Back to School Bed Bug Advice for College Students
As college students prepare to return to campuses nationwide, many plan to bring secondhand furniture including mattresses, futons, dressers, couches and more. As bags are being packed, and students begin to move in, we are urging students to inspect new lodgings, personal belongings, and secondhand items, for bed bugs as these pests can cause painful, red itchy welts and can also spread quickly when introduced to new environments.
According to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), bed bugs pose serious concerns to dorm rooms and thrive in university environments as there are often many people living in a confined space. In fact, a 2015 survey, conducted by the NPMA and the University of Kentucky, found that bed bug infestations in the United States continue at high rates, with 99.6 percent of pest professionals treating for bed bugs in the year prior.
Bed bugs are opportunistic and elusive pests. As students return from summers filled with travel they may unknowingly be transporting bed bugs to college campuses. Or, they could be returning to an environment where bed bugs are already a problem. It is essential that students inspect all belongings to help keep these pests at bay. Bed bugs are not only undesirable for students but also for parents who don’t want their children bringing these pests home on breaks.
Here are three tips to help prevent bed bugs from taking up residence in dorms:
- Fully inspect suitcases prior to re-packing for a return to school, especially if you have traveled during the summer. Wash all clothes, even those that haven’t been worn, in hot water.
- On move-in day, thoroughly inspect the entire room including mattress seams on beds, behind the headboard and in furniture using a flashlight for good visibility. If you see anything suspect, immediately contact a university facility manager or landlord.
- If you are considering bringing “secondhand” furniture to campus, properly inspect it for telltale signs of bed bugs. If you notice and signs of shed skins, small blot marks/pepper-like stains do not bring it to campus.
Students are urged to follow prevention tips when packing for school and before unpacking in a new room.