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exterior of the UW apartments community center with text pest control

PEST CONTROL

UW Residence Life and Dining Services (RLDS) staff take pest control seriously.  We practice integrated pest management (IPM) which means that chemical applications are not the first or only line of defense to control pests.  We are also committed to an effective and efficient response to students who suspect they have a problem with insects or pests. 


WHAT TO DO

It is important students and staff work collaboratively in handling pest control issues.  When working together, the outcome of success is far greater than working independently or against one another.  Here are some important details for both partners to understand and practice to minimize and solve problems. 

  • Report problems early – do not ignore or simply live with a problem. Report it!  While seeing a single insect is not cause for panic or alarm, seeing several on a regular basis is the beginning signs of a problem waiting to grow.  An unreported issue in one residency can grow to the point of affecting surrounding residencies.  Submitting a work order takes seconds to do.  Ridding an infestation which has been breeding for a long period of time can take months to resolve.   

  • Maintain a clean household.  This includes… 

  • Removal of trash and waste on a regular basis.  

  • Sweep, mop or vacuum floors weekly. 

  • Clean bathroom sink and tub weekly. 

  • Pick up debris from around the outside of your residency.   

  • Keep opened food in sealed containers.  

  • Close doors and unscreened windows. 

  • Allow time for treatment to set in.  Depending on the pest and type of application, the result may not be immediate.  To shrink a population that has been growing for weeks or months will take some time.  

Pests that can be treated include (but are not limited to) bees, wasps, mice, ants, cockroaches, and bed bugs. 


BED BUG INFORMATION

What is a bed bug? 

Bed bugs are insects that subsist on human blood. The size of bed bugs varies through their life cycle, but adult bed bugs are about the size, shape, and color of an apple seed. They can be found where humans sleep, feed mostly at night, and can reproduce very rapidly. Since bed bugs, feed on blood there is no relationship between bed bugs and cleanliness. 
 

How did they get into my room/apartment? 

Bed bugs travel in a variety of ways and are efficient hitchhikers.  Here are some things to know about how they may have gotten into your room:  

  • Bed bugs have slim, flat bodies that allow them to fit in small spaces and hide.  Consequently, they can be in your luggage, clothing, furniture and other items without your knowledge.  

  • Problems with bed bugs tend to be most common in apartments, residence halls, motels, and other sites that see high amounts of human traffic.   

  • Bringing home second-hand furniture that has not been properly inspected can be a method of transmission.  

 

Are bed bugs dangerous? 

No, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDD) “bed bugs are not known to spread disease”.  Bed bugs can be an annoyance because their presence may cause itching and loss of sleep.  Their bites affect people differently.  Some people show no signs of being bitten while others can have small red bit marks or even an allergic reaction. Regardless, bed bugs are not considered dangerous. https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/bedbugs/faqs.html  


IDENTIFICATION AND TREATMENT

UW RLDS staff are committed to an effective and efficient response to students who suspect they may have bed bugs.  For the safety and comfort of all students living in the residence halls, our staff will adhere to the following guidelines: 

As soon as a student suspects that they may have bed bugs, they should submit a work order and contact their RA.   

The work order will start the process to have a room or apartment inspected.  Please note that should a student submit a work order on a weekend or holiday day, the inspection will not take place until the next workday.   

If no bedbugs or clear signs of bed bugs are found in the student’s room or apartment, then no further action will be taken.  The student will be asked to continue monitoring their living space and to resubmit a work order if there are further problems. 

If bed bugs or a clear sign of bed bugs are found UW RLDS staff will provide the affected student(s) with a detailed list of instructions for treatment. UW uses integrated pest management, meaning we use a combination of chemicals and heat to treat bed bugs.   

 

How does heat treatment work? 

UW has trained professionals that have access to several tools for treating bed bugs.  Our preferred method is the use of a combination of chemicals and our heat-based pest control system.  Heat treatment is a proven non-chemical method of killing bed bugs.  All life stages (adult, larva, and eggs) die within minutes at a minimum temperature of 120F.  UW uses large heaters to create temperatures greater than 120F and less than 140F.  This temperature successfully kills the bugs. 

 

Why are they treating my whole room/apartment? 

Although bed bugs prefer to hide in bed frames, mattresses, pillows, box springs, and headboards, they can be found in sofas, carpet, wall trim, chairs, etc.  In order to ensure we do not miss any bugs, we heat treat every room or area where bugs might hide. 

 

How can I reduce my risk in the future? 

  • Learn to examine your bed, linens, and belongings. 

  • Inspect second-hand furniture before you bring it into your room/apartment. 

  • Inspect your backpack and laptop bag regularly.  If you travel, inspect luggage, clothing, and bedding after your trip. 

  • Clean and reduce clutter in your room, particularly clothing on the floor.  This will reduce places they can hide. 

 

Please Complete the Following Before Staff Arrive to Heat Treat Your Room: 

  • Leave everything you can in your room (except the list of items that must be removed).  

  • Leave all blankets, pillows, and sheets on your bed. 

  • Select one set of clothing to wear while the staff is treating your room/apartment. Bring only items with you that you absolutely need.   

  • Return around noon (or before treatment ends) to your room/apartment for a flash treatment of you, your clothing and any possessions you needed to take with you. 

  • Tidy the clutter and remove trash from your living space. Clutter makes it challenging for staff to bring in all of the equipment and it provides space for the bugs to hide.

  • Move furniture away from walls (if possible) for chemical application.

 

Please DO NOT Remove the following items: 

  • Clothing, blankets, pillows, bedding, etc. 

  • Computer & electronics (including iPods, phones, laptops, etc.).  These items are designed to withstand the amount of heat the heat treatment uses. Bed bugs are commonly found in computers & electronics so it is important to get these items treated. 

  • Briefcases, luggage and backpacks 

  • Cases for musical instruments 

 

Please REMOVE the Following Items Before the Heat Treatment.  (Items can be placed in a refrigerator if applicable and available): 

  • Animals (including fish). Dogs and cats must be groomed on the day of treatment. 

  • House plants 

  • Fresh food (fruit, vegetables, etc.) 

  • Food that melts (chocolate, candy, peanut butter, etc.) 

  • Prescriptions and over-the-counter medications 

  • Aerosols or other flammable items

  • Make-up (lipstick and other cosmetics) 

  • Wax based items (crayons, wax figurines, etc.)  

  • Wooden and stringed musical instruments (please leave the cases) 


THINGS TO CONSIDER

To achieve lethal temperatures through every item on every surface we shift, turn, and upend most items including drawers, shelving, and closet contents. If they are tightly packed, they will be placed on the floor so blowers can move the heat through them.  We will treat all items as carefully as possible.  Expect your room to be disheveled when you return.  

Our staff will be in contact if additional or alternate types of treatment need be used on your room/apartment. 

 

For more information on bed bugs, visit the following webpages: 

https://www.epa.gov/bedbugs  

http://www.uwyo.edu/entomology/in-the-home/insects/bedbugs.html  

https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/bedbugs/faqs.html 

 

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