The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


Campus treats bedbug outbreak in residence halls

Bedbugs have emerged in a few of Gannon’s residence halls, the most recent outbreak occurring last week. Christina Findlay, a freshman physician assistant major, has experienced an outbreak of bedbugs in her dorm room.

“I used to live in Wehrle,” Findlay said. “Two rooms – my friends’ and my room – both got bedbugs.”

As standard university procedure, Findlay and her roommate were moved to another building while their room was treated.

“I’m actually in Freeman Apartments right now for two weeks until they can find us room in Finegan,” Findlay said.

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When an outbreak is discovered, Gannon uses a combination of treatments to get rid of the bugs, including both a heat and chemical treatment.

Gary Garnic, associate vice president for campus services, said that Gannon put a lot of research into discovering the best method for eradicating the bedbugs.

“We did a lot of research back in the beginning when these bugs first started showing up,” Garnic said. “We learned that one approach is not necessarily as good as multiple approaches.”

Gannon typically starts the process with a heat treatment. Maintenance Supervisor Josh Eberle said the lethal temperature for bedbugs is 105 degrees Fahrenheit. But Gannon’s maintenance department doesn’t stop there. “We take it up way past that,” Eberle said.

The electric-run heater maintains a steady temperature of 140 degrees for at least four hours, according to Eberle.

“We put sensors throughout the room to monitor the temperatures through the process,” Eberle said. “And that’s all recorded on a computer.”

Garnic said that the heat treatment is the real “secret” to the success of the extermination. He also explained that local exterminators have used Gannon’s methods as a model for their own businesses.

“We did heat treatment before the exterminators actually got into heat treatment,” Garnic said. “They came to study what we were doing in order to get a better understanding of how effective it was.”

Gannon currently has an annual contract with Ehrlich Pest Control. The company works with Gannon’s maintenance staff whenever there is an outbreak on campus.

After the heat treatment is finished, Gannon uses a three-part chemical treatment. The three different chemicals target bedbugs at different stages of life.

“The three chemical treatments treat bedbugs in three different stages of their lives, from active bedbugs to larvae to eggs,” Garnic said. “Any one of those treatments will take care of the bedbug at any stage of its life, if anything’s left alive after the heat treatment.”

But the best defense to any bedbug outbreak involves caution. Bedbugs are most likely to travel on bags and outerwear materials like winter coats. Garnic advised keeping belongings off the floor and preferably hung up.

“When you go to visit somebody, don’t toss your book bag in the corner of the room,” he said.

Garnic also suggested placing coats and purses on hard surfaces instead of carpeted surfaces, such as on a kitchen table instead of a bed or couch.

Bedbugs do not carry any diseases, but still cause a nuisance. Their bites irritate the skin and the extermination process causes students inconvenience.

“It’s not a huge deal,” Findlay said. “You get bit a lot, and that can be annoying. And it’s a hassle having to wash and move everything.”


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