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FAQ on Bed Bugs

IMPORTANT INFORMATION AND RESPONSE IN NYU HOUSING

In the past few years, there has been a resurgence of reports of bedbugs in New York City – with complaints from luxury apartments, 5-star hotels, and even a theater on Broadway among them.   Each year, the University receives reports of possible cases of bedbugs.  The majority of reports have been found to be negative.   Less than 10% of the reports have resulted in a need for treatment.  The University recognizes its responsibility to investigate every report, take all possible precautions to prevent the spread of an infestation, and to eradicate any confirmed problems.  It is understandable that the thought of having bed bugs can be a stressful situation but be assured that the University will address a student’s concerns swiftly.   To effectively accomplish these objectives,cooperation is critically important.  The University needs to partner with students in adhering to the proper protocol.

HAS NYU EXPERIENCED THE KIND OF PROBLEM WITH BED BUGS THAT HAS BEEN DESCRIBED IN THE NEWS RECENTLY?No.  We are aware of the public concern and are monitoring accordingly, but we have not seen the kind of infestation that has been reported generally in New York City. The vast majority of reports about possible bed bug incidents turn out — upon inspection by one of our licensed pest control specialists — not to be true.

WHAT DOES A BED BUG BITE FEEL AND LOOK LIKE?
Most bed bug bites are initially painless, but later turn into large, itchy skin welts.  These welts do not have a red spot in the center like flea bites.

ARE BED BUGS DANGEROUS?
Although bed bugs are a nuisance, they are not known to spread disease.  However, if a student is concerned about insect bites, whether or not they are from bed bugs, they can call the Student Health Center at 212-443-1000 to make an appointment.

HOW DO I KNOW IF A ROOM IS INFESTED WITH BED BUGS?
It can be difficult to know for certain.  Often people notice itchy skin welts, see the bed bugs themselves, notice small bloodstains from crushed insects, or see dark spots associated with their presence.  However, it is often hard to see them because they hide in or near beds, other furniture, and in cracks.  Favored hiding spots include bed frames, mattresses and box springs; for that reason, we rely on licensed pest control specialists to make a determination, and one is dispatched whenever a report is made of possible case of bed bugs.

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I THINK THERE MAY BE A PROBLEM WITH BED BUGS?
First, don’t panic.  Many insect bites look similar; the large majority of reports are determined not to involve bed bugs.  Moreover, although bed bugs can be annoying, they can be battled safely and successfully if you adopt a well-considered strategy.   Mattresses or other items suspected of being infested should NOT be out in hallway or other common areas as this may spread infestation.

You should contact the Facilities and Construction Management Client Services Center through the work request system, by email: contactcsc@nyu.edu or phone: 212-998-1001.   Notify the staff at your Residence Hall Resource Center as well.

Reducing clutter can limit hiding places for bed bugs.  If you see a bug and can capture it on a piece of clear scotch tape (uncrushed), it will assist the exterminator in determining what pest is in your room.  Should it turn out that there are bed bugs, we have an established protocol that involves extermination and a set of specific steps for residents to follow.  This process requires a number of steps and significant cooperation from all occupants of the room or suite.

For further information/resources:

New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

WebMD: Don't Lose Sleep Over Bed Bugs

 

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