The best way to deal with bed bugs is to take care of the problem as soon as possible, according to TVA Coordinator Spencer Maua'i. If you live on campus, the RAs and the maintenance have the sufficient equipment and training to provide the necessary treatment for the attendance.
Wing Yan Lam, a senior from Hong Kong studying psychology, once had an encounter with bed bugs in the Hale. “My room was close to the trees. I thought they were just mosquito or bug bites, but it [kept happening] more and more. Then the RAs found the bed bugs under my pillows during the clean check.”
Macey Raymond, a senior from Arizona studying communications, said, “I started to get bites and a rash when I first moved to TVA. I thought it was an allergic reaction. Then my mom caught it in the apartment.”
“I thought they were cockroaches,” said Kelson Eliot, a sophomore from Utah with an undecided major. “I looked up online and found out that they are actually bed bugs. I didn’t know they are real things.”
Based on his research, he said, “The effective way to prevent it is to stay clean and catch them early on.”
“Don’t bring too many clothes from Give and Take,” Lam expressed. “If you do, make sure to wash them and dry them with high heat.”
Maua'i, an alumnus from Laie, listed the actions that will be taken by TVA RAs for bed bugs inspection:
Provide plastic mattress cover.
Send trained RAs to the apartment for inspection. Search for the source and affected areas.
Spray bed bug killer on the surrounding affected area to kill them and any eggs.
Provide a steamer, which the RA will instruct and help train the resident how to use. Heat is an effective way to kill bed bugs.
Follow up with the victims, ensure no further spreading.
If the bed bug problems aren't taken care of with the steps above, the maintenance team, which has more resources and training, will give the apartment a more thorough treatment.
Some tips provided by Maua'i and other students for those who encounter bed bugs:
Stay clean. Wash your linen weekly.
Check your mattress and bed frame often. Bed bugs are mostly found on the edge of the bed, underneath the seams.
Learn about bed bugs, what they look like and what the signs are.
Take care of it as early as possible, don’t ignore the signs.
Don’t be afraid to seek help from the RAs.
Purchase your own bed bug spray.
Wash clothes in hot water and dry them with high heat.
Put the clothes inside a big plastic bag and put them under the sun.
Having bed bugs is not common in TVA; there were only 3 incidents in 2017 according to Maua'i. However, due to the lack of knowledge about bed bugs, he said it’s hard to acknowledge the signs initially.
Maua'i advised students to not postpone resolving the bed bug problem. “Do not hesitate to ask the RAs for help. We can’t help without knowing the problem. There was one couple who told us that they had bed bugs for a while when they were checking out. By the time we can do anything, it spread to the whole apartment already.” The RAs have implemented bed bug check during white glove in order to prevent the problem early on.