Local News

4-H Club vacates camp after bedbugs found

Posted August 4, 2010 11:37 a.m. EDT
Updated August 4, 2010 3:50 p.m. EDT

— A group of 4-H Club members staying at North Carolina Wesleyan College had to cut their trip short due to bedbugs, school officials said Wednesday.

Nearly 150 students had been staying in Nash residence hall for a 4-H camp for the past week. A few students reported bite marks and bugs in their room to a camp counselor on Monday night.

"Two of my campers came to my room and said that one of the two in the room was itching and saw bugs in her bed," counselor Carolina Brown said.

Brown said they moved the girls to new rooms twice, but the problems persisted.

"We did notice there were bugs on the sheets and on the mattress and crawling around on the floor," she said.

The next morning Brown sent off a sample of the bug and called in exterminators, who confirmed that four rooms had bedbugs.

The campers were supposed to head home on Wednesday but decided to leave Tuesday evening.

Brown said her middle school campers kept a positive attitude and Wesleyan staff was very helpful when they learned of the pests.

"Obviously, they are going to re-inspect all the rooms and treat them," said Sheila Martin, who coordinates camp groups at Wesleyan. "All the furniture has been replaced."

Martin said it appears the bedbug incident was isolated and contained to the four rooms.

"It's happening at five-star hotels. It's just one of those things that has come back," Martin said. "We're learning how to deal with it and deal with it quickly."

Other camps being held at Wesleyan were able to continue operating on campus. 

The dorms will be checked again in the next couple of weeks, Martin said.

The issue is not expected to stop the college's football team from moving into campus residence halls next week or delay the start of classes on Aug. 23, officials said.

Bedbugs have not been a problem at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill or North Carolina State University in Raleigh, school officials said Wednesday.

"We work very closely with Environmental Health and Safety to educate and prevent this from occurring as much as is possible," said Rick Bradley, UNC Housing and Recreation Education assistant director.

Bradley said the housing pest exterminator is trained to look for and eradicate bedbugs at the earliest stages. He conducts regular inspections.

At N.C. State, mattresses are inspected annually for suitability of use but not specifically for bedbugs, according to spokesman Keith Nichols.

If a resident suspects that bedbugs exist in his furniture, the university housing pest control officer does a visual inspection of the mattress, furniture and environment, Nichols said. He then treats accordingly depending on what he finds. Treatment usually involves a high heat application for a sustained period of time.

Nichols added that nearly 75 percent of the mattresses that the university provides to residence halls are made of anti-microbial and anti-bacterial vinyl material.