College Students and Bed Bugs

- don’t take bed bugs with you!

Along with bringing home a month’s worth of laundry, parents may also be weary of students bringing home bed bugs.

Prevention at School

  • Teach your college students about preventing a bed bug infestation and how to detect the bugs.
  • Buy fabric, bed bug-proof covers for each mattress and box springs. Get the bed off of the floor and onto a frame. Put Climb Up Interceptors under the bed legs to monitor if bed bugs are present. Mattress covers are available at many local retail stores. ClimbUp Interceptors are available through pest management professionals and online.
  • Although dorm rooms usually have very little closet space, put as much clothing in it as possible. Store everything else in plastic totes with tight-fitting lids.
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Inspect your new place for infestations before moving in.

Dorm Room/Apartment Tips:

  • Minimize clutter
  • Vigorously vacuum carpets, drapes, furniture and all cracks and crevices daily. After vacuuming, vacuum up talcum powder, then put the vacuum bag in a sealed bag and dispose of it outside your home after each use.
    - Wash all fabric items in hot water and dry on high heat for an additional 30 minutes AFTER item is dry.
  • Vigorously wash any visible dead bugs, eggs and droppings with hot soapy water.
  • Cover bed mattresses and box springs with bed bug-proof mattress covers.

Prevention at Home

  • Laundry and other clothing that your student brings home should be put in tightly sealed trash bag. Store the clothing, etc in the garage until it can be properly laundered: dispose of the used trash bags in an outdoor trash container.
  • Don’t take any of your students belongings into your home until they have been carefully inspected.

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Additional Precautions if Infestation on Dorm or Apartment Floor

If an active infestation has been reported on the same dorm/apartment floor, recommendations include:

  • Vacuum out all suitcases and backpacks (see vacuum instructions above.)
  • If a bed bug infestation has been reported on the same dorm floor, or in the apartment, recommendations include:
  • Vacuum out all suitcases and backpacks (see vacuum instructions above.)
  • Place backpacks, coats, and other “dryer friendly” items in dryer on the high heat setting for an additional 30 minutes after items are dry.
  • Wash all fabric items on the hottest recommended setting, dry on the high heat setting for at least 30 minutes after the items are dry and then seal them tightly in clear plastic bags labeled “Clean”. (Well-labeled and sealed garbage bags or plastic tubs with lids work also.)
  • Put items that cannot be washed and dried (electronics, appliances) inside of clear plastic bags or plastic totes and place Nuvan Prostrips™,in the bag or container Nuvan Prostrips™ are available through pest management companies or online. Once the strips have been placed in the container seal it tightly. Nuvan Prostrips™ release a vapor in enclosed spaces that kills bed bugs. Follow the instructions that come with the Nuvan Prostrips™ provided instructions. Items may need to remain completely enclosed with the strips for two weeks to one month.

If you decide to throw away infested furniture or mattresses, tightly wrap it in plastic sheeting, tape all of the seams and openings, and clearly paint or write “Bed Bugs” on it, so neighbors won’t take the discarded furniture into their homes.

People and Pets:

  • Have student shower and change into clean clothing and shoes and then bag up the current (possibly infested) clothes and shoes for laundering. Make sure that any pet bedding also is laundered. Be sure to disinfect any pet carrier.
  • Contact the building manager or dorm monitor immediately if you notice any signs of bed bugs in any items The earlier an infestation is detected, the easier it will be to treat.
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BB vials

Photos courtesy of Dr. Susan Jones, OSU Extension Office and Lee Johnson, Bed Bug Inspector.

 

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