabbits, etc., their primary food source comes from humans. Bed bugs do not live on, or infest people instead they are similar to a mosquito that feeds and then leaves. They are nocturnal insects and spend most of the daylight hours hiding in locations where they are unlikely to be seen. They are most active late at night when the occupants of the structure are sleeping, during which time the come out of their hiding places to feed. They cannot fly or jump instead, they move about by crawling. They are usually associated with the bed so that the bug can be in close association with its food source but can also be found in other areas as well.

Bed Bugs and Disease

Despite the fact that bed bugs feed on blood they have never been shown to be effective at transmitting diseases. As a result while being bitten by bed bugs may be very upsetting, aside from the itchy red welts that may result from their bite, they are not considered a medically important pest. The reaction to the bite can also vary quite a bit from one person to the next. The most common reaction is similar to that of a mosquito bite, however some reactions can be more severe and then there are some individuals do not react at all.

How bed bugs are introduced

Bed bugs do not simply wander in from the outside; instead they have to be transferred from one infested environment to another. Because of this, bed bugs have evolved into masters of hitchhiking. It is very unlikely that you have a problem with bed bugs if you have not picked up an item that is infested, stayed in an infested environment or had someone visit you that has been in an infested environment.

Avoid getting bed bugs

To prevent bed bugs from getting into your room, do not bring any used or discarded items into your room. Also, if you were at a location you thought could have bed bugs, inspect everything you brought with you (backpack, luggage, etc.) for the presence of bed bugs. Pay special attention to seams, folds, zippers or any other location that provides the bed bugs with a hiding place.

Bed bug symptoms and signs

Early detection of bed bugs is very important and will greatly facilitate the ability of pest management professionals to gain control in an efficient manner.

Waking up each morning with bites that were not present the night before is an indication that bed bugs may be present. Bites can occur anywhere on the body, but are most prevalent on the upper body (arms, shoulders, and neck) or lower body (calf area). Not all people react to bed bug bites, however, in many people the bite will appear as a welt or rash and will often occur in rows of two or three bites.

Bed bugs may be seen actively crawling in the room, particularly during the evening hours or when the room is dimly lit.

Blood stains or smears on sheets, pillow cases, or along the edges/corners of mattresses are another sign that bed bugs may be present. They are typically a tar black color.

Example of bed bug bites

Bed bugs on mattress seam

Bed bug staining along
mattress seam
Step 2: Bed Bug Confirmation

If you suspect you have bed bugs, the first step is to immediately notify Residence Life who will inspect your room for the aforementioned indicators. You will also need to see Health Services who will give you a referral to visit an area doctor. Once the doctor has given official confirmation that your bites are caused by bed bugs, Health Services will notify Residence Life. Residence Life will then contact the Facilities Department who will schedule a date for the exterminator to treat your room. You will receive notification of when the exterminator will arrive; this is typically no more than 3 days after official confirmation.

If the presence of bed bugs is confirmed in your room, proceed to Step 3.

Step 3: Pre-Treatment Process

Our primary goal is to get all of the bed bugs eliminated from your room in as timely a fashion as possible and your cooperation is key in doing so. An important thing to do is to try not to panic. We know having bed bugs is a very stressful situation but be assured we can take care of the problem and we will do so as swiftly as possible.

There are several things that you should not do:

  1. Do not throw items away or remove them from your room. If you need to throw something away, put it in a tightly closed bag and throw it out in the outside dumpster. Do NOT put it in a garbage can inside the building.
    1. If items are not removed in the correct fashion you may inadvertently spread the problem into the halls and other areas. In addition, once items have been discarded they may be picked up by another unsuspecting student spreading the problem to their room.
  2. Do not attempt to control the bed bugs on your own
    1. Any actions that you take to control bed bugs on your own could complicate the problem and may cause unexpected problems for others.
  3. Do not relocate yourself to another room
    1. While the initial instinct is to get out of the room and sleep elsewhere, in doing so you run the risk of taking bugs with you in your belongings. Instead the student should contact Residence Life immediately so that the appropriate corrective actions can be taken.

