How to Keep Bed Bugs from Coming Home with Your College Student

November 23, 2015 by Doug Moore

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Spring Break is almost here and your college student young adult will be coming home.

As bed bugs spread, more college campuses are battling the bloodthirsty pests. College dorms can be incubators for bed bugs. They hitchhike into the dorm as new residents move in each semester or on visiting friends. College dorms tend to be cluttered, giving these tiny insects lots of places to hide. And with all those students to feed on, the bed bugs will never lack a meal in the dorm.

When your child comes home for Spring Break and before they head down to Mexico or the Caribbean, they may bring along some unwelcome guests if you’re not careful. Whether or not you know your child’s dorm is infested with bed bugs, it’s smart to take some precautions each time they come home.

Follow these tips to help keep bed bugs from coming home with your college student.

Before Your Child Comes Home from College – How to Contain Any Bed Bugs:

First, ask your child to bag or seal any belongings they are bringing home from the dorm. Your first line of defense is containment.

  • Ask them to put any clothing, bedding, or other items that can be laundered in plastic garbage bags. They should tie the bags tightly.
  • If there is access to a portable vacuum, ask your child to empty their backpack completely and vacuum it, inside and out.
  • If possible, have them pack their books and electronics, as well as other personal items, in large, sealable bags.

When Your Child Arrives Home from College – Keep the Bed Bugs Out of Your Home:

Don’t let your child bring their belongings in the house and unpack. Take time to inspect and clean everything first. If you have a garage or outdoor shed, that’s a great place to unpack and inspect their things before they are allowed in the house.

  • Any and all items that can be laundered, whether they need it or not, should go right into the washing machine. Wash everything on the highest temperature allowable for the fabric. Then be sure to dry everything on the highest heat possible for at least 30 minutes.
  • Books and other items that can’t be easily laundered or cleaned can be placed in a freezer to kill any hidden bed bugs. Leave them sealed in plastic bags when you put them in the freezer. You don’t want bed bugs wandering around in your fridge! This is only practical if the items can stay in the freezer for at least 5 days, however. Any bed bugs eggs can remain viable for several days.
  • Bed bugs can hide inside laptops and other electronics. Inspect these carefully before bringing them inside the house. On most laptops, you can remove the keyboard to check underneath.
  • Check the lining and seams of any backpacks or bags. Bed bugs like to hide in the folds, seams, and pockets, and can get under the lining if there’s a tear. If you have a steam cleaner, you can treat backpacks and other similar items with steam.
  • Any hard items can be wiped down, and should be inspected for bed bugs as you clean them.
  • Better yet, invest in a PackTite Portable Heating Unit and place any items that cannot be laundered into the bag to kill any bed bugs.

For more information about bed bugs, heat treatment, and canine bed bug scent detection, click here.

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