Every year at this time, millions of teenagers and young people throughout the nation are returning to college for an additional year of higher education. These college students have a bright future as they settle into off-campus residences as well as residence halls on campus and prepare for a successful first semester. It is very simple to overlook the minor details during all the excitement, which can easily sabotage a promising start to the school year.
The number of bed bugs in the United States has risen dramatically in the past decade. Many people wrongly assume that bed bugs can only be found in dirty homes or on old furniture, but this is not the case at all; bed bugs are quite content in a spotless hospital as they are in a shabby trailer park. Bed bugs have recently made a home in college dorms. Many guests are traveling from out of town, potentially bringing bed bugs with them. Furthermore, they can do their laundry here before returning home for the holidays. There is no better situation for a bed bug.
Students, as well as parents who drive their children to school, must remember to protect themselves against these tiny little invaders. It only takes a few minutes for a bed bug or two to make their way onto your clothing or into your bags, where they will remain undetected until they have laid hundreds of eggs and hatched a whole new generation of pests for you to deal with. It is critical to be on the lookout for bed bugs at any overnight stops on the way to school. Take a few minutes, no matter how tired you are, to peel back the sheets, especially near the head of the bed, and inspect the mattress for signs of bed bug activity. Typically, you will notice dirt marks and smears that could be feces or even blood droplets from a previous meal. You might even see the bugs themselves, or the casings that growing juveniles leave behind. If you find any indication of a problem, do not unpack and notify the front desk immediately.
Even when you arrive at school and everyone is excited to get in and settle in, your bed bug investigation is far from over. Before unpacking any bags, both parents and students should thoroughly inspect the bed and all of the furniture in the room. Bed bugs can survive for months just waiting for students to return to school for a snack. Even if everything appears to be in order, it is a good idea to recheck for bed bugs on a regular basis. It is a common misconception on college campuses that bed bugs are only found in dorm rooms. These tenacious creatures have been known to wait for the ideal host in the cafeteria, library, classrooms, or even on a bench outside. Regularly inspecting your living quarters can help you save a lot of time and heartache later on and prevent the spread.
THE HIDING SPOTS
- Beds – this may seem self-evident. Because these insects are known as “bed” bugs, the first place you should look is in your bed. However, this does not only apply to the mattress. They can fit themselves into the smallest cracks in the bed frame. Bed bugs can also hide in box springs. Check the frame thoroughly if it is made of wood. Examine the entire mattress, checking every wrinkle and space. Bed bugs can travel with you or on your clothing and end up in your room. Check them thoroughly and keep in mind that bed bugs can be very small, resembling pepper grains or apple seeds rather than insects. For added protection, bed bug mattress encasements are available.
- Couches and chairs – ensure that the couches and chairs in public areas are also free of bed bugs. They can get into your room by riding on you or your clothing. Check to see if the sofa you picked up on the street to add to your dorm room or student apartment is free of bed bugs. Check them thoroughly and keep in mind that bed bugs can be very small, resembling pepper grains or apple seeds rather than insects.
- Baseboards – Although bed bugs are notorious for hiding in fabric-covered objects, they will hide anywhere. This includes the baseboards that run around the bottom of the walls in the room. They can also hide in electrical sockets near the ground and behind anything else that comes into contact with the wall.
- Dressers – Because bed bugs can enter a dorm room or bedroom through clothing or by climbing into suitcases, they can end up inside dressers. Examine the drawers for shed skins or the insects themselves. They can also hide in the corners, between the cracks, or on the clothing stored there.
- Clothing – piles of clothing (common in college dorms and fraternity houses) are ideal hiding places for bed bugs. Check for bed bugs in drawers, closets, laundry baskets, and laundry rooms. You can reduce the risk of bed bug infestations by keeping as much clothing as possible off the ground.
If bed bugs are ever discovered, ECO Bed Bug has the solution! Whether they are discovered in a dorm room or a studio apartment, our bed bug professionals can not only find the cause of your infestation but also eradicate it. We can also handle it if your student brought them home to you. Call us right away and inquire about a commercial or residential inspection.