Students at St Catherine’s have become victims of an infestation of blood-sucking bed bugs that allegedly appeared during the summer.The invasion of parasites has forced undergraduates to vacate their rooms for over two weeks, forcing them to remove their rooms as pest control services fumigate infected areas.Four finalists and two freshers, all living in the same staircase, were forced to leave after students received bites from the vermin. Experts were called in to sanitise the rooms and college housekeeping staff had to assist in washing and dry-cleaning their bed sheets and clothing in an effort to eradicate the bugs.Students allege that the college has known about an infestation since the summer vacation, when visitors were staying in the rooms. They say the College promised to remove the pests at the time, but when students complained of bites and irritation at the beginning of term, it emerged that fumigation had not been sufficiently thorough.One student, who wished to remain anonymous, criticised the College’s actions in dealing with the initial problem, saying, “Someone spoke to James Bennet, the Bursar, about what was going on but he tried to tell her it could be anything from fleas brought in from home to meningitis. Another person complained but when her room was checked she was told there was nothing there.“It was only after further complaints that all the rooms were checked. Six students came back to find letters on their doors telling them that they would be moved to outside accommodation while the problem was dealt with” she said.Although St Catherine’s have refused to comment, a third-year student has corroborated the reports saying, “There were finalists in the staircase and they got badly bitten.”“It surfaced that the College already knew about the bedbugs and had taken measures. Apparently they were brought in by people staying in the rooms over the summer. If that is true then the college should have been more alert, but when students complained they were slow to act,” she said.Reports also suggest that St Catherine’s originally intended to move the affected students to accommodation outside of the College, but that finalists resisted this move and insisted they be provided with on-site rooms.“They were going to move us to outside flats with complete strangers,” one student said. “This would have been quite inappropriate and College refused to provide transport to move our belongings to these rooms. It was only after further complaints that we were moved to the alternative rooms in College.”Replacement rooms were sprayed with repellent before students moved in, but students could only take a few necessary books with them which were also sprayed with repellent. The students affected have said that they were eventually happy with how the situation has been dealt with.The clean-up operation involved an extensive fumigation of the rooms. Pest control teams use a special insecticide solution to kill insects and freeze their eggs while badly infested furniture was destroyed. Witnesses say they saw replacement mattresses being delivered to the college in last week.Robert Miller, a pest control expert from Advanced Pest Control, said bed bugs required special techniques for total removal.“People think bed bugs only live in beds when in fact they can survive almost anywhere,” he said.