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Bed Bugs Invading College Campuses: Expert Tips for College Students Returning to School

12 August, 2013

READING, PA, August 12, 2013  — As college students pack their bags to head back to school, they might want to think about the potential of bed bugs living in their dorm room. There has been a significant increase in bed bug infestations in recent years, and college campuses are on the list of hot spots where these pests congregate, which also includes hotels, motels and multi-family housing complexes.

Why do you have bed bugs

Bed bugs are harder to eliminate in multi-unit buildings like dorms because the insects are transient, attaching themselves to clothing or items that end up moving from room to room. Items that land on the floor, particularly clothing and bed linens, may be an easy target for bed bugs to attach themselves. A recent survey presented by the National Pest Management Association indicated 47 percent of pest professionals treat college dorms for infestations. The same survey revealed 67 percent of pest management professionals say clutter is the biggest challenge to infestation prevention.

While bed bugs do not transmit disease to humans, they can leave red, itchy bite marks, especially on the neck, arms and legs, which may be exposed while sleeping. The Rentokil Companies (Ehrlich Pest Control, Western Exterminator, and Presto-X Pest Control) want college students and their parents to be aware of these pests and offer the following advice:

Identifying bed bugs is easy. Adult bed bugs are about one-quarter of an inch long or about the size of an apple seed and resemble a flat apple seed or lentil. While bed bugs are most often found in mattresses and box springs, they can also conceal themselves behind baseboards, wallpaper, upholstery, electrical switch plates and beneath cushions in chairs and sofas.

Prevention includes:

  • Second-hand furniture, especially mattresses and box springs, should be thoroughly examined for signs of a bed bug infestation before being brought into a dorm or home.
  • Fit mattresses, box springs and pillows with protective covers before you put on linens. These bed bug and dust-mite proof encasements eliminate bed bug entry and escape points. They are available for consumers at the Rentokil Companies’ local branches.
  • Keep bed linens on the bed and off the floor.
  • Regularly inspect sleeping areas and check mattress seams for pepper-like stains, which indicate bed bug activity.
  • Bed bugs tend to live within eight feet of a sleeping area. Remove clutter around these areas where bed bugs can hide.  
  • Visitors should not place backpacks or belongings onto the bed or cushioned furniture.

Parents and students should not overlook this important part of their college survival kit. College dorms aren’t always thought of as havens of austerity, but they don’t need to be a beacon for bed bugs either. Close living quarters, visiting friends and cluttered living space are inviting accommodations for bed bugs. Careful inspection of personal sleeping areas and the implementation of these prevention tips will help keep the bed bugs from biting.   

About Rentokil North America
J.C. Ehrlich Pest Control (www.jcehrlich.com), Western Exterminator (www.westernexterminator.com), and Presto-X Pest Control (www.prestox.com) are all part of the Rentokil family of companies in North America. They provide commercial and residential pest control, bioremediation, bird control, vegetation management, deer repellent services, wild-animal trapping and termite control from more than 150 local offices in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Rentokil is the world’s largest commercial pest control company, operating in 49 countries worldwide. For more information, visit https://www.rentokil.com/us