Don't Let Bed Bugs Distract Your Kids This School Year
September 3, 2014
This is a busy and exciting time of year, as students are getting ready to move back to school and into their dorms or new apartments! There are a lot of things to remember and often many trips are taken to the store for those small forgotten items. We understand that this is an exciting (and hectic) time in both you and your child's life, but don't rush the moving process too much!
Once you pull up, it is easy to get swept up in the chaos of unpacking, moving in all the new furniture, grocery shopping and getting everything ready for your kids to help them start the school year off organized, even if it doesn't last long - you tried, right! But don't forget to add this important step to your move-in ritual: CHECKING FOR BED BUGS. We recommend checking for bed bugs before you make the bed or even bring in the rest of your furniture, clothes, pillows etc.
What do I need to look for?
Besides just looking for bed bugs themselves, there are a few other warning signs you can be on the look out for. Adult bed bugs are small, brownish insects that have oval shaped bodies that are normally the size of an apple seed, and as thin as a credit card. They live off the blood of animals or humans and, after eating, their bodies swell and often have a red tint. They have short legs, but they can move very quickly. It is almost impossible to spot baby bed bugs since they are the size of a speck of dust when they are hatched.
Looking for the bed bugs themselves is very important but since they can be hard to see, you can also look for some additional signs of bed bugs. These signs can include:
blood stains on sheets pillow cases or the mattress and pillows themselves
rust colored stains on sheets, mattress, box spring, or walls surrounding the bed
musty odor appearing to come from the mattress or pillows
bed bug excrement, shells or skins
Where should I start?
Step 1: Start by carefully checking the mattress for bed bugs and the other signs listed above. This can be done by using a flashlight and a credit card. Start by combing over the surface area of the mattress and be certain to check the seams and piping. If your credit card can fit in a crack of the mattress so can those pesky bed bugs!
Step 2: Flip the mattress and repeat step one on the opposite side. While you are flipping the mattress watch for scattering bed bugs either on the mattress or the box spring / bed frame.
Step 3: Check the box spring in the same manner you did the mattress. Don't forget to meticulously check the four corners under the plastic corner guards of the box spring, as this is one of the most common hiding spaces for bed bugs and their eggs.
Step 4: Check the bed frame and the wall around the bed.
These steps can be repeated on any futons, couches and fabric furniture provided with the new room.
Reminders for your college students or young adults:
Bed bugs can be in couches, futons, arm chairs and any other fabric items, not just beds!
Even though the thought of free furniture is enticing for college students and young adults starting out in their new homes, it usually comes with some sort of pests. Whether this is bed bugs or other insects, encourage your kids not to take furniture unless they know who is providing it to them and they check for bed bugs.
This also includes furniture that is left on the street! If it has been sitting on the curb the chances of outdoor insects as well as bed bugs dramatically increases.
If they know of a building that has bed bugs, they need to steer clear! Bed bugs can hitch a ride back to their room on the cuff of their pants, their shoe, backpack etc. From there, these bed bugs will easily infest their room and furniture when they return home.
Under conducive circumstances, bed bugs can grow to maturity in approximately a month, and they generally live for six months to one year. One single female bed bug can lay up to 300 eggs in her lifetime. For this reason, it can be very easy for one bed bug to rapidly turn into an infestation.
If you are worried your student brought bed bugs into your home do not hesitate to contact us today! We have the only two NESDECA certified dogs for canine bed bug inspection in Iowa. Learn more on our website or contact us!