Don't let bed bugs be that annoying roomate that ruins your college experience. Terminix has protective tips to help you avoid an infestation.
As eager students and emotional parents arrive for move-in weekend this fall, they may encounter some unanticipated and unwanted roommates: bed bugs. The orientation runaround, mismatched furniture, tiny living quarters and interconnected communal spaces make campuses extremely vulnerable to infestations. Bed bugs can spread easily from one building to the next by crawling through cracks in the walls or floor, and hitching rides on backpacks and clothing. The good news is that there are several protective measures students can take to avoid an itchy infestation.
Back-to-School Bed Bug Tips from Terminix
- Add a bed-bug proof mattress, pillow and box spring cover to your shopping list. Their protective casings can help prevent bed bugs from making your bunk bed their new hideout.
- Thoroughly scan your room on move-in day. Take time to lift mattresses, move furniture and peek behind wooden headboards for any sign of bed bugs, including discarded shells, live bugs along mattress seams or furniture joints, a sweet musty odor or small blood stains from previous bite victims.
- Crack open your textbooks. Bed bugs have been known to hitch a ride from one home to the next via used textbooks or loans from the library.
- Wash any used clothing. Items from thrift or consignment stores should be washed in warm soapy water before the first wear.
- Pick up discarded furniture. Items found at consignment stores or on the side of the road may be nice on your wallet, but can easily introduce an infestation.
- Leave jackets, backpacks or clothing on the floor. Hang up as many items as possible in your dorm room or apartment to reduce the chance of picking up stray pests.
- Allow your backpack to come in contact with others. Whether it’s during class, on the bus or in other public spaces, keep your bags and purses away from your neighbor’s.
To help students determine the risk of infestation at their school, we put together a list of the worst cities in America for bed bug activity. See if your campus is in the top 15!
- Detroit, Mich.
- Philadelphia, Pa.
- Cleveland-Akron, Ohio
- Los Angeles, Calif.
- Dayton, Ohio
- Chicago, Ill.
- Columbus, Ohio
- Cincinnati, Ohio
- Dallas-Forth Worth, Texas
- San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, Calif.
- Denver, Colo.
- Toledo, Ohio
- Oklahoma City, Okla.
- Baltimore, Md.
- New York, N.Y.
If you suspect a bed bug infestation, contact your residence hall director or landlord right away. Bed bugs are notoriously difficult to eliminate and, without the help of a professional, can hide undetected for months. Don’t let bed bugs add to the stress of papers and tests—nip a potential problem in the bud.