The semester is coming to a close and you are looking forward to returning home for summer break. However, there have been rumors about bed bugs in the dorms. Avoid accidentally bringing bed bugs home with you by following these simple steps:
- Washing and Drying: Gather all your clothing for a thorough cleaning. Even if your clothes are already clean, they could be harboring bed bugs. Wash all clothes on a hot setting and then dry on high. Ideally, you should do this at a laundromat, away from the source of the infestation.
- Sealing Your Clothes in Plastic: As you pull the clothes from the dryer, place them in a plastic bag and seal the bag using the drawstrings and duct tape. Make sure there are no holes in the bag and the clothing is in no way exposed. Double bagging the clothes is a good idea, especially if the clothes will be going back to your dorm before you head back home. If you have a car, leave your clothes in the plastic bag in your car where they are likely safer from infestation.
- Washing Clothing at Home: If you used a suitcase or backpack to transport your clothes home, leave your luggage in the garage or outdoors when you arrive home and promptly wash all clothing in hot water and dry on a hot setting. If you opt not to wash the already clean clothes, run them through the dryer on the hottest setting for at least twenty to thirty minutes to kill any potential bugs.
- Auto Treatment: Bed bugs may be hiding in the vehicle that you used to get to and from the dorm. When you get home, use a spray that has been approved for use on bed bugs to treat the interior of your vehicle.
- Electronics: Bed bugs can hide in radios, clocks, laptops, and many other electronics. They seek the darkness of the small nooks and crannies. Use a flashlight to investigate these electronics. Encasing your electronics in a plastic bag with a bed bug vapor pad will effectively kill the bugs without damaging your belongings.
- Books: Your textbooks are a great hiding place for bed bugs. They will burrow into the spine of the book and hide by the binding and glue, requiring close inspection. The same treatment for electronics can be used for books.
- Take off clothing: Before you enter the house. Take off all your clothing and shoes and place them into a plastic bag. Immediately put the clothing and shoes through the dryer to effectively kill any bed bugs.
- Furnishings: If you plan to bring home personal furnishings or mattresses you should store them in the garage and treat them with a bed bug approved pesticide. You might even want to consider calling an exterminator to fully treat the furnishings before you introduce them into the house.
Treating Your Home for Bed Bugs
Even with the best prevention methods, you might still inadvertently bring bed bugs home from university. If you start to notice signs or bites, you should promptly treat the home before the infestation has a chance to grow. A small colony is far easier to treat than a large one.
If you’ve brought bed bugs home from the dorm then you know exactly how difficult they are to eradicate. It can be a costly and time-consuming endeavor. If you plan to return to the university after summer you should take a few preventatives in your new dorm room:
- Seal all cracks and crevices where bed bugs can spread between dorm rooms.
- Use a bed bug spray to kill any bugs that might be residing in your new dorm.
- Use a mattress cover to protect your new bed.
- Place bed bug traps under all four legs of your bed. The traps might not keep all bugs from reaching you, but they will let you know if you have an infestation.
If the infestation in your dorm room is serious, you’ll want to have the room professionally exterminated. Unfortunately, if the entire dormitory doesn’t undergo treatment then the bed bugs are likely to come back. Preventing an infestation in the first place is your best option.
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