Bed bugs continue to be on the rise on college campuses across Canada and the U.S. This epidemic can be attributed to the high level of international travel to the schools, the close living quarters of incoming freshman, and bed bugs’ amazing ability to go undetected. Although bed bug infestations can happen any time of the year, during peak travel months like winter break, spring break, and summer break, the rate of bed bug infestations increases drastically.
This is most likely the result of people bringing bed bugs from their hometown when they return from break. Once they return to college, the bed bugs release themselves in their dorm rooms and an infestation occurs. The good news is there are simple precautionary steps you can take to prevent this from happening. Follow these simple preventative tips, and you won’t have to worry about bed bugs this year.
Check Your Bags
Bed bugs may not be able to fly, but they still are expert travelers. Bed bugs are known to hide within luggage and travel across the globe going unnoticed. Only once the person unpacks their bags does the bed bug release itself and find a new home. To avoid bringing bed bugs to your dorm room, fully inspect your suitcases and clothes prior to packing. If any clothes were left in the suitcase during your stay, make sure to wash them in hot water to ensure no bed bugs are hiding within them.
Keep in mind that bed bugs are very difficult to detect, especially if your suitcase is black. Make sure you perform a thorough inspection with a flashlight to detect any signs of their presence.
Wash Your Clothes
It’s no secret that college students like to bring home their dirty clothes for their parents to clean over breaks. Although this might be the result of innocent laziness after a tough finals week, it can also be a great way to keep bed bugs out of your clothes. Bed bugs are unable to survive in the high heat of washers and dryers. As soon as you return home, wash and dry all of your clothes to kill any bed bugs that may have traveled home with you. Once the break is over, wash and dry all your clothes again, both clean and dirty, to ensure no bed bugs return to your dorm room with you.
Once You Return, Check Room
When you return to school, perform a thorough inspection of your room . Even if your room was bed bug free before the break, they could have infested your room while you were gone. This is because bedbugs can easily move from one room to the next when an infestation has occurred in the area, and in a tightly packed dorm hall, that can be a recipe for disaster. To keep your room and belongings bed bug free, check throughout your room for traces of bed bugs. This includes your mattress, pillows, clothing, furniture, and even cracks in your floors and walls. Keep an eye out for small black dots of excrement, blood stains, and the bed bugs themselves. If any signs of bed bugs are discovered, contact your resident advisor to have your room treated.
Clean Your Room
You’ve heard it countless times growing up, so bare with me here, but keeping a clean room might be your best line of defense against bed bugs. Even after all the preventative steps you’ve taken above, there is still a chance that a bed bug or two returned to college with you. In order to ensure these few lingering pests don’t turn into an infestation, you need to detect them as early as possible. By maintaining a clean room, you will have a much better chance of spotting the minute signs of bed bugs and will be able to treat the problem before an infestation occurs.
The nature of dorm rooms makes them perfect for bed bug infestations. The close living quarters, high student density, and high level of travel to and from the halls make them an ideal breeding ground for bed bugs. In order to keep your room bed bug free this year, you must understand what causes bed bugs to enter your room. Once you understand how they will get there, you can take the necessary precautions to keep them out. If you ever notice the presence of bed bugs, have them treated immediately. The last thing you want during your next finals week is the stress of an infestation.
About the Author:
Daniel Mackie, owner of The Bed Bug Tracker , is a Toronto pest control expert well-known as an industry go-to guy, an innovator of safe, effective pest control solutions, and is a regular guest on HGTV. Mackie, along with business partner Sandy Costa, were the first pest control professionals in Canada to use detection dogs for the successful detection of bed bugs. In his free time, he is an avid gardener.
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