Resident Responsibility with 24-hours of a confirmed case of bed bugs:

  1. Pull all furniture at least 2 feet from the wall so that the pest control company can get around the room to do treatment.
  2. Using the giant black plastic garbage bags provided to you by Residential Life, bag ALL clothing items in your room. This includes everything in your closet, under your bed, in dresser drawers, towels, curtains, bedding, everything. Please be sure to tightly tie the bag off and leave it in your room until you are ready to do your laundry.
  3. All bagged clothing items must be washed. If you elect to do this on campus, you are assured that the water is hot enough (110 degrees or higher) to kill the bugs and their eggs. If you decide to go off campus to do your laundry, you should make it a point to inquire about the temp of their hot water. As noted above, the water needs to be 110 degrees or higher in order to do the job. Dry clothes in the dryer at the highest heat possible.
    1. All washed items must then be placed in the clear plastic bags provided to you. Be sure to seal the bag properly in order to protect your clean items. Leave your laundered items in a friend’s room until the exterminator has treated your room. Placing your clean items back into your untreated room will require you to do your laundry AGAIN! Use of this two-bag system will help you keep washed and non-washed clothes separate so that you can ensure that everything gets washed.
    2. Make sure you leave yourself enough clothes to last until the exterminator arrives, which should be no more than three days after official confirmation. Once the treatment has finished, all clothing not washed prior to treatment should be immediately bagged and washed.
  4. Remove everything from under the beds, the dressers and nightstands, and the floor of the closets.
  5. All cardboard boxes must be removed from your room/apartment.  They must be broken down and placed in garbage bags and disposed of in the garbage dumpster.
  6. Items that cannot be washed or chemically treated shall be carefully cleaned and vacuumed by the residents, these items may include: books, alarm clocks, phones, lamps, desk accessories, etc. All suitcases, other luggage and furniture should be vacuumed thoroughly. Pay special attention to corners, crevices, and the underside of shelves.
    1. Make sure to dispose of the vacuum bag or, if using a bagless vacuum, the contents outside in the dumpster immediately.
  7. Be prepared to leave your room for treatment for, at minimum, 4 hours. If you have any environmental sensitivity, be prepared to leave for, at minimum, 6 hours.
  8. Failure to comply with these procedures with 24-hours of a confirmed case of bed bugs will result in a $250.00 fine.
Step 4: After the Treatment

Bed bugs and their eggs may be located in areas that are inaccessible during treatment. Over the days and weeks following the initial treatment eggs may continue to hatch and bugs emerge from concealed hiding places. A follow-up program will be in place to address the continued activity however due to the nature of the biology and behavior of bed bugs it is not unusual to expect the following:

  • You may see an increase in bed bug activity a few days following treatment as the population has been disturbed as hiding places are eliminated.
  • Bed bugs are likely to be seen between visits but should get less with each visit until they are eliminated.
  • You may continue to experience some bites until every last bug has been eliminated.
  • Clearance may not be achieved for 45 days.

Once given permission to return to your room, you may bring your freshly laundered items back into your room and unpack other items that had been bagged up.

Please monitor your room for further evidence of bed bugs. If you find anything suspicious, please contact Residence Life immediately so we can arrange for the exterminator to return to your room for a follow-up inspection.

Step 5: What can you do to help?

Though bedbugs are very rare at Nyack College, and we have had only a few isolated cases in recent years, we need your assistance to avert and contain future cases. As bedbugs are brought into buildings in the belongings of people, here is what you can do to help:

  • Learn to identify bedbugs. Review the section of this fact sheet that describes bedbugs so you can identify bedbugs. Also be on the lookout for signs of their presence such as blood spots on sheets or an unexplained “rash” on your body.
  • If you discover or suspect bedbugs, immediately contact Residence Life. Do not attempt to eradicate them yourself. Successful treatment must be carried out by a trained professional.
  • Seek assistance at the Health Center without delay if you find a rash or marks on your body or blood spots on your sheets.
  • Inspect your bed periodically. Check for blood spots on your sheets. Lift bedding and mattress. Check in seams, between bedposts and slats, and behind headboards. Use a flashlight at night.
  • Inspect your backpack periodically. Bedbugs can hide in backpacks. Check seams and pouches throughout your backpack for bugs or eggs. Do not place your backpack on or under your bed.
  • Clean and reduce the clutter in your room to eliminate places for bedbugs to hide during the day.
  • Wash clothes and linens frequently in hot water and dryer to kill any possible bugs.
  • Remember that Nyack does not allow bringing any outside  furniture items onto campus.
  • When traveling, take precautions to help prevent bringing bedbugs back to campus with you. Inspect the bed you will be using as described above. Check the room, including behind wall hangings. Don’t put your suitcase or backpack directly on your bed; whenever possible, elevate them on a luggage rack or place a plastic garbage bag under your suitcase.
  • Before returning to campus, inspect your clothes and other items before packing. Check crevices in suitcases and backpacks.
  • After returning to campus, recheck all traveling gear and items within when you unpack. Don’t put your suitcase or backpack on or under your bed.