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?
It is Spring Break time here in Atlanta and the surrounding areas. It’s a time that parents and kids both look forward to. A lot of people will be going out of town this spring break and staying in hotels. I’m sure you’ve seen media reports of bed bug outbreaks across the US. Hotels are being hit pretty hard with bed bug infestations and it is something that travelers need to be aware of. The truth is that you are more than likely not going to experience bed bugs in your hotel room or home but it is always best to be educated and aware!
Many wonder why the number of outbreaks has risen in recent years, it is suspected that increase in travel, less effective household pesticides, resistance to pesticides and lack of awareness are among the main reasons. The key to avoiding bed bugs is early detection. Make sure you are checking mattresses and other upholstery items when traveling. Know that bed bugs are not a sign of a sanitation issue with the hotel; they are often brought in by other guests.
Bed Bugs on a mattress cover
What to Look For:
- Brown or chestnut in color
- Size of a pencil eraser
- Eggs are several millimeters and clear to whitish in appearance
- Droppings and dead skin of bed bugs
How to Search Hotel Rooms for Bed Bugs:
- Simply call the hotel. They may not always be forthcoming in their answer but it’s worth a shot. A lot of hotels will be honest and tell you if they have or haven’t had experiences with bed bugs.
- Check The Bedbug Registry. This free data base is a place where bed bug sightings are reported.
- Pack clothes and shoes in air tight bags in your suitcase. Keep your items packed away in Ziploc bags inside of your suitcase to protect them from bed bugs.
- Inspect the bed. Pull back the sheets and check the mattress, concentrating heavily on the mattress seams, for droppings or skin that has been shed. Also check the headboard, footboard, sheets, comforter, and pillows for signs of bed bugs.
- Use the luggage rack. Do not put your luggage on the bed or on the floor. Hotels usually provide a luggage rack, if not; place the luggage on a tile floor where it is easier to see bed bugs moving if they are present.
- Bites on body. Bed bug bites are not dangerous but do cause allergic reaction. Bed bugs often bite in a straight line on the body. You can tell the difference between mosquito and other common pest bites and bed bug bites by the area on your body you have been bitten. Mosquitoes mainly bite on the arms, legs or other body parts that are left uncovered. Bed bug bites can be found throughout the body.
The thought of bed bugs and their bites are unnerving to say the least. However, you may find comfort in knowing that bed bug bites are not dangerous because they do not carry human diseases. All of that being said, you want to be sure that you do not carry these pests home with you from vacation. Bed bugs are not only difficult to treat but can be an expensive treatment.
Tips for returning home:
- Keep luggage in the garage or outside until you can unload your suitcase fully.
- Wash and dry everything on the hot cycle immediately. The hot temperatures will kill any bed bugs that may have made the trip with you.
- Vacuum out suitcase once emptied.
- Take precautionary measures with your own furniture. Get a bed bug proof mattress case for your mattress and add traps on the legs of your bed.
- Inspect frequently.
At the end of the day, we want you to have the best time on your spring break or other vacation. We just want to make sure that you are not bringing home anything that wasn’t supposed to come home with you. As we said earlier, the key is to be educated and aware.
If you have more questions on bed bugs or think that your home may have bed bugs, call Northwest Exterminating. We have a dedicated team of experts that specialize in bed bug treatment.
Other Additional Links:
Dorm Rooms and Bed Bugs
NPMA Releases Bed Bug Best Management Practices for Pest Professionals