Bedbugs are wingless insects that feed on the blood of humans and other warm-blooded mammals. They made a comeback in the 1990’s and have been in the news ever since. Infestations are reported across the country without discrimination, hitting pristine ivy-league dormitories as well as aging state college living quarters. A little education about bed bugs can go a long way in minimizing the disruption they cause if caught early.
1. Bed bugs thrive in multi-unit housing scenarios.
A dorm or student housing environment is a perfect opportunity for bed bugs to infest neighboring units. If there is a bed bug outbreak in your facility you should be on high alert for signs (e.g., blood stains on linens, fecal droppings [black magic marker looking spots], shed skins, and of course, live activity (adult bed bugs approximate the size of an apple seed). Take preventative measures to protect your bed and yourself from the bloodsucking pests.
2. Clutter is a bed bug’s best friend.
With a hectic class schedule, project deadlines and endless social events it is easy to ignore your living space and allow it to become messy. A disorderly living space can create chaos and mental and emotional stress. Beyond that, it provides a perfect environment for bed bug populations to explode before they are noticed.
3. Secondhand and rental furniture may save you a few dollars but can cause a bed bug outbreak.
Picking up that perfectly good dresser you see on the side of the road may seem like a brilliant idea for your checkbook but spotting bed bugs on/in old furniture can be very difficult to do. If you do plan to rent furniture or hit a local flea market to furnish your dorm or apartment, spend the time necessary to take out drawers and thoroughly inspect cracks and crevices with a good flashlight for evidence of bed bugs. We suggest thoroughly vacuuming the piece outside of your dorm room or apartment before moving it into your living space. But remember to throw away the vacuum bag and/or sanitize the canister before bringing back inside.
4. Bed bugs can live through the summer in a mattress.
Just because a dorm or apartment has been vacant for months over summer break doesn’t mean that it is guaranteed to be bedbug-free. Bed bugs can live for up to a year without a blood meal so be sure to thoroughly inspect the room before moving your belongings inside.
5. The right bedding choice can prevent a bed bug infestation.
You cannot stop bed bugs from being introduced into your dorm room but you can prevent a simple introduction of a few bed bugs from turning into a full-blown infestation. Active mattress liners go on like a fitted sheet and, unlike encasements, they protect those sleeping in it in addition to the bed. Active liners like ActiveGuard® Mattress Liners kill bed bugs through contact 24/7 for up to two years. After only ten minutes of contact, bed bugs do not feed well (reduced biting) and females are incapable of dropping their eggs (halting population growth).
Don’t let bed bugs interfere with your college experience. Awareness and a few preventive steps can spare you an unpleasant encounter with this disturbing pest.