Six classrooms at USF are off limits for the next few weeks after students found bed bugs and reported it to university officials. It turns out, the pests are popping up all over the Tampa Bay area.
Robbie McDermott is cramming in his final classes at USF this summer. While studying at the Muma Business Building, he noticed a lot of exterminators and several classrooms closed all because of bed bugs.
"It's a little disturbing, I guess. But we are in Florida, and bugs are around and an issue," McDermott said.
Exterminator Eddie Rodriguez says the name bed bugs can be misleading. While they like to tuck away in mattresses, they're also pretty good hitch hikers. Bed bugs can cling to clothing, bags and skin -- crawling off at any time to infect a new space.
"Anywhere we exist, they can exist. The reason is because they need blood feedings in order to reproduce," said Rodriguez, owner of Big Apple Pest Control in Tampa.
Rodriguez is averaging 10 bed bug calls a month right now. He says if you spot the pests, you've got to call a pro right away. Left untreated, bed bugs can multiply in a hurry.
"One adult can lay two to five hundred eggs. And if it's not taken care of or addressed, then you will have a bad infestation," said Rodriguez.
Robbie McDermott thinks USF did the right thing by bringing in pest control to kill the bed bugs and closing the affected classrooms for the summer session as a precaution.
Experts say the best thing you can do to prevent getting bed bugs is to eliminate clutter and do regular deep cleanings.
If you still get them, call a pest removal company. Be sure to wash any affected fabrics, including bedding, curtains, carpeting, in hot water, and follow with a hot dry for 30 to 60 minutes. That will help ensure all the bugs and eggs are killed off.