Preparing for College

Don't Let College Move-In Day Bug You

Ah, my memories of moving our kids into their dorms on their first freshman day at college. I think the one thing that I remember most is sweat. Late summer here in the Northeast is notoriously hot and humid. And, as luck would have it, both our daughter and son's first-year dorm rooms were on upper floors. Our daughter was on the second floor and our son was on the third. Both rooms were UN-air conditioned. Yes, high schoolers who may be reading this, there were rooms in the past that did not have climate control! This was back in the early and middle '90s, so we should all be thankful for what those skyrocketing tuition fees have brought today's freshmen (or would the PC term be "freshpeople" ("freshpersons")?).

Anyway, sky-high college costs and technological advances may have brought today's college first-years (a safer term) dorm comfort, but our general environment has brought an UNcomfortable scourge: bedbugs. One area where concerns have recently been on the rise is the college campus, where the climate is ripe for the proliferation of these blood-sucking bugs.

If your freshman is heading to school this fall, you may be interested in some very helpful information about how to help your freshman or freshwoman to get ready to battle bed bugs from prevention to extermination.

An article from a company called Standard Pest Management comes to the rescue. They sure know what they're talking about. From now on, when I travel, I'm going to remember the tips I've read here. I thought I was being cautious before about bedbugs, but this information has raised my defense level several notches. Here, with Standard's permission, are some excerpts.

Freshman's Guide To Avoiding Bedbugs

Bedbugs are back! Much to the chagrin of Americans from the city to the plain, these cryptic biting insects have witnessed a steady resurgence over the past decade. Causing near hysteria from homes and hotels to hospitals and public transportation, the hard-to-find, difficult to treat, hard-biting bed bug has a reputation as a nuisance that is truly well earned.

One area where concerns have recently been on the rise is the college campus, where the climate is ripe for the proliferation of these blood-sucking bugs. If your freshman is heading to school this fall, this comprehensive guide will get you ready to battle bed bugs from prevention to extermination.

Pack Smart

Whether you are leaving for the semester or getting away for the weekend, you never know when or where you will encounter bed bugs. The first step in prevention is to carefully conceal all clothing, bedding and personal belongings in bed bug proof luggage liners or sealed plastic bags . . .

Inspect for Insects

Before you bring anything into your housing situation, look closely around the premises for live or dead bed bugs, fecal markings, cast skins or blood spots. These nocturnal insects typically find shelter near their hosts, so carefully scrutinize existing beds and mattresses, in addition to headboards, nightstands and any cracks or crevices . . .

Create a Perimeter

Bed bugs are hitchhikers, but they can also walk short distances, making visitors and neighbors your biggest concerns. Properly applying a product like diatomaceous earth in potential entry points is recommended to stop and kill crawling bugs, while sealing all cracks, crevices, and openings will limit where bed bugs can enter or find shelter . . .

Stay on Guard

Minimize clutter and make it part of your regular cleaning routine to check for signs of infestation, especially if you've had guests and after vacations. When traveling for the weekend or heading for spring break, keep your clothing in sealed bags, and wash your laundry and bedding often . . .

Come Home Alone

Thoroughly inspect all items you are taking home, whether you have experienced bed bugs or not. Wash and dry clothing and bedding at high temperatures, pack in sealed bags and leave behind small furnishings that may harbor bed bugs . . .

. . . Bed Bug Prevention Tips for New Freshmen

- Educate yourself on bed bugs, from what they look like to how they feed and reproduce.

- Thoroughly inspect all dwellings before unpacking, whether staying for the night or a semester.

- Encase mattress, box springs or futons in a bed bug proof encasement to keep insects out or contained.

- Store clothing and personal items in garment bags, luggage liners and laundry bags designed to keep out bed bugs.

- Keep floors clear and counter clutter to a minimum to reduce the risk of bed bug infiltration. Regular vacuuming along with discarding the bag or collected debris outside can assist as well.

- Frequently wash clothing and bedding in warm water and dry heat for a sustained period of more than 30 minutes.

- Don't bring home second-hand bedding, furniture (especially if upholstered), books or clothing before thorough inspection.

- Alert appropriate authorities if bed bugs are suspected in or around your dorm room, apartment building, or house . . .


Be sure to check out all my college-related articles and book reviews at College Confidential.