THE BAJA POST
SOURCE: PRN MEDIA
As students leave home and return to college campuses, many will travel with a particularly annoying hitchhiker: bed bugs. It is nearly impossible to prevent bed bugs from being introduced to public areas such as hotel rooms, schools and healthcare facilities as the small insects hitchhike and can travel from place to place. The small pest might hitch a ride by climbing into luggage, attaching to clothing, bedding or other personal belongings.
Bed bugs are brown in color and about one-fourth an inch in diameter, resembling an apple seed or lentil. The blood-sucking critters bite and feed on people, leaving behind itchy red bumps on their skin. Known to be resilient, bed bugs can withstand extreme environments, surviving months without a blood meal and living in temperatures from near freezing to 122 degrees Fahrenheit.
Despite the name, bed bugs can be found in chair cushions, sofas, electrical outlets or baseboards in college dorms and apartments. Many second-hand furniture items students will be moving into dorms are also potential havens for bed bugs. To better protect students from a possible bed bug introduction, Thomas Dobrinska, Board Certified Entomologist for Ehrlich Pest Control, offers insights on where to look and what to do if you find bed bugs.
Where to look for bed bugs:
- Beds: Called “bed” bugs, the first place students should look is in the bed. Not just in the mattress, bed bugs can hide in the smallest cracks in the bed frame and also in the box springs. If the frame is wood, check it thoroughly. Look throughout the mattress and check every wrinkle and space. Students can purchase bed bug mattress encasements for extra protection.
- Couches and chairs: Make sure that the couches and chairs in common areas are free from bed bugs, which can hitch a ride on people or their clothing and end up in rooms. Check the furniture thoroughly and remember that bed bugs can be very small, looking more like grains of pepper or apple seeds than insects.
- Baseboards: Although bed bugs are infamous for being in objects covered with fabric, the pest will hide anywhere. This includes the baseboards along the bottom walls of a room, in the electrical sockets and behind anything else against the wall.
- Dressers: Bed bugs love to attach to clothing to travel from place to place. Check the drawers and look for shed insect skins. The small pest can hide in the corners, pushed into the cracks or on the clothing stored there, too.
- Clothing: Piles of clothing, not uncommon in college dorms and fraternity houses, are the perfect areas for bed bugs to hide. Ensure the drawers, closets, laundry baskets and laundry rooms are free of bed bugs. Keep as much clothing off the ground as possible to reduce the risk of bed bug infestations.
What To Do If Bed Bugs Are Found
- Students should immediately contact the resident assistant, facility management or housing staff to prompt contacting pest control professionals.
- If bed bugs are found in a bedroom, do not throw out clothing or bedding. Wash bedding and clothes at a very high temperature to kill the bed bugs and the eggs and larvae. Keep clothing and bedding in sealed bags to prevent the pest from returning.
- Keeping the room clean is an important step in removal and prevention as bed bugs like to attach to clothing. Remove laundry from the floor or hang up shirts, pants and other clothing to deny the bug a safe haven. Vacuum often to reduce dust and debris regularly.
- Raise the bed off the floor. Regularly clean bedding and inspect bed frames, particularly if there is a wooden bed frame. Bed bugs will hide in the smallest cracks or crevices on a frame.