Bed bugs at OACC 38, October 6-8, 2017
Hammond Camp has found bedbugs in three cabins again, for the second year in a row. What lousy luck, for both them and us. But we’re going to cope, just like we did last year, and not let this nuisance sidetrack or ruin OACC.
These three cabins will be treated with steam heat Oct. 4, so the bugs should be dead when we arrive. None of the main buildings – dining hall, chapel, bathrooms, pavilion – were affected. The rest of the cabins will be monitored for bed bugs using a device that attracts and traps them using C02. (The camp assures us that no chemicals will be used this year.)
The expense of bedbug treatment, two years running, is a financial strain for Hammond Mill Camp. The camp is a valuable resource for us as well as many local groups, and we want to continue to support them during this difficult situation.
So, what will you do?
Please don’t stay home! Last year, many people said ‘no big deal, we’ll go ahead with a cabin.’ This writer (Denise Vaughn) was one of them, which worked out fine. As far as we know, no one encountered or transported bedbugs last year.
If you feel OK about staying in a cabin, then great. See below for our suggestions on how to be super careful to not take home any hitchhikers.
However, if you’d rather not take any chances with the cabins, we totally understand, so we want you to be aware of all the lodging alternatives.
On any given year, some OACC participants choose to camp in tents, or get a motel room in West Plains, or use the camp’s RV hookups, or just come Saturday only (the heart of our program), or simply go home at night if they live nearby. All those options are available again this year, and we can expand on some.
- Tenting. Everybody, please consider bringing an extra tent, air mattress, or bed padding to share. This will really help if someone arrives who hasn’t heard about the bugs.
- Indoor campout. We could have a group camp-out in the chapel – on the floor and on pews. Again, be sure to bring good padding or an air mattress. Don’t forget the air pump. We did not end up needing this option last year, but it could be handy if weather is rainy.
- Houseguests. Nearby folks, consider inviting friends to come stay in your guest room, couch or floor. Your hospitality could really help people who cannot camp out.
Please let us know whether you can bring extra camping equipment or if you can host guests. RV spaces are limited, so reservations are wise. Contact Registration Coordinator Denise Vaughn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We probably won’t reach everyone prior to OACC, so please tell your friends – anyone staying overnight at OACC – so they can take precautions and make an informed decision about where to sleep during OACC.
Thanks in advance for your understanding and perseverance. Let’s make this OACC as comfortable as possible for all, and memorable for the great fun and program, not the bedbugs.
OACC Coordinating Team,
Denise Henderson Vaughn, Sasha Daucus, David Haenke
Bed Bug prevention practices at OACC
If you’ve read the above, have decided to stay in a cabin, but still have some concerns, here are some suggestions. This might be overkill, but if you do this you will be pretty well assured of not taking any bugs home, even if they are still present (we think they won’t be, but cannot guarantee).
1) Leave everything in your car that is not truly needed in your cabin.
2) Bring some hangers or hooks and use them to keep things off the floor, even your backpack. Don’t put your stuff (other than bedding) on the beds. Do anything you can to make your stuff unavailable to bugs that can only crawl.
3) Bring big plastic trash bags. After use, put your dirty clothes and bedding into the bag and close up tight. Following OACC, take it immediately to a laundromat and run it through the dryer on high (usually 135-145 F) for at least 20 minutes, whether or not you wash it. Home dryers are not as hot, so they will take longer. Here’s info on killing bedbugs with dryers.
Last year’s situation – OACC 37
Hammond Camp Bed Bug Background
After a group used Hammond Camp a month prior to OACC 37, a family that had stayed reported exposure to bedbugs in the cabins. Camp staff hired a professional exterminator who found bed bugs in three cabins, but not in the other nine cabins. On September 23, 2016, the company heat treated those three cabins, and the other nine were treated preventatively by an insecticide.
The insecticide was Alpine WSG Water Soluble Granule Insecticide, produced by the BASF Corporation with the active ingredient Dinotefuran.
After reading the BASF instruction sheet and the EPA’s Safety Data Sheet, OACC volunteers learned that the product is approved for indoor use in schools, hospitals and other residential settings. Label instructions warn not to use it directly on mattresses. The pest control applicator told us that he did treat the edges of the mattresses only (not tops, bottoms, and sides) and he believes this is a standard and necessary practice. We could neither verify nor refute his assertion.
It appears that Alpine WSG is an appropriate chemical, and that – other than the questionable mattress application – it was used in accordance to directions, a full two weeks before OACC 37.
The camp director put dispensers for peppermint and lemon oil essential oils (not standard air fresheners) in each cabin. There is some opinion, shared by the pest control person, that these oils may have some capacity to repel bed bugs.