Bed Bugs in College Dorms Can Be a Big Problem

Bed Bugs in College Dorms Can Be a Big Problem

The problem with bed bugs is that most people don’t think about them until they are a problem.  And if you wait until you have bed bugs, well that’s a problem.  You see, bed bugs are really difficult to eradicate. 

Bed bug infestations have had a major resurgence in recent years.  The reality is that bed bugs have shown up in cities and towns all across America, from malls, museums, retail stores, offices, movie theaters, and more.

Bed bug problems have been increasing in the United States due to increased travel and limitations on certain insecticides, but numbers have been especially high in these cities. 

Back to School

It comes as no surprise, then, that college dorms and apartments can become a hotbed of bed bug activity.  The very nature of college housing makes for an ideal living space for the bed bug.

We have young students who may or may not clean their room, close proximity to many other tenants, and large numbers of transitory people in one building. The perfect storm, bed bugs can move quickly from room to room on backpacks, clothes, luggage, and any other items students take with them. 

Just like in sports, the best offense is a good defense.  That means thinking like a bed bug; understanding what they want and how they go about getting it.  Here’s some insight into bed bug behavior and ways you can keep bed bugs at bay.

What a Bed Bug Wants  

What a bed bug wants is a blood meal.  The varieties commonly found in our homes prefer human blood, but they will settle for any warm blood.  If it isn’t readily available, they are patient.  They can survive up to a year without a blood meal.  

Bed bugs will patiently hide in cracks and crevices waiting for a meal to come along.  When you go to bed, they come out and feed on you.  

Bedbugs insert two tiny tubes into your skin. One tube injects a substance to keep your blood from coagulating.  The other tube draws in the blood meal.  Yup, it's most certainly disgusting.  Bed bugs are generally brown except immediately after gorging on blood.  Then they turn red.

Once the bed bug finishes the meal its time to hide again until the next meal. Hiding is important.  They want a small place to hide. They want to be close to the food source.

Cracks, crevices, behind electrical outlet plates, baseboards, and bed rails are all great places to hide.  When not eating and digesting, they want to reproduce.  Yes, bed bugs want to have fun too.  

One female can produce 200 to 500 eggs in her lifetime.  She can carry sperm around for 4 to 6 weeks.  Female bed bugs are more mobile and they tend to travel by hitchhiking.  This is important to remember.   

Protect The Bed

Make sure your child's mattress cannot be infested with bed bugs by protecting it in a bed bug proof zippered mattress protector.  

This bed bug covers completely surround their mattress and make it impervious to bed bugs.  Once this cover is on their mattress and zipped tight they are protected.  No bed bug is breaching your barrier.  If they had a bed bug (or dust mites) in the mattress it is trapped for good.

Bed bug covers are not expensive and won’t change the feel of the mattress.  However, you and your child will sleep better knowing the mattress is protected.

Free is Not Better

As your child heads off to college for the first time or 3rd year student, remind them to be mindful of the things they bring into their living space.  Just because you need a couch and someone just happens to have one they are giving away does not mean you should take it.

Don’t pick up freebies.  Taking used clothes, sheets, furniture, etc. from people ups your risk of bringing bed bugs into your dorm room.  If you’re purchasing used furniture for your place, make sure you thoroughly check it out before you bring it into your place.  The last thing you want to do is PAY for bugs.

If you think there’s a bed bug problem in your college dorm room/apartment, act quickly. Don't try to get rid of them by vacuuming or simply washing your bedsheets. Bed bugs need to be professionally removed. Tell your RA, HA or the landlord.

Keep bed bugs at bay by thinking like a bed bug, traveling smarter, and diligently checking for hitchhikers when you get home. 

Wishing you the best of health,

The Allergy Store

If you want additional information on ways to keep bed bugs at bay read  9 Tips to Keep Your Mattress Safe from Bed Bugs and Prevent a Bed Bug Infestation