Bed Bug Response

Last Revised: Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Responsible University Administrator: Vice Chancellor, Business & Finance

Responsible University Office: Facilities Maintenance & Operations

Policy Contact: Jim Jackson


This policy applies to all students, faculty, and staff at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL).

Policy Statement

Bed bugs do not carry disease; however, their bites can cause allergic reactions and secondary bacterial infections from scratching. Bed bugs are not a sign of poor personal hygiene or cleanliness. Bed bugs can multiply quickly, so it is important to deal with them quickly and effectively.

Roles and Responsibilities

Student Residents of UNL Housing are responsible for making timely notifications to the residence hall/complex facilities office whenever unhealthy or unsafe conditions are observed, including those potentially associated with a bed bug sighting. Students are also responsible for following specific response guidance designed to correct or mitigate any such conditions.

Student Residents of Greek Housing or non-UNL Housing are responsible for making timely notifications to their landlord or Greek house officer whenever unhealthy or unsafe conditions are observed, including those potentially associated with a bed bug sighting. Students are also responsible for following specific response guidance designed to correct or mitigate any such conditions.

University Housing Officials are responsible for responding in a timely manner to complaints or concerns of unhealthy or unsafe conditions by students or other tenants, including those potentially associated with a bed bug sighting. They are also responsible for contacting a local contractor to assist in evaluation the existence of bed bugs and arranging for appropriate treatment and related follow-up, making timely notifications to FMO's Service Desk, and providing timely feedback to students. If needed, they are also responsible for assisting in the identification of temporary alternate housing for students.

Building Maintenance Reporters (BMR) are responsible for receiving and relaying information about possible bed bug sightings and all other building-related issues on campus. In the case of a suspected bed bug sighting, the BMR will immediately notify the Facilities Service Desk.

UNL Facilities Maintenance and Operations (FMO) has the primary responsibility for interfacing between BMRs, department and college staff, and pest control operators. In addition, they will often be the first response team to inspect areas after reports of infestations and will assist in helping verify the presence of actual bed bugs. If pest control treatments or other follow-up actions are needed, they will also be coordinated through the BMRs. FMO is also responsible for notifying applicable campus officials and others as necessary.

Medical Providers, generally in the University Health Center, may be the first individuals to receive information about a possible infestation of bed bugs on campus after a medical examination of an affected individual. In addition to providing direct medical care, these medical providers will recommend to the individual that they notify their residence hall/complex front desk or complex facilities office, their Greek house officer, or landlord.

Pest Control Operator(s) will be selected by FMO or University Housing. Pest control operators must be licensed and possess applicable certifications for handling and applying pesticides or have obtained appropriate training for handling bed bug sniffing dogs or performing other extermination techniques.

Reason for Policy

This policy is designed to control and prevent the presence of bed bugs in UNL student residences, workspaces, and other campus buildings, and to inform individuals regarding UNL's response, and advice on specific things to do and not do to in regards to the presence of bedbugs.


Individuals who suspect bed bugs in their workspace or other campus buildings should immediately notify the building's Building Maintenance Reporter (BMR). Occupants should try to gather a sample of the suspected insects in a sealed plastic bag, if possible.

Individuals with a suspected bed bug bite should arrange for medical consultation, either through the University Health Center or their personal healthcare provider. If consistent with bed bug bites, the individual should communicate with their BMR so their workspace can be evaluated.

The BMR FMO's Service Desk (402-472-1550). FMO's Building Systems Maintenance (BSM) will visit the potentially infested location, speak with the affected occupant(s), and retrieve and evaluate samples if possible.

If not bed bugs, FMO will determine if any pest control services are needed or if other follow-up is warranted.

If a presence of bed bugs is confirmed, IPM’s pest control staff will inspect the area(s) to determine the best treatment method. If chemical or high-heat treatments are used, you will be notified prior to treatment. Clean your workspace. Get books, papers, and other items off the floor. Discard unnecessary items in sealed plastic bags. Bags will be made available from FMO. Wash your clothes. Dry them in a hot dryer for at least 60 minutes. After laundering, put your cleaned items in sealed plastic bags. Clothing items that cannot tolerate high heat can be dry-cleaned instead. IPM staff will document affected locations and notify the department chair and BMR as to the location and status of the affected area. It is usually possible for students, faculty, or staff to remain in their workspace while treatments are taking place. After treatment, your workspace will be inspected several times up to two weeks after treatment. Encourage others in your work area to be aware of practices that help avoid the spread of bed bugs. Bed bugs are an unpleasant nuisance and they will not go away on their own. With your help, we will be able to eliminate them.

Flowchart of UNL's process

On-Going Awareness
Members of the university community will be provided with information about bed bugs and UNL’s response procedure through a variety of means.

This includes periodic announcements, email messages, placement of this program, and educational materials on this website.

Bed Bug Avoidance Advice to Travelers

Before Traveling

  • Avoid using soft fabric luggage if possible, and instead use hard-surfaced luggage
  • Wrap clothing inside plastic bags before packing

Upon Arrival

  • Keep luggage off floors
  • Do not unpack - remove clothing as needed
  • Keep luggage closed when not in use
  • Hang clothing on rails in bathroom/shower rail
  • Inspect bed areas for brown droppings or presence of actual bugs and contact host, concierge, or other lodging officials if any are found.

Before Leaving

  • Inspect your luggage, possessions, and clothing carefully
  • Repack into plastic bags, if possible

Upon Return

  • On arrival back home, unpack luggage away from your own bedding and sleeping areas.
  • Inspect carefully while unpacking. 
  • Even if no evidence of any insects, launder as soon as possible drying on high heat for 60 minutes. Clothing items that cannot tolerate high heat can be dry-cleaned instead.
  • If you find evidence of bed bugs on non-clothing items, sealing the item in plastic and freezing for at least 4 days is generally effective at killing most bedbugs. Don't however freeze electronic items! Electronics should be vacuumed repeatedly and stored in a sealed, clear plastic bag until no further evidence of insects.

Additional Contacts

Facilities Service Desk - Questions


University Health Center - Student Counseling



  • This policy was reformatted in 2020 and duplicative information was removed.