It’s a rite of passage for many college students to be on their own in a dorm or apartment. Parents go to inspect the new place of residency, making sure all is safe. But is it really safe? Dorm room bed bug problems are becoming increasingly more prevalent.

Bed bugs are small insects that are brown to reddish brown in color and broadly oval and flat in shape. Bed bugs harbor in cracks and crevices during the day and come out to feed at night. They prefer to feed on humans but will feed on other warm blooded animals. Typically, they can be found around mattresses, in box springs or their coverings, and in any crevice of a wooden bed frame, such as where members join. Before students move ANY of their belongings into their new home, they should check in and around wall hangings such as picture frames, night stands, stuffed furniture, baseboards, floorboard cracks, behind loose wallpaper, light switches, door and window frames, conduits, etc. Also check mattress covers for small, brownish stains. It would be wise to purchase mattress and box spring encasings as a precaution.

Bed bugs can be introduced into a structure via used furniture, clothing, boxes, suitcases, or other goods that are moved from residence to residence. Keep this in mind when your kids come home from college to visit.  Make sure to check bags and boxes thoroughly before they enter your home.

Bed bugs are most active at night and bite any exposed areas of skin while an individual is sleeping. The face, neck, hands, and arms are common sites for bed bug bites. The bite itself is painless and is not noticed. Small, flat, or raised bumps on the skin are the most common sign; redness, swelling, and itching commonly occur. If scratched, the bite areas can become infected. A peculiarity of bed bug bites is the tendency to find several bites lined up in a row. Infectious disease specialists refer to this as the “breakfast, lunch, and dinner” sign signifying the sequential feeding that occurs from site to site.

Getting rid of bed bugs is not an easy process and most cases of bed bug infestations will require treatment by a pest control expert. If bed bugs are suspected in a dorm room, contact the RA (Residential Adviser) immediately and make sure that they use a pest control expert like Northwest Exterminating.

Do you have a child going off to college this year?