Bedbugs are a growing problem for dormitories in New York Cityand in colleges across the country. In 2010, 10% of all bed bug violations reported in New York City were in student housing, according to the New York Department of Housing and Historic Preservation. By 2011 infestations in college dorms had gone up 20%, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) reported, so that over half of all dorm rooms have been the site of an infestation.
As those numbers continue to rise, so does the need for increasing awareness. Parents and students to be aware of any preventative steps they can take or useful products they can use, and continue to exercise vigilance throughout the school year.
Remember, when you or your child arrives at a dorm room this fall, it might not be unoccupied. Bed bugs can survive for 6 months to a year without a host. They tend to be nocturnal and may be invisible to the naked eye, making them difficult to detect.
- First, find out what sort of prevention methods your school employs, if any. Increasingly they provide mattress encasements, pre-treat rooms like some hotels or hospitals, or use other detection methods. Sealing your mattress with an encasement not only prevents bed bugs from attaching, but suffocates dust mites and any pest residents on it. If mattress and pillow encasements haven’t been provided to you, they are available for purchase.
- Before unpacking, thoroughly check your room and furnishings for any signs of bed bugs. Closely inspect drawers and mattress seams, looking closely for red or black specs, before moving on to other furniture. If you find anything, notify maintenance immediately.
- If you want to be sure there is not an infestation, you can spray your furniture with a product like our Bed Bug 911 Exterminator Spray. DO NOT treat your mattress or furniture with rubbing alcohol, as it is highly flammable. Our spray instantly liquefies bugs on contact, and prevents them from coming back. If they’ve fed they will leave a tell-tale red smear, a sure sign that an infestation is present. It’s safe to use on your bedding, purses, and water safe surfaces. Reapply it to your mattress cover one per week for prevention. Alternatively, Bed Bug 911 has bed bug detection dogs in New York that can sniff out bed bugs with 100% accuracy.
- Bed bugs tend to crawl from your bed to the wall. Inspect behind light fixtures, in any cracks or crevices, and along creases in window dressings for any signs of bed bugs. Make sure your furniture does not touch the walls, and that your bed skirt does not touch the floor. You should wash your bed skirt and bedding on the hottest setting once per week.
- Before unpacking, carefully inspect your belongings to make sure you’re not bringing any unwanted guests with you.
ALWAYS keep your clothing hung up in the closet. Clutter can make it easier for bed bugs to hide. You can avoid this by dusting and vacuuming regularly, and disposing of the remains in a sealed bag.
NEVER bring any secondhand furniture, clothing, or electronics into your dorm room without completely inspecting it first:
- Electronics must be completely taken apart, inspected and washed, or alternatively treated with Cryonite, to ensure they are bed bug-free. Otherwise they must be discarded, as no pesticide treatment is available.
- For second-hand clothes or in case you contract bed bugs, wash and dry items on the highest setting. For cold-wash clothes, or to ensure that bed bugs and their eggs are killed in the wash cycle, utilize our 32oz Bed Bug 911 Laundry Treatment . We also offer a bed bug dry cleaning service in New York City.
- Don’t forget to treat your mattress once per week with our Exterminator Spray. You can also use it to spray incoming furniture
If you do find bedbugs in your dorm room, or find any bites on your body in a tell-tale formation of three in a line:
- Notify building maintenance immediately.
- Keep your recently worn items bagged, and don’t store them in the closet.
- It is good to buy two bed bug laundry bags, one for before and one for after you wash your items. This can be a good idea in general.
- Disassemble furniture so exterminators can inspect them. They will have to find a live bug in order to initiate treatment.
Before coming home from the dorms for vacation, or returning to the dorms after a trip, follow these steps. Also see our safe-travel tips:
- When arriving home, carefully inspect items upon removing them. Wash clothes immediately. If need be, keep your electronics and other non-washable items sealed in bags in the freezer for five days , or take them apart and clean and inspect them carefully upon removal. Check the lining and seams of your luggage and bags.