Mount Mercy Treats Apartments After Bed Bugs Found in One Unit

By Diane Heldt & Jillian Petrus, Reporters

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Thirteen students moved back into an on-campus apartment complex at Mount Mercy University Wednesday night following a chemical treatment for bed bugs.

University officials say two roommates living in the building alerted their resident after finding a bed bug in their unit.

"They wanted to take care of the issue, but also wanted us to know, so other students didn't have a concern or issue," said Interim Dean of Students, Jenifer Hanson.

MMU said contracts with a local pest company to handle these situations.

Hanson said dealing with bed bugs is becoming more of an issue at universities across the country. She says it's a good idea for colleges to have a proactive plan in place for getting rid of the bugs. But Hanson said even the best laid plans can fall apart without cooperation from tenants. In this case, she applauds the students for alerting their resident quickly.

"Our students have been really open with us and that makes all the difference in our ability to respond proactively," she said.

MMU officials say they only found one apartment with evidence bugs, but the pest company proceeded to clean every unit in the building. The chemical treatment displaced the thirteen students for about 48 hours.

Randy Barber with Quality Pest Control says treating the entire building is the right move in a multi-unit complex.

"Ninety percent of the rooms don't have insulation between them, so they can just follow the wiring to the next room," Barber says.

According to the pest expert, a treatment can be costly and many companies charge by the hour.

"Most apartments like that ... takes thirty to forty-five minutes, and we charge 160 dollars an hour."

Because MMU contracts with a pest company, their final bill might look a little different.

"To us, expense isn't the important thing," Hanson said. "The important thing is we want our students to feel safe healthy and comfortable in every learning environment."
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