Frequently Asked Questions

The University of Richmond is committed to an effective and organized response to assist students who suspect they might have bed bugs. The University of Richmond has established bed bug procedures and works closely with a licensed pest control service expert.

It is important to know that a bed bug infestation can happen to anyone. Bed bugs have become increasingly common with the number of reported infestations growing exponentially over the past decade. Bed bugs have emerged in greater numbers in the United States, spreading through hotels, apartments, airports, movie theaters and college dormitories, among other places. Bed bugs are great hitchhikers and can travel easily from place to place in luggage and personal belongings. Greater worldwide travel and mobility have contributed to increasing infestations.

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  • What is a bed bug?

    A bed bug is a very small wingless oval-shaped bug with a flat body, approximately the size of a lentil. It looks similar to a tick. Bed bugs are usually active at night. They do not transmit diseases, but they do bite to feed on blood.

  • Where do bed bugs live?

    Bed bugs tend to live in very small spaces, such as:

    • In seams of mattresses
    • Behind bed headboards and bed frames
    • In cracks and crevasses of walls and baseboards
    • In electrical outlets or electronics
    • In furniture and drawers
    • In seams of curtains that touch the floor
  • How do bed bugs get into a resident’s room?

    Bed bugs are nature’s hitchhikers and travel from place to place on personal belongings, such as luggage, backpacks, furniture, boxes, clothing, etc., that have been exposed to bedbugs in another location, such as airports, hotels, and movie theaters. Bed bugs are rarely spread from person-to-person contact.

  • How are bed bugs discovered?

    Bite marks are usually the first sign that bed bugs are present. Small, dark red or black spots on sheets or mattresses are also signs.

  • Why is it important to promptly report the suspicion of bed bugs?

    Bed bugs multiply quite rapidly, increasing the probability that they move to other locations, such as adjoining rooms. Students can also carry bed bugs home with them on breaks, so treating before leaving campus is essential.

  • How does one report a suspected infestation?

    Contact the Office of Residence Life & Housing at 289-8930.

    At night or on weekends, students may go to one of several RA duty offices — Residence Hall No. 3 (formerly Freeman Hall), Gateway Village, and Westhampton Center, — and report the problem to the resident assistant on duty. These offices are open from 8 p.m.–1 a.m., Sunday through Thursday nights, and 8 p.m.–3 a.m., Friday and Saturday nights.

    If a problem occurs outside of duty office hours on nights or weekends, the student should contact the Resident Assistant in his or her building.

    The Resident Assistant will contact the Area Coordinator on call. The Area Coordinator will talk to the student about the University’s procedure for the suspicion of bedbugs, which in most cases will require waiting until the next business day until action is taken. The Area Coordinator will contact custodial services so that an inspection by our pest control service provider can be scheduled for the next business day.

  • Generally, how do we get rid of bed bugs?

    Heat treatment is the most effective way to eliminate bed bugs and their eggs. It has a 95% success rate — nothing is 100% — and that success rate is dependent on the proper preparation of the room prior to the treatment. Pest management professionals say clutter is the biggest challenge to successful treatment, so cleaning up the clutter will allow the heat to do its job.

  • What is heat treatment?
    Hot air is pumped through a large flexible hose into the resident’s room in order to raise the interior air and surface temperatures to 130 degrees, which is well above the effective temperature for killing bed bugs and their eggs. That temperature is maintained for four to six hours to ensure extermination.
  • Specifically, what does the University do to get rid of bed bugs and help those affected?

    The Facilities department contracts with a licensed pest control company to provide heat treatment to the affected room(s).

    Facilities also coordinates temporary housing for student(s) during treatment, including the provision of all linens and a backpack for use during the treatment. Also provided are specific instructions in order that the student(s) prepare their rooms and belongings for the treatment period, and a name and phone number of the Facilities contact person, who is available 24/7 throughout the process.

  • What is the student’s role in this process?

    It’s huge!

    Students are required to promptly report a suspected infestation. Once bed bugs are confirmed, the success of the treatment depends entirely on how well the student(s) have prepared the room. Student(s) are expected to follow all instructions from University officials, and to cooperate fully in the treatment process.

  • How does the University communicate with students about bed bugs?

    The University has posted this information on its website to educate individuals on bed bug prevention and treatment.

    During RA training, Facilities staff will educate the RAs on the prevention and treatment of bed bugs, including the procedures to follow if there is a suspicion of bed bugs. The RAs, in turn, will communicate this information to their students. Additionally, there may be informational posters displayed in the residence halls.