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How To Prevent Your Kids From Bringing Bed Bugs Home From College.

Friday, August 29, 2014

The best way to protect your home from a bed bug infestation is to make sure nobody brings them in from another location. Every year in the fall we see a rise in bed bug reports and college kids return home from school with dirty laundry and bedding. Anytime your children return home from school, take the necessary precautions to keep bed bugs from hitching a ride back with them. Bed bugs are expert hitchhikers and will hide in clothing, backpacks, suitcases, shoes, and bedding. Before you know it, you'll have more than a tired, hungry freshman in your home.

A college dorm room is a prime breeding ground for bed bugs. Excessive clutter, poor hygiene, and large numbers of people are attractive environments for these opportunistic pests. All it takes is one student to bring the bed bugs into the building. From there they easily travel from room to room on socks, in hoodies, and deep inside backpacks. Anything that is lying on the floor. All it takes is one female bed bug to infest a room. Female bed bugs can have as many as 5,000 babies in as little as 6 months. And it only takes one month, or half a semester, for those babies to become adult bed bugs. This means if a room is infested when the kids return to school in the fall, you could have full-blown adult bed bugs coming back home by Thanksgiving! Those are some ugly numbers.

Here are some ways to better prepare your child to prevent bed bug issues at school:

Know what bed bugs look like in order to make an accurate identification

  • Adult bed bugs are small, brown, flat oval-shaped insects, less than ¼” long; similar to an apple seed.

  • Baby bed bugs can be beige (before a blood meal) to reddish-brown (following a blood meal) and similar to a sesame seed.

  • Eggs are about the size and color of two grains of salt

Check regularly for signs of bed bugs in your dorm room

  • Reddish-black fecal or blood spots on your bedding, furniture, wall hangings, and other hidden places

  • Shed skins of young bed bugs will be found near where bed bugs hide during the day

  • Live, dead, or crushed bed bugs

  • Unexplained red marks or rashes appear on your body in the morning.  Red spots are often in groups or lines.

Protect your belongings from these biting insects and yourself from bed bug bites

  • Protect your mattress and pillow with approved bed bug encasement covers with special zipper locks that eliminate access to bed bugs.

  • Remove any lingering clutter or piles as bed bugs love to hide in places they won’t be disturbed.

  • Keep space between your bed and the walls to minimize access for the bed bugs

  • Vacuum and clean your room regularly, checking for signs of bed bugs at the same time.  Be sure to use a vacuum with a bag and if you suspect you have bed bugs, throw the bag away immediately after vacuuming.

  • Use bed protector cups on the legs of your bed to prevent bed bugs from climbing up.

Here are some ways your kids can avoid bringing home unwanted guests when they return:.

  • Inspect your mattress before putting on new covers

  • Wash clothing at the hottest temperature, and dry them at the hottest temperature.

  • Keep clothing clean, and off the floor.

  • Keep clutter to a minimum. Bed bugs love clutter.

  • Vacuum frequently.

  • Be careful of bringing in used furniture--especially if you got it from the side of the road.

  • Use a special mattress cover designed to zip all the way around the mattress to keep bed bugs out.

  • Use bed leg interceptors that prevent bed bugs from crawling up the bed legs to get on the mattress

Watch this video for more information on recommended mattress covers and bed leg interceptors:


If bed bugs are found, contact your RA immediately. If nothing is done, reach out to student health services or the health department.

When returning home, whether from the dormitory--and even if you did not notice bed bugs while you were away--inspect your suitcases and bags thoroughly. If you are bringing a mattress back into your home, check the corners and edges for black residue, and clean all bedding and sheets in hot water. These small precautions can save you a lot of headaches down the road.

If you suspect your child has brought bed bugs home with them, contact your nearest Rose Pest Solutions service center immediately for an inspection. If caught early bed bugs can be easily treated. But if they go unchecked, it can become a huge, expensive ordeal to eliminate them. And nobody can afford that when they are paying college tuition!



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