bed bugs in college dorms

Rose Pest Solutions advocates vigilance as students return to college campuses


With the new school year upon us, college students are returning to campuses for the upcoming semester. Rose Pest Solutions, a pest management company servicing Chicagoland, Rockford, Indiana, Southern Wisconsin, and Kentucky, warns that college dorms and off campus housing provide the perfect storm for a bed bug infestation to develop, as the pest thrives in heavily populated places.

cluttered dorm may have bed bugs

A recent study conducted by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) and the University of Kentucky found that bed bug infestations are on the rise in many types of dwellings, including college settings. In fact, 54 percent of pest professionals surveyed had treated bed bug infestations in college dorms in 2011.

The more clutter, the worse the risk of bed bugs

Dorm rooms are pretty small. Apartments can be packed with clutter, too though, especially if you have roommates or multiple units within your apartment building. If you find anything that looks suspicious or if you or your roommate is getting bitten (bites often appear in linear formations), notify the building manager, landlord, or RA immediately. The sooner professional action takes place, the better the chance is of eliminating bed bug populations. The longer you wait, the chance of them hiding, multiplying, and thriving becomes more intense.

messy dorm with bed bugs

Here are some things to keep in mind when living in an apartment or dorm to lower your risk of bed bug activity or infestation:

  • Keep bed linens from dragging on the floor.
  • Wash linens regularly in hot water and high heat to kill any possible insects or eggs.
  • Do not bring used furniture or found items into your apartment or dorm without properly inspecting for signs of bed bugs.
  •  When visiting other dorm rooms or apartments, don’t set your belongings, backpacks, or books on any bed or upholstered furniture.
  • If you know you have bed bugs, contact a professional immediately or have the building manager/RA contact the right person to properly handle the situation.
  • Lysol and most over-the-counter products do NOT kill bed bugs.
  • Don’t throw your mattress away if you think it has bed bugs in it. Get encasements. Not sure what those are or how to get them? Call us. We have them and will help you understand what they are and how they work.
  • Don’t scratch your bites if you have them. Bed bugs don’t transmit diseases, but scratching their bites may cause bacterial infection.
  • Bed bugs don’t just live in beds. They can live in anything with a crack or crevice or void to hide in.

bed bugs and feces in crease of mattress

“Bed bugs are known for their uncanny hitchhiking abilities, so students returning to school should inspect their belongings and living area thoroughly before they unpack,” said Bill Hastings, Director of Special Services Division for Rose Pest Solutions. “If anything suspicious is found, we recommend immediately contacting a university facility manager.”

bed bugs on backpack

Experts at the NPMA offer these additional tips to help prevent bed bugs from becoming an unwanted college roommate:

  • Fully inspect your suitcases prior to re-packing for a return to school, especially if you have traveled during the summer. Be sure that any clothes that may have been previously packed in the suitcase have been washed and dried in hot temperatures.
  • Before putting your sheets on your dormitory bed, inspect the mattress seams, particularly at the corners, for telltale stains or spots. Thoroughly inspect the entire room before unpacking, including behind the headboard and in sofas/chairs.
  • If you are considering bringing “secondhand” furniture to campus, properly inspect it to insure that a pest problem, such as bed bugs, is not the reason for its “secondhand” status. If you see anything suspect, do not bring it to campus.

bed bugs hiding in screw of desk chair resized 600

bed bugs all over shoe resized 600

A licensed pest professional can assist in proper identification and treatment of bed bugs. “Many consumers think they can handle bed bugs on their own, but the reality is this pest is not a do-it-yourself project,” added Bill Hastings. “Attempts to control bed bugs on your own may only exacerbate the problem and lead to a larger infestation.”

outlet with signs of bed bugs

For more information or to speak with a pest professional about bed bugs, call Rose today. We’re here to help, we’re here to do the job right and we want to make sure you and your loved ones are protected from these awful insects.


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