Haley Sylvester

Haley Sylvester is from Greenwich, CT and an undergraduate student at the University of Maine. She is studying Management and Marketing with a concentration in International Business and a minor in Professional Writing. She joined the Maine Campus in the spring of 2016 and currently serves as the News Editor.

Several days before the start of the 2017-2018 school year, most students were excited to move into dormitories or into their first off-campus apartments or houses. Moving into dorms or off-campus housing options typically includes hauling furniture and clothes into small spaces that students share with their friends from the end of August to the beginning of May when classes end for the year. Unfortunately for one family, they ran into several uninvited guests when moving off-campus.

The Ross family, natives of South Berwick, told WCSH that when they were moving their daughter into the off-campus housing complex The Reserve, formerly known as The Grove, they took several videos of bugs crawling in a mattress provided by the apartment complex. The Reserve is a complex that provides year-round housing for University of Maine Orono students.

When brought to the attention of The Reserve management, they were informed that the creatures were carpet beetles, not bed bugs, and that they were harmless to humans. The student was provided with a new mattress. The Ross’ told WCSH that the apartment was dirty and that the Reserve paid for a hotel for the student while the apartment was cleaned.

The Ross family was not the only family to encounter such issues, however. The Reserve reportedly had the affected apartments professionally cleaned during the student’s hotel stays. According to WCSH, “The company that manages public relations for the Reserve Apartments sent us a statement saying a pest control service verified that the bugs found were carpet beetles. They say the apartment was cleaned again by a professional cleaning crew, the and the carpets and furniture are being replaced. They also apologized for any inconvenience.”

The University of Maine website offers information about pest control under their “Housing Services” section, including what bed bugs are, what to do and what not to do. However, the information and services offered is only for local residents on campus. The Reserve is a separate entity from the university.

Fourth-year Marketing and Management Information System (MIS) student Jesse McDonald has lived at the Reserve for two years. “While I wasn’t directly affected by the bed bugs, I was a little disturbed that I found out about it through my friends and other residents. It would’ve been nice to know about the situation and what they were doing to resolve it.”

In an article on Scientific American titled “Bed Bug Confidential: An Expert Explains How to Defend against the Dreaded Pests” written by Kate Wong on Jan. 23, 2012, steps are outlined of what bed bugs are and how to handle them.

According to Wong, “An adult bed bug is about the size and shape of an apple seed. If it has not fed recently it will be flattened and brown. If it has fed it will be round in circumference and reddish. Immature bed bugs have a similar appearance to adults, with the smallest being the size of the head of a pin. You can then learn to look for their fecal spots, which can be easier to detect than the bugs themselves.”

She reports to avoid bringing them home, it is crucial to check hotel beds, be cautious bringing used furniture into your home and if you purchase used clothing, wash them on a medium to high cycle immediately.