Emily Valerio
August 23rd, 2013

(WQOW) – As parents or students we have a back to school check list and for one local university, a case of the bed bugs has it including an inspection on the to-do list.

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Shane Sanderson, with the Eau Claire County Health Department, says, “The trending with bed bugs, that’s actually been going up. That’s been a national observation. There are a lot of theories behind it, most revolve around increased travel.”

In just over a week, the empty residence halls on UW-Stout’s campus will be filled once again. But before students come back, the university made sure there weren’t any bed bugs nearby.

Scott Griesbach, the Executive Director of Student Life Services for UW-Stout, says, “They come in and they do what’s called a bed bug sweep. So they go through every single one of our residence hall, every single room with a bed bug sniffing dog.”

An incident three years ago has the university taking the extra step. Griesbach says, “It happened right before our spring break and we thought we had taken care of the problem during spring break, but once you get a bed bug in the building it’s very easy for them to spread themselves out. So we did a three-room eradication and that wasn’t determined to be enough, so we had to do about 7 or 8 rooms, and at that point we were able to take care of all the bed bugs.”

It’s a precaution that’s paying off. “The good news is for two years now we have not found any bed bugs,” says Griesbach.

The university even posts a list online showing a certification that all of the dorms have passed inspection. “We want our students to come in and know that they’re coming into an environment that is free of any kind of pests,” explains Griesbach.

The Eau Claire County Health Department says signs of bed bugs can show up differently depending on the person. Sanderson says, “People will generally vary a lot, some people will take one day for the bed bug to show up on their skin, some might take as many as 14 days, and other people it may never show up.”

UW-Stout students head back to school a week from Sunday.

WQOW News 18 also checked in with UW-Eau Claire. The housing department says it cannot think of a case of bed bugs on that campus in the last 40 years.

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WQOW Eau Claire: Local university adds checking for bed bugs to back-to-school to-do list in Sun Prairie, WI

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