College Bedbugs

Arm yourself with bedbug knowledge to identify these unwanted guests in your dorm!

There’s a group taking over campuses across the country. Their favorite things include partying in your bedroom, eating, and cuddling with you at night. Hopefully you’ll never meet this group, since they cause a lot of irritation.

Unfortunately, I’m not talking about the latest band on tour. I’m talking about bedbugs! Campus cleaning crews do a great job cleaning the dorms before students move in, but that doesn’t mean this buggy bunch can’t get you! Arm yourself with bedbug knowledge, though, and you’ll be able to identify these uninvited guests.

Bedbug not-so-fun facts:

  • These little critters can travel in your suitcase, purse, or clothes, so if you’re going to a hotel or apartment, check out to see whether or not bedbugs have been found there.
  • Bedbugs are tiny, reddish-brown insects with a flat body. Since a full-grown adult is typically the size of an apple seed, they can be tough to find! Focus on the seams of a mattress, your bed headboard, inside or behind dressers, inside electrical sockets, behind wall paper, and in the creases of upholstered chairs when you’re searching.
  • They like to leave behind little presents for you, including their exoskeleton shells and, unfortunately, their poop (gross!). If you’re hunting directly for the assassin, keep in mind that bedbugs are nocturnal, so wait until it’s dark to catch them in the act.
  • That new stench in your dorm may not be the expired cheese puffs under your roommate’s bed; if you have noticed a new smell, it may very well be bedbugs. When the bugs are crushed, or if there’s heavy infestation, they can often omit a sweet, moldy-like aroma.
  • If you wake up with some bites on your skin, check the sheets for tiny spots of blood – this is a telltale sign that it’s a bedbug bite. These bites often look like a mosquito bite, but the appearance can range, depending on the person. Some can get a rash, while others get small red welts, whitish-pink bumps, or even small sores.
  • Don’t blame bedbugs on an untidy roommate or smelly laundry! Clean freaks, messy room dwellers, and everyone in between can be susceptible to bedbugs. They’re attracted to blood, warmth, and carbon dioxide (which we exhale), so as long as you’re a living, breathing creature, you’re at risk for attracting these pests. Because of this, there’s no prevention for bedbugs, so know the warning signs and contact residence life if you think these creepy-crawlers may be taking over your dorm!

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About Catherine Seraphin

Catherine Seraphin

Catherine Seraphin is currently the Multimedia Project Manager at Harvard University and a former Assistant Editor/Online Specialist for CollegeXpress. Catherine graduated from Penn State University with a degree in Journalism, a minor in English, and course concentrations in Business. She was previously an in-depth arts reporter for Penn State’s student-run newspaper, The Daily Collegian, and interned as a features reporter at a paper based in Southern Massachusetts. Catherine previously had a full-year internship with a well-known higher education PR firm. Her favorite experiences during college include her two years as a resident assistant and her involvement in THON, the largest student-run philanthropy in the world. There, she was on the PR committee that helped THON become the third most tweeted topic worldwide. When she isn’t working, you can find Catherine shopping, reading, or running.


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