"Don't let the bed bugs bite" has a whole new meaning due to the recent resurgence of bedbugs throughout not only Cincinnati but the United States. As such, it is critical for students living in off-campus housing to know as much information as possible about bed bugs. Keep in mind that although there is nothing you can do extermination-wise to prevent bed bugs, there are some preventative steps that you can take:
- NEVER bring furniture left on the street into your home.
- If you buy used furniture ask how the furniture was cleaned and ask for a record of the cleaning. Also, make sure any furniture delivered to your house/apartment from a delivery truck is in plastic.
- If you travel and stay in hotels, check mattresses for bed bugs and do not put luggage on the floor- - use luggage racks or tables.
- Wash bedding often - using the hottest water and drying settings possible. Also, consider using vinyl mattress pads.
- Sweep your home often - including furniture and baseboards in all rooms.
Important facts about bed bugs
- Bed bugs are not associated with unsanitary living conditions. Bed bugs are travelers and anyone can pick them up through stays in hotels, movie theatres, buying used furniture, etc.
- Bed bugs are parasitic but do not spread disease.
- Bed bugs can live up to 18 months without a blood meal.
- Bed bugs do not fly or jump - they move very quickly and prefer to live in small crevices (clutter). Look for bed bugs in corners of mattresses or other furniture items (especially around the seams), box springs, drawers, corners of walls and ceilings, and in the baseboards of any room.
- Bed bugs are 1/4 - 3/8 inches long. They are typically reddish brown and flat. Bites look similar to mosquito bites. (images from the Center for Disease Control & WebMD)
- If you think you have bed bugs, contact your landlord immediately. Put all requests for inspection and extermination in writing. If your landlord does not respond to your requests, contact the Cincinnati Health Department or the Norwood Health Department. Additionally, these departments can remove any furniture you think may have bed bugs.
- Treating bed bugs should be a joint effort between tenant and landlord. With treatment comes responsibilities for the tenants (washing clothes, sweeping, preparing the house or apartment for treatment, etc). In terms of who is responsible for payment of the treatment or inspection- that is dependent upon your lease and the city in which you reside. Contact the Health Department for the city in which you live.
- If you have bites from bed bugs, you can use over the counter remedies like Benadryl and Cortizone cream. For more severe bites or rashes contact McGrath Health and Wellness for an appointment to speak with a health professional.
- If it is determined that you have bed bug, please limit the visitors to your house or apartment and inform friends and families. Also, please inform McGrath Health and Wellness as they can determine if areas you have been on-campus should be checked for bugs.
- Contact the Office of Commuter Services and Off Campus Living if you are experiencing problems with your landlord exterminating your house or apartment or if you have questions. Either call 513-745-3824 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.