Reporting Rochelle Ritchie
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COLLEGE PARK, Md. (WJZ)– Bed bugs invade the University of Maryland at College Park forcing students from their dorms.
Rochelle Ritchie explains why experts say colleges are especially prone to infestations.
These students are having a hard time sleeping at night. One has suffered several bites and it could be months before the bugs are gone.
Building 7 of the South Campus Commons on the University of Maryland, College Park campus has an itchy problem– bed bugs.
“I found one in my room in the closet and only after I found one they took action,” Turna Mekherje, a student who lives in the infested apartment, said.
For months, four roommates have been battling bed bugs, and despite efforts to get them under control, nothing seems to be working.
“We pretty much can’t sit anywhere in our apartment because we are scared we are going to contract them or something,” Aditi Kalotra said.
And they have the bites to prove it.
A video shows how the girls are living. The roommates had to put their belongings in bags, strip their beds down to the mattress and empty their closets in hopes of getting rid of the bugs.
“We just have to deal with this because that’s how long the treatment process is supposed to take,” Raevathi Ramadorai said.
But bed bug expert Rob Lasworth says while treatments help, it’s not the end of the resilient pests.
“We have technical specialists with our company that have a vial of bed bugs and they have not been fed in a year and they’re still alive,” Lasworth, an exterminator, explained.
Bed bugs are tiny hitchhikers that can move from place to place on clothing and luggage and feed off the blood of their sleeping victims.
“It’s scary, it’s disgusting,” one student said.
Students who don’t live in Building 7 say they are hesitant to visit their friends who are scared they may bring the bugs back to their own apartments.
“It’s like you lay on your bed and then you’re like, ‘OK, I’m done for the day’, and then, ‘Ugh! Kind of nasty!’”
Right now, only one apartment is infested in the building. The roommates are doing what they can to prevent transferring the bed bugs to other students.
“It’s really hard to live in this situation,” Kalotra said.
The management company spoke to WJZ by phone and said this is not the only apartment that has been affected. Commons officials now require in leases that students demonstrate their apartments are bed bug free when they move out.
Bed bugs are not known to transmit any diseases.