Where the Bed Bugs Bite: Reinhardt University in Cherokee County | News
WALESKA, GA -- On the campus of Reinhardt University, a freshman dormitory called Cobb Hall is in a state of upheaval. Its 71 students scattered over the weekend and not by choice. Many are now staying in the gym.
"We're not allowed into any other dorms because we're considered 'infested'," said Kyle Charldon, a freshman who fled Cobb Hall Friday night. "So we can't go anywhere else."
Meanwhile, workers in moon suits are working to make Cobb Hall habitable again. All this is because of an unexpected insect infestation. The culprit is a bloodsucking, nocturnal critter known to scientists as cimex lectalarius.
"It's just a little bug that crawls at night" said sophomore Chris Baker, who's a resident assistant at Cobb.
"Bed bugs actually bite. They're trying to get a blood meal," said exterminator Chuck Tindol, owner of Allgood Pest Control, which is attacking the infestation in Cobb Hall.
Tindol says the bed bugs where likely imported by an unsuspecting student.
"The bed bugs hitchhiked on a backpack or whatever was brought into the room, and that's how populations get started."
The stricken dormitory is getting treatments of steam and insecticide. The belongings of students have been taken to portable containers for separate but equally deadly bed bug-eradication measures. The creatures attack the skin. But at this university, they've also stricken the minds of students.
Charldon says he doesn't have phantom itching: "But everyone else does. Like they're just going down the hallway, and they start itching out of fear because they might have bed bugs."
"Once I mentioned to my floor, 'Oh yeah, we have bed bugs now,' a lot of them said 'Yeah, I'm starting to itch now'," Baker said. "For some people, it was a mental thing, not a real bed bug problem."
Tildon, the exterminator, says there have been abundant unreported bedbug infestations in Metro Atlanta in the last few weeks, providing a bit of economic stimulus for his industry -- and making skin crawl in places like Reinhardt University.