If residents think there are bedbugs in the unit, it is very important to contact building staff immediately by submitting a service request and using the contact information found in the Building Info tab in the Housing Portal.

Columbia University is committed to addressing infestations quickly and effectively and takes these matters very seriously. 

Below are suggestions that may help to avoid bringing bedbugs into an apartment:

  • Do NOT pick up any used furniture off the street, even if it appears to be in good condition.
  • Do NOT buy used mattresses or any other used furniture.
  • When returning home from traveling, immediately wash the clothes brought on the trip. Use the highest water temperature possible, and the highest dryer setting. Other sensitive items can be placed in the dryer on high heat for 20 minutes. Vacuum all luggage and then place in a plastic bag tied tight until needed. If there is no opportunity to do this immediately, store all luggage and contents in a tightly sealed plastic bag until all items can be properly cleaned.
  • Vacuum regularly. Use a HEPA filter vacuum and change the bag often. Vacuum all moldings, bed frames, mattresses, cracks and crevices, curtains, window panes and exterior and interior furniture. Vacuum once a week, or at the very least, once a month. Cleaning is a must! On a regular basis, wash all floors, moldings, furniture, etc., with soap containing essential oils (i.e.: Murphy's oil). It is important to inspect and clean behind all hanging picture frames as well. Avoid clutter whenever possible.
  • If residents do happen to get bedbugs, do not attempt self-treatment. Contact building staff immediately. This will eradicate the situation sooner and avoid infestation.
  • Do not be embarrassed to notify one’s workplace, school or other locations frequented that have bedbugs. This will allow those notifed to inspect their premises and help prevent the opportunity to bring bedbugs back into the home after treatment.
  • Stay educated! Don't wait for a problem to arise before learning more. There is a great deal of information available regarding the history of bedbugs, and proactive ways of preventing them and dealing with an infestation. For more information, please review Preventing and Getting Rid of Bedbugs Safely.