By Alejandro Serrano, city editor
There have been more than 15 bed bug complaints filed to the City of Boston in the Northeastern University (NU) community in the last four years, according to a map compiled by The Boston Globe on Aug. 29.
The map does not identify complainants, however, each dot was placed on the map in accordance with city data.
Senior linguistics major Lydia Gallant said she didn’t know she had bed bugs for approximately two months of dealing with itchy spots on her arms and legs, during the winter of 2015. Gallant lived off campus on Westland Avenue.
“I hadn’t actually seen any bed bugs, so I thought maybe it was allergies or something,” she said. “Then I woke up in the middle of the night [once] and there was one on my pillow and I freaked out and caught it in a bottle.”
Gallant reported the incident to her building manager, who then called an exterminator. She was then instructed to throw out her bed sheets and wash her other belongings in boiling water, Gallant said.
Bed bug cases aren’t as common on campus due to precautionary measures taken by the university, according to university spokesperson Matt McDonald.
“Outside mattresses and furniture are not permitted in on-campus residences at any time,” he said in an email to The News on Sept. 1. “Periodic health and safety inspections by Residential Life staff helps to ensure that unapproved items are not present in residence halls. Reports of bedbug cases by Northeastern students—whether they live on or off campus—are rare, and often turn out to be dermatitis and not related to bedbugs.”
Although rare, there are still some cases – last winter third-year chemical engineering major Amy Zhao and her roommate Abby Moreton had a case of the small parasites in their West Village F apartment.
“I was OK, but my roommate was very stressed,” said Zhao.
Moreton woke up with a bite on her arm and went to UHCS, who told her bed bugs might be a possibility. Then the two contacted administration, which took care of the matter quickly.
“We were pretty happy with the [university’s] service,” said Zhao. “They got back to us within the same day […] I don’t even know where the bed bugs came from; luckily it didn’t spread.”
Zhao and Moreton’s case of bed bugs dissolved after NU’s intervened and after the roommates cleaned their bed sheets and clothes.
McDonald said he did not know the exact amount of bed bug cases that the university has had in the last four years.
The city received 427 complaints last year – 29 more than in 2014 and almost 100 more than 2013. City officials discouraged from picking up furniture off the street and city workers slapped orange stickers warning of bed bugs on furniture, according to The Boston Globe’s Aug. 29 report.
The Northeastern area had approximately the same amount of complaints as the surrounding Boston University area. The greatest concentration of complaints were in North Brighton and Allston, Massachusetts with more than 30 reported cases.
In case of any doubt, it is best for students to tell administration if they suspect they have a bed bug infestation, McDonald said.
“Students should contact their Resident Assistant or Residence Director should they have any questions or concerns,” he said.
Photo by Alejandro Serrano