University removes bed bugs from Sutherland Hall

By Michael Macagnone

Pitt found a minor bed bug problem in two dormitories at the University last week and has… Pitt found a minor bed bug problem in two dormitories at the University last week and has cleaned the affected rooms.

Initially, Pitt had reports of three rooms with bedbugs at Pitt: two in Sutherland Hall East and one in Lothrop Hall, Pitt spokesman John Fedele said. He said that the number of bugs was minimal but did not provide a specific figure.

Fedele said that a part of Sutherland Hall’s first floor was shut down for cleaning on Thursday, after a bed bug was found on a chair in Pitt police’s substation.

The University inspected Sutherland Hall East and found an additional 28 rooms with signs of the bugs, although none were visible. All of the rooms with bugs have since been cleaned, and Fedele said that Pitt will continue precautionary treatment.

Signs of the bugs include exoskeletons in the bed or the bugs themselves in folds of the bedding. An infested area might also have a musty smell to it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Guillermo Cole, spokesman for the Allegheny County Health Department, said that his office has received an increasing number of calls about bed bugs in recent years.

He said that while it is possible to handle the bugs in a single unit residential setting, it’s far more difficult to treat them in an apartment building or dormitory. “Then, it is time to bring in the professionals,” he said.

According to the CDC’s website, bed bugs are parasitic insects that feed on humans and animals while they sleep. They are between one and seven millimeters long, flat and cannot fly.

The website said the insects are an inconvenience but do not carry diseases.

No one in other residence halls had reported problems with bed bugs, and Fedele encouraged students to report suspected bed bugs quickly so that the University can deal with them.