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Adelphi University reviews bedbug response

Gaby Adia, 18, of Staten Island, left, Katrina

Gaby Adia, 18, of Staten Island, left, Katrina Creeron, 18, of Albany, and Lisa Mullane, 19, of Albertson, are shown in their dorm room in Eddy Hall of Adelphi University in Garden City. The girls have been complaining about bed bugs for five days. (April 5, 2011) Credit: Chris Ware

Adelphi University officials said they plan to review and possibly revise response procedures when bedbugs are reported in a dormitory residence, after three students waited nearly a week before their room and items were treated to eradicate the pests.

Katrina Creeron, 18, said Friday that she and her roommates finally were settling back into their room after she reported a bedbug infestation to campus officials on April 1.

"It's totally bogus," said Creeron, who is from upstate New York, outside Albany. "I had to live in a room for six days with bugs and they didn't get it cleaned."

Adelphi officials said there have been three reported cases of bedbugs this semester in the residence halls.

"While a serious matter, we do not have a widespread problem," university officials said in a statement Friday. "Each instance was contained to one bedbug in each of the three reported rooms, and no bugs were found in adjacent rooms."

Adelphi spokeswoman Lori Duggan Gold confirmed students reported a suspicion of bedbugs on April 1 and that residential life personnel were informed and an exterminator called.

"This happened on a Friday, and you need one day between detection and extermination, and that meant a weekend delay in the case," Duggan Gold said. Meanwhile, the residence life director told the students to bag up their belongings for cleaning, "not realizing there could be a business-day delay," she said.

Creeron and her roommates found they could not retrieve their bagged clothing for several days. And they didn't want to wear the clean clothes until their room had been treated.

"I'm very, very frustrated. My stuff was in trash bags in a storage room a few doors down," said Elisabeth Mullane, 19, from Albertson.

The bedbug report was confirmed Monday when an exterminator brought in a bedbug-sniffing dog. The exterminator returned Tuesday but did not have the proper supplies to treat the infestation. On Wednesday, he came back and treated the room.

Creeron -- who took pictures of bites on her arms and legs -- stayed in the room, while her roommates either went home or stayed with friends.

"We do apologize to the young woman," Duggan Gold said. "Every time we have a situation, we look at what we could have done better."

In the future, she said, "we are going to make sure we don't ask students to pack up materials if there is going to be a delay of any time."

University officials also plan to talk to the exterminator about possible weekend response.

In recent months, the incidence of bedbugs has seen a resurgence. At least two other Long Island campuses have reported isolated cases.

At Stony Brook University, John Sparano, director of operations for campus residences, said there have been three confirmed cases since January.

The affected room was treated the same day and closed off for about four hours, he said.

Hofstra University officials said there was a confirmed case in one dorm room in February. The room was exterminated and cleaned, they said, and there have been no reports since. Last year, two dorm rooms at Hofstra were treated by exterminators for bedbugs, they said.

Officials at SUNY Old Westbury, Long Island University's C.W. Post Campus and New York Institute of Technology did not report any incidents of bedbugs. Farmingdale State University officials did not return a call for comment.

With Jo Napolitano

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