University of Kentucky finds bedbugs in student center, will treat with heat

Lounge areas closed after 'a couple' insects spotted

ctruman@herald-leader.comJuly 21, 2011 

The University of Kentucky has found bedbugs in part of the UK Student Center.

Student center director John Herbst said a UK public health graduate student said Monday that he had found "a couple of bedbugs" in a second-floor lounge that contains upholstered chairs and loveseats.

Herbst said he saw one bedbug in the area "and what appeared to be the possibility of eggs."

The area was closed, as was a nearby lounge. No bedbugs had been spotted in the nearby lounge, and UK officials said it was closed only as a precaution.

The affected area will be treated Friday by the university's contractor, OPC Pest Control.

Donnie Blake, president of the pest control firm, said a heat treatment will be used on the affected area. The treatment involves machines that heat the area to 135 degrees, which kills the bedbugs and their eggs.

Bedbugs have an appearance similar to that of ticks, Blake said, and generally like to stay in cracks and crevices during the day. They are transmitted when humans with bedbugs on their clothing or bodies or in their belongings leave them behind. They are not considered a sign of poor hygiene or economic status, Blake said. He did say they are becoming more prevalent in this area.

Their bite resembles that of a mosquito, he said.

Before 2003, he said, his company had done one bedbug treatment; this year, Blake said, it will perform 5,000 bedbug treatments and inspections.

One way to avoid bedbugs is to be careful about where you place carried belongings such as suitcases, Blake said; always use the hotel room luggage rack, rather than the bed, and remove clothes from suitcases only as you need them.

He also recommended that people buying used clothing or furniture inspect, and when possible, wash the material to guard against bedbugs.

Herbst said he was sure the infested lounge would be bedbug-free when the contractor completed his heat treatment.

"We have the utmost confidence in these fellows as professionals," he said.

The student center is lightly populated during the summer. Although classes for the fall semester begin Aug. 24, large numbers of students will begin arriving on campus for registration and other programs beginning in early August.

In late June, officials at the Lexington Public Library discovered two bedbugs at the downtown library. The library brought in a bedbug-sniffing dog, removed affected furniture and put in place a new cleaning regimen.

Reach Cheryl Truman at (859) 231-3202 or 1-800-950-6397, Ext. 3202.

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