Bedbug infestation breaks out in Taylor Place, forces students to temporarily evacuate rooms

A Taylor Place resident experienced an outbreak of bedbugs in her dorm room Sunday. Taylor Place management provided an insecticide treatment and laundering services after the incident. (Stephanie Snyder/DD)

Taylor Place management sent a resident a document confirming an outbreak of bedbugs on Monday.

Korey Kaczur, a journalism freshman living at Taylor Place, said she saw bugs and eggs on her sheets and comforter Sunday morning while doing laundry.

Kaczur said she had noticed bugs in her room a few weeks before spring break but did not notify her community assistant until Sunday. She then received a document on Monday with instructions to evacuate her room for an insecticide treatment scheduled for the next day.

The document also required Kaczur and other residents affected by the bedbug outbreak to wash all bedding, linens and clothes, and to discard any bedding, like foam mattress pads, that may have been infested. Kaczur did not receive reimbursement for the mattress pad she had to discard, which was crawling with bedbugs.

Kaczur was also told there were no vacant rooms available for her to sleep in after she left her own room. Her mother come to Phoenix on Sunday specifically to help with the bedbug issue, so Kaczur stayed in her hotel room that night. The next night, a community assistant was able to let her into a vacant room.

“Thankfully my mom was visiting me,” Kaczur said. “Nothing would have been handled properly had she not been in town, and I could not have worked out this issue by myself. My mom is not pleased.”

According to the document given to Kaczur, a laundering service was provided to students affected by the incident. Students had the opportunity to drop off their laundry on Tuesday to be washed by a professional cleaner. Those who chose the service will not be able to receive their belongings until after 2 p.m. on Thursday.

Kaczur said she chose not to use the professional service since she had some items that she did not want to shrink or become damaged. She said she was not reimbursed for the money she spent cleaning the rest of her clothes.

Kaczur borrowed clothes from friends and slept in a vacant room without bedding. She said she stayed up late at night to pack and unpack her personal belongings, and that the incident caused her schoolwork to suffer.

“I am so behind on my homework, it’s ridiculous,” Kaczur said, adding that she missed some classes this week to clean for the exterminators.

Following the treatment to exterminate bedbugs, students were allowed to use their rooms but were discouraged from cleaning the floors and carpeted areas for as long as possible, according to the document given to Kaczur.

Dan Paxton, an administrator for Arizona Exterminating Company, confirmed that being in a room shortly after an insecticide treatment is completely safe.

“Chemical treatments are harmless to humans,” Paxton said. “The strength of the concentration in chemical treatments is designed to kill bedbugs; therefore, people should not be affected by it.”

Paxton said bedbugs sometimes “hitch a ride” by attaching themselves to a person’s clothes or backpack, which could have started the infestation.

If a person detects bedbugs, Paxton said it is important to look for bite marks on the skin and signs of fecal spots on bedding. If bedbugs are present, notify an exterminator and put all clothing and linens in plastic bags and wash the items immediately.

Nathaniel Fish, director of operations at Taylor Place, said he could not yet comment publicly on the situation or confirm how many residents had been affected by the bedbugs.

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Correction: April 6, 2011

An earlier version of this story inaccurately stated why Korey Kaczur’s mother was in Phoenix on March 27, 2011. Kaczur’s mother did not happen to be in town when the bedbug incident occurred but rather visited her daughter specifically to assist her with the situation.