Bed bugs take up residence in ASU dorm in downtown Phoenix

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PHOENIX – There are some new residents at one of Arizona State University’s dormitories, and they are not welcome.

ASU officials confirmed that bed bugs were found at one of the dorms that’s part of the downtown Phoenix campus. The infestation appears to be contained to a single room on the fifth floor of Taylor Place’s tower two.

Bed bugs are reddish-brown in color and are about the size of an apple seed, so they are visible to the naked eye. They feed on human blood and are known for how quickly they spread.

Pest-control experts performed a five-hour treatment on the room Monday. During that time, the two students who live there were moved. They have since been allowed to return.

Because of the main way bed bugs spread – through contaminated furniture and clothing – exterminators advised the university against putting the students up in another room in the dorm during the treatment.

Bed-bug bites can cause skin rashes and trigger allergic reaction. While bed begs were mostly eradicated in the 1940s, they reappeared in 1995. Infestations have increased in recent years.

Curtis Whalen of Blue Sky Pest Control said the bed-bug problem in Arizona has been growing for more than a decade.

"A lot of times, people don't realize it's actually occurring or they don't believe it," Whalen said during an appearance on "Good Morning! Arizona" in September. "That's enabled it to spread even quicker."

While it’s not clear what sparked the resurgence, some say increased international travel and the more common exchange of secondhand furnishings in homes could be contributing factors.

Attracted to their prey by carbon dioxide and warmth, bed bugs are generally most active at night and can feed unnoticed on their hosts.

Bed bugs tend to be resistant to common pesticides so specialized treatments are usually required to deal with the problem.

Whalen said encasements for your mattress and box spring can go a long way in preventing a bed-bug infestation. There are encasements designed specifically to protect you from bed bugs.

Reducing clutter can also be helpful.

"The key to bed bugs is early detection, " Whalen explained. "If you can declutter your house, you're more likely to find them early, and you're going to give them fewer places to hide."

If you suspect you have bed bugs, you might consider investing in a monitoring device.