U of W prepared to battle bed bugs

Rumours of bed bugs on campus untrue

With bedbugs taking the city by storm, U of W says their mattresses and couches are safe from the crawlers. David Seburn

A rumour has spread that Winnipeg’s bed bug epidemic has reached University of Winnipeg’s campus, infecting everything from the couches in the Bulman Centre to residences in McFeetors Hall.

The good thing is that the rumours are untrue, and there is no reason to be scared of lounging at school, according to the University of Winnipeg’s Community Renewal Corporation.

Campus couches were inspected last month, and residences are inspected twice a term.

“We check quite regularly (for bed bugs),” said Sherri Pchajek, manager of campus living and housing for the U of W’s Community Renewal Corporation. “We have a maintenance guy who does inspections on all the units about twice a term ... There are no bed bugs at McFeetors or (the residences at) Balmoral.”

“Lions Manor is odd, we haven’t had bed bugs in our units but they’re adjacent to some seniors’ apartments who have been infected.”
Pchajek added that the U of W has restrictions as to what kind of furnishings can be brought into university residences and checks for evidence of pests during dorm inspections.

“The onus would be on the student to report any kind of rodent in the unit,” said Pchajek.

We check quite regularly. … There are no bed bugs at McFeetors or (the residences at) Balmoral.

Sherri Pchajek, manager of campus living and housing, U of W’s Community Renewal Corporation

Although bed bugs are not a serious health concern, they can be annoying says Kelly Keith, health communications coordinator at Communications Services Manitoba.

“Bed bugs are not considered a significant public health risk as they are not known to carry or transmit infectious disease of any sort,” Keith said. “There is some risk of allergic reaction or infection due to scratching, however. There is also the potential emotional distress to be considered.”

High traffic seating areas have the potential to rapidly spread the pests, who thrive on human blood. If there was an outbreak in residences, the university would be prepared.

“We would work very closely with a health and safety officer to treat an outbreak and have good relationships with local pest control agencies,” Pchajek said. “We use a company that is certified for cleaning linen for bed bugs, if it does happen we’ll take necessary steps to treat infected rooms.”

The university has no specific budget set aside for pest control, so treatment would have to come out of the maintenance budget.

McFeetors Hall resident Jordan Nickel is confident that his bed won’t be infected.

“I’m not worried about bed bugs in my room because I keep it clean,” he said.

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