While parents are busy preparing their children for departures to colleges, it is important that parents take important steps to prevent their children from encountering bed bug infestations once they get to campus.  Bed bugs are significant problems in dormitories and student housing in the tri-state area (Cornell University entomologist Jody Gangloff–Kaufmann has noted: “Bed bugs are a particular concern in colleges….  I can’t think of a school that hasn’t been affected in the northeast by bed bugs.” ) and nationwide. (Bed Bugs at the University of Nebraska also became a significant issue last school year that garnered national headlines.)

Because many students have spent their summers in locations with a prevalence of bed bugs, the close proximity of student living quarters, and the fact that students spend a lot of time in each others’ rooms, bed bugs may find their way into other students’ rooms and belongings.

Parents sending children away to school may wish to buy protective mattress covers for their students’ beds.  Bell Environmental sells them in sizes appropriate for and at competitive prices for students.   We can even ship mattress covers direct to your child’s dorm.

Parents should also educate themselves and their children about bed bugs, and question housing administrators about what their approaches are to detecting and addressing bed bugs when they are discovered in dorms.  Different treatment approaches, and the number of treatments undertaken vary greatly in their safety, effectiveness, and thoroughness.

Parents should also beware because what happens on campus doesn’t always stay on campus. Bed bugs are known hitchhikers and it is possible that students will bring them home in their belongings when they leave for breaks.  If parents don’t take measures to prevent bed bugs from entering a home or detect these insects in their early stages of an infestation, these bugs can quickly reach alarming levels and infest many areas of the home.  Don’t let your child take his or her bags directly into the house and throw them on the bed when he or she gets home from college.

Bell Environmental offers these tips: keep your child’s luggage in the garage until you have the chance to take the following steps: Perform a visual inspection of your child’s belongings for signs of bed bug activity; place clothes and laundry in sealed plastic bags before bringing them inside your home; put clothes (including the ones the student is wearing) directly in the dryer on high heat for 15-20 minutes (a dryer is preferred over a regular wash cycle to kill bed bugs); vacuum students’ suitcases inside and out; and lastly, call for a bed bug inspection. Bell’s certified K-9 bed bug detection teams can pinpoint bed bugs with accuracy in your home.

P.S. – There’s No Insect Music Friday this week.  Sorry if that’s a big disappointment, but we have so many other things that we believe you needed to know right away that we’re skipping a week in this blog series.