College relocates student resident due to bed bugs

The postgraduate student found bed bugs in a Botany Bay apartment

College has relocated a student previously residing in Botany Bay to House Eight following the presence of bed bugs in his original accommodation.

Postgraduate student Dylan Coburn Gray reported being severely bitten by bed bugs shortly after moving into his room at Botany Bay. He reported the case to Trinity’s Accommodation Office on a Friday and received notice that action would be taken on Monday.

Speaking to Trinity News, Coburn Gray described College’s response to his report as “gratifyingly serious, but more than a little frustrating”.

“On Monday, [I] was told I’d have to go through a whole quarantine rigmarole – buying temporary clothes to wear while all my stuff was frozen for 48 hours – which struck me as a little much a little late, given I’d had to go back to my family home, wash stuff myself, and potentially infect them with bedbugs too,” said Coburn Gray.

Speaking to Trinity News, Head of Media Relations Caoimhe Ní Lochlainn explained that once bed bugs have been identified, College protocol involves inspecting adjacent rooms and attending to the resident’s belongings. The resident is then relocated to alternative accommodation and the room in question is taken out of service for an extended period, during which time the room is stripped of furnishings and floorings.

College offered Coburn Gray compensation to purchase clothes while his belongings were held in a freezer to eliminate any bed bugs. Coburn Gray enquired as to “whether the money they wanted to give me for temporary clothes could be reallocated to any cleaning/replacements my family might have to make”, as he had already returned to his family home in the interim.

“I was then shuttled between two members of staff who contradicted each other as to whether that would be possible, how long I would have to move everything before I no longer had access to Botany Bay, whether I would have to hoof all my stuff down to the freezers in Goldsmith on my own,” recalls Coburn Gray.

“The lack of straight answers meant I’d no scope to schedule or organise a pal with a car to help me,” says the student, who made several trips from his residence in Botany Bay to the Accommodation Office with his belongings. He later made a further four to five trips from the Accommodation Office to his new apartment in House Eight.

“I feel lucky to have been only inconvenienced; I’m a postgrad, no class hours, my work is in the Arts so I can often rearrange work things at the last moment, my family home is nearby. I could afford to lose an afternoon at no notice,” said Colburn Gray, noting that the process may have caused more difficulties for a student in different circumstances.

Bed bugs are parasitic insects which feed on blood. While they are not known to spread disease, repeated bites can cause irritation to the skin. Itchy, red bumps tend to develop on the skin between one and nine days after receiving a bed bug bite.

In 2014, eight Trinity students were relocated to new accommodation due to an infestation of bed bugs in Goldsmith Hall on Pearse Street.

Pest control company “Rentokil” reported making 14 times more callouts in Ireland last year, compared to two decades previously.

Lauren Boland

Lauren Boland is the current News Editor of Trinity News. She is a Junior Sophister English Literature and Sociology student, and a former Assistant News Editor.