Bed Bugs in College Dorms

Remember when your kids were little and you’d joke as you tucked them into bed, “Good night, good night, don’t let the bed bugs bite!?” Fast forward to today; you’re helping pack their bags for college, maybe picking out some furniture from a thrift store for their dorm – but, have you thought about bed bugs? If not, you should because bed bugs in college dormitories, just like hotels, have become a nationwide epidemic.

Don’t let the bed bugs bite your college student!

Bed Bugs as Roommates

Your college student might be sharing his/her room with more than a few fellow students. Bed bugs may have hitched a ride in your roommate’s baggage, or that stuffed chair he/she picked up from the local thrift store, or the used mattress bought for $100 bucks. … The use of used mattresses and box springs, sofas, and chairs, whether purchased or given, has been the number one way bed bugs get introduced into campus dormitories.
Bed bug control for college dorms and shared living quarters can be challenging but success is possible.
Off-campus housing has a big impact on how bed bugs are spread. Apartment buildings near colleges and universities are continually fighting bed bug infestations. All it takes is for one student to visit and/or spend the night at an infested apartment; then the next thing you know, they’ve brought bed bugs back via their backpack, clothing, or shoes. Although there are various types of treatments for bed bugs, the prep time can be extremely daunting. All bedding and all clothing have to be placed in a hot, hot dryer or dry cleaned; bed frames have to be taken apart; pictures removed from walls … very time consuming.

Bed bugs are very flat until they’ve had a blood meal, then they become dark and plump.

And, should your son or daughter return home for a visit, they could very well bring home stowaway bed bugs! Guess what that means? You get to go through all the same prep and treatment in your home as well!

Prevention Tips for Bed Bug in College Dorms

The primary objective is to prevent bed bug movement to hosts and areas of bed bug harborage. A few preventative measures will keep your student from “letting the bed bugs bite.”
  • If the dormitory provides the bed; before you unpack those sheets, before you even take your bags into the dorm room, check the bed, both mattress and box spring for bed bugs. Look in the corners, in the seams, along the edge of the mattress, and inside the box spring for dark spots (bed bug feces) and actual bugs or bug casings.
  • Interview your roommates: Have they traveled recently? (stayed in hotels or just arrived from another country). Have they checked their beds? It’s a sensitive subject but one that should be addressed right away.

Over the last decade, college dorms are seeing an increase in bed bugs.

  • Check drawers in any existing dorm furniture such as the nightstand and dresser, especially in the corners and underneath for bed bug activity.
  • If you really want that upholstered chair from the thrift store, pull the cushions off, look in the corners, underneath, etc. to see if there is any evidence of bed bugs before purchasing it.
  • Purchase mattress and box spring covers designed to retard and keep bed bugs out.
  • Eliminating the box spring and just having a mattress covered in plastic is another way of keeping bed bugs off the bed.
  • Keep clutter down. Strewn clothes all over beds and the floor and “stuff” everywhere will become bed bug nesting sites. Normally, bed bugs are found near and on the bed but anywhere human bodies are at rest i.e. a recliner, or stuffed chair, if a bed bug can feed, it will hang around there too.

Encasing both mattress and box spring with covers designed to keep bed bugs out is a good idea for students living in dormitories. infestations.

Most college dorm rooms are cluttered with clothes, backpacks, etc. which become nesting areas for bed bugs and ways in which they can travel to new hosts. Talking to your college student about bed bugs and clutter may go in one ear and out the other but let him start getting bit and he just might clean his room!
Bed bugs are usually found on or near beds but they also appear around other sleeping and resting areas such as sofas and chairs.
We don’t like to think of our children being exposed to things like bed bugs but yet, we also don’t like the idea of their beds being sprayed with pesticides. There are different ways of treating bed bugs, including steam treatment but steam cleaning will not necessarily remove all bed bugs and bed bug eggs.

Cluttered and dirty dorm rooms are a breeding ground for bed bugs and other pests.

The deepest cracks and crevices where bed bugs hide are hard to manage with just steam. Steamers do a very good job of destroying bed bug eggs if they can be found and accessed, however, It is likely that some form of long-lasting pesticide will be required to support long-term control and elimination of any bed bugs that have not been picked up by a vacuum.

Bed Bug Control

Managing and preventing bed bugs on college and university campuses is challenging but obtainable. Hearts Pest Management service professionals are experts at bed bug identification and treatment. We offer colleges and universities bed bug inspections free-of-charge. We also have bed bug monitoring maintenance plans available. Please call for more information at:


If you prefer, you can complete the form below and a caring Hearts Pest Management representative will contact you shortly. Let us help!
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