5 Cases Of Bed Bugs At Missouri State University

5 Cases Of Bed Bugs At Missouri State University


Doug Magditch  dmagditch@kspr.com


Sleep tight, while you can… bed bugs are booming. In Springfield, some exterminators are booked for weeks.

The bugs are showing up in hotels, apartments, and dorm rooms.

So far this semester, Missouri State University has had five cases of bed bugs in the dorms. That’s a low number, considering the campus has 4,000 rooms, but the university says it’s five too many. Students we spoke with agree.

“This is the first i’ve heard of it,” says Will Beshore.

“That’s not good. I hope people clean their stuff,” says Ryan Callender.

MSU students have heard of bed bugs, they just haven’t heard of them on campus. In three weeks, the dorms have already seen five cases.

“Really? That’s disgusting,” says Brittney Caravella.

Campus officials say they expect more.

“It’s a result of people traveling all over the globe,” says Gary Stewart, Director of Residence Life and Services.

Stewart says this is the worst he’s seen the bugs in his nearly three decades on campus.

“I heard the nursery rhyme, but it was just kind of a myth or a fairy tale,” says Stewart.

The campus is hoping students will report the bugs before an infestation gets worse.

“We’ve got to be aware. When we are aware, we’ve got to address it,” says Stewart.

The first step is to make sure the bugs are there.

“We ask that they put this under the corners of their beds,” says Jen Cox, Asst. Director of Facilities and Operations at Missouri State, of sticky sheets.

The goal is to catch the bugs, so there’s proof they’re biting. Humans can only see bed bugs about 30% of the time.

That’s where Patches comes in. She’s trained to sniff them out.

“She only eats when she smells the odor of bed bugs,” says Mark Lillis, Patches’ owner and handler. Lillis runs KC Insect Detection Dog, LLC.

“The early detection is the key,” says Lillis.”

“[She]’s a pretty little eager dude, and [she]’s got quite a job,” says Stewart.

He’s used Patches a number of times, to make sure the bugs are gone.

Once the next step is killing the bugs.

The EPA says chemicals alone can’t treat a bed bug infestation. It recommends using heat. 113 degrees for one hour should kill the bugs.

Schendel Pest Services has a machine that can heat the room to 135 degrees.

“Up to now, we’ve not missed a day that our heat machines have not been busy,” says Bruce Johnson, sales manager at Schendel.

Its machine is booked for more than two weeks.

“We’ll make sure that everything gets hot,” says operator Edward Meis.

… but it isn’t cheap.

Missouri State pays around a $1,000 per treatment. Stewart says it does the trick.

“The only way to deal with it is to cook them,” says Stewart.

That’s good news to students who are just now hearing the bad news… bed bugs are on campus.

“It’s kind of gross,” laughs Caravella.

A tip to college students: be sure to carefully check your bags before you bring them into the dorms. If the weather’s hot, you can leave your bags in your trunk until the temperature in there gets up to 133 degrees.

Missouri State is planning a training session Thursday for residence assistants, hall staff, and health center workers. It wants to update students and staff about detection methods and prevention techniques.

So, have other Springfield (MO) dorms seen bed bug cases? We called Baptist Bible College, Central Bible College, Evangel University, and Drury University. Drury and Baptist Bible College say they haven’t. At newstime, we hadn’t gotten calls back from Central Bible College or Evangel.