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Oklahoma State University

Bed Bugs: Know what they are and how to avoid them!


Are bed bugs in Stillwater? Bed bugs have seen a resurgence in the last few years. They are commonly found throughout the globe in residence halls, motels, movie theaters, offices, and private housing. OSU has been extremely proactive in its treatment program, and as a result we have a very low occurrence and reoccurrence rate.

Can I get them? The answer is we don’t know, but EVERYONE is at risk. They do not discriminate, and they are not related to an individual’s cleanliness, hygiene, nationality, social status, etc. Bed bugs are an unfortunate reality in the same way flies, mosquitoes, and spiders are an unfortunate reality.

What do bed bugs look like?Magnify glass close-up view of Bedbug, showing red-brown body on white fabric texture They are small, only about 1/4 of an inch in length. Their color is usually reddish-brown, though they are sometimes a much lighter straw color. They are similar in size to an apple seed or a lady bug. They generally feed when people are sitting calmly or sleeping, and they particularly enjoy feeding at night. They tend to be found around places where people recline or sleep, and they generally don’t venture too far away from such areas.

Can bed bugs hurt me? When a bed bug bites, it releases a salivary fluid that can irritate the skin and cause itching or an allergic reaction. They are not known to transmit any blood-borne illnesses or disease.

How can I prevent getting bed bugs?

  • Traveling: When you travel, check luggage, clothing, and bedding both on the trip, and upon your return home. While you are traveling, be sure to check mattress seams for signs of the bugs or small dark spots on the mattress. When you return home, put all of your clothes in the dryer for 20-30 minutes right out of your suitcase. The heat will kill any bugs that may be alive.

  • Living Space: Keep your living space clean and reduce clutter to eliminate any bed bug hiding spots. Regularly vacuum crevices and upholstery. Pull your bed away from the wall or other furniture and tuck in sheets and blankets to avoid contact with the floor or walls. Do not bring infested items into your living space. Be extremely cautious and thoroughly inspect any used, second hand or freebie furniture and clothing. If the mattress does not already have a mattress cover, be sure to use a mattress cover that encases the entire mattress.
  • Guests: Be cautious when inviting friends over to sleep or visit in your living space. Also, be cautious about where you spend your time.

How do I know if I have bed bugs? If you suspect you have bed bugs, the first thing to do is call the Facilities Management Office at 405-744-8510 or the Action Desk (405) 744-7154 and report it. Be sure to include your room number, hall, name, and cell phone number. You should also notify your hall staff member (Resident Assistant, Residence Director, or Hall Coordinator). OSU Pest Control will contact you directly and set up an inspection.

OSU Housing and Residential Life can provide a temporary living space during the inspection and treatment if your unit is found to be positive for bed bugs. You may also elect to remain in your unit during the inspection and treatment process. Until the unit can be inspected and treated, please limit your movement to other living spaces, lounges, off campus housing, etc. It is important to try and contain the situation as much as possible.

Treatment: If you are found to have the bugs, Pest Control will schedule a thermal treatment as soon as possible. They will also treat the unit/room with a chemical spray prior to heat treatment. There are very specific instructions for all residents of the living space to follow EXACTLY for the treatment to be successful.