BLOG: The big bedbug scare

Excited to come back to school? Check your email and peruse the thoroughly unromantic guidelines Residence Life sent out on how to protect yourself from bedbugs. Some of them are sensible (well, most of them boil down to “check for bedbugs,” anyway), but some are just plain terrifying. Some highlights:

“Do not bring wicker items to campus; wicker provides too many hiding places for bedbugs and is virtually impossible to treat effectively.”

In other words, old women are the problem.

“Do not bring discarded or abandoned furniture into your room (things left on the curb or by a dumpster).”

Also important: don’t live with rabid animals or store corpses in your drinking water.

“If you have any visible bites on your person, promptly contact your RA and the Winslow Health Center.”

Allegheny might not have much of a framework in place to deal with armed fugitives or hate crimes, but their zombie protocol is on point.

“Before booking a hotel room, check for reports of past bedbug issues at the hotel/motel on”

Don’t, if you ever want to travel without fear again. Or if you ever want to drive through New Jersey and Virginia without wanting to take an acid bath after.

“Peel back the bed sheets and check the mattress, running your fingers along the upper and lower seams. Make sure to check the mattress tag: bedbugs often hide there.”

I have absolutely no idea what feeling up your mattress is supposed to accomplish. And I think it’s a conspiracy that it’s illegal to tear off the mattress tag even though it’s a bedbug’s favorite hideaway, apparently.

“Experts recommend removing and examining the headboard if possible. Check for tiny black spots (excrement) that are smaller than poppy seeds. You may also see translucent light brown skins or, in the case of an infestation, live bugs.”

Wait, what? If you are in a hotel room filled with dead skin and excrement, LEAVE. Stop feeling up your mattress and get out.

“If you see powder in the drawers or on the headboard, it is likely that the room has already been treated for bedbugs by an exterminator.”

Better advice: if you are in a hotel room that inspires you to check behind the headboard for bug excrement, and you find strange powder, LEAVE. The chances that it’s bedbug poison and not, say, cocaine or anthrax aren’t worth the continental breakfast.

Jokes aside, bedbugs are awful, and I don’t know if it’s scary or encouraging that Allegheny is taking to them so aggressively so early in the year. But here’s some good news: I heard they haven’t found any mold in Ravine all summer… yet.