Students discovered a positive case of bed bugs in their room in Gray Court last week.

Sophia Bruce, sophomore, and her roommate found a bug on one of their beds late at night on Sunday, Nov. 12, Bruce said.

“My roommate put it in a tissue and brought it to the bathroom,” Bruce said. “She was like ‘You have to burn it,’ because she thought it was a tick originally.”

Bruce had previously discovered bites on her arm and foot, but thought they were mosquito bites, she said.

“I looked up bed bugs, and it looked exactly like them, and I looked at the bites and they looked like mine,” Bruce said.

Bruce and her roommate went to their resident assistant for guidance, Bruce said.

“Our RA told us to go dry our sheets, because that would kill them," Bruce said. “And then that’s when we found a few more in the mattress pad.”

After Bruce contacted facilities Monday morning, pest control searched the room and determined that there were bed bugs, Bruce said.

“They sent us this huge email with all these instructions we had to do,” Bruce said. “I took everything that I needed for Thanksgiving. I had to dry everything on super high heat. I put clean clothes in a plastic bag, showered and put those clothes on and immediately left my room.”

Bruce and her roommate moved out of Gray and into a room in Lora Robins Court, Bruce said.

“I guess it’s like a quarantine room,” Bruce said. “There’s a spare room with two beds and they provide sheets.”

The University of Richmond has established new bed bug procedures and works with a licensed pest control service, Allison Steele, manager of custodial and environmental services, said in an emailed statement.

“The way that they treat the room is you put everything in the middle and spread it all out, and they make it really hot, like 130 degrees or something,” Bruce said. “And it supposedly kills all the bugs.”

Facilities is also providing Bruce and her roommate with new furniture for their room in Gray.

“They’re replacing it all for us, piece by piece, which is so nice,” Bruce said.

The pest control service inspected all residential rooms and areas this summer, Steele said.

“Prior to student arrival, all residence halls, apartments and campus houses were found to be free of bed bugs,” Steele said. “However, we know that bed bugs are hitchhikers and it is possible they can travel with students back to their room.”

This was the first positive bed bug test of the school year, Steele said.

Bruce and her roommate live in a suite, meaning that their double room is connected to another double room by a bathroom.

“If a room is found to be positive for bed bugs by our pest control provider, the connecting room will be inspected as well,” Steele said. “For this case, the connecting room did not show any current evidence of bed bugs.”

Neither the rest of Bruce’s hall nor the rest of Gray was inspected for bed bugs, Bruce said.

Anthony Isenhour, sophomore, lives two doors down from Bruce.

“I heard about the bed bugs when they were in 8:15 and telling someone else,” Isenhour said.

After beg bugs are found in a room and the entire suite is checked, facilities shares the results of the inspection with the residence life and housing team, Steele said.

“We work closely with them to determine appropriate communication,” she said.

Someone told Isenhour that the bed bugs had not spread to the rest of the suite, so Isenhour was not overly worried, he said.

“I’m pretty sure I don’t have them, but it’d be nice if they at least checked the whole wing as a precaution, because they’re so close,” Isenhour said.

Despite the situation, Bruce expressed her thankfulness for facilities and Steele’s help throughout the process.

“They’ve been really great and flexible and have been super responsive,” Bruce said.

Although Bruce said she didn't know how the bed bugs had entered their room, she said she partly blamed the situation on Gray’s old and dilapidated state.

“Gray is just gross, and so many people live there,” Bruce said. “It hasn’t been renovated in so long and the furniture is from the 70s or 80s. There’s mold everywhere and the walls are paper thin.”

Bruce hopes that her situation will send a message that Gray is in need of a renovation, she said.

“I hope that it serves as a wake-up call for housing that, even though this kind of thing is inevitable, I’m sure it could happen in every dorm, that Gray is in dire need of renovation,” she said.

Contact news editor Jocelyn Grzeszczak at jocelyn.grzeszczak@richmond.edu.

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