How Milwaukee College Students Can Prevent Bed Bugs

MILWAUKEE – Milwaukee was named in the top 50 bed bug-infested American cities, according to a new study.

The city ranked 44th on a list compiled by the commercial pest control company Terminix. The list was compiled using bedbug-specific data from the company’s nationwide offices, with most of the data collected between January 1 and August 20.

College students moving to campuses across the country can inadvertently bring unwanted roommates into dormitories. Bed bugs can easily get carried away on luggage, backpacks, and clothing, and can crawl through cracks in walls, making common areas in dorms prone to infestation.

Students can tell the presence of bed bugs by small blood stains on bed sheets, a musty smell, reddish brown stains on a mattress, and the bed bugs themselves. Bed bugs can also live in dressers, clothes, hallways, sofas, and mattresses.

Adult bed bugs are similar to the size, shape, and color of an apple seed, according to the company. Students should also watch out for newly hatched, cream-colored bed bug nymphs in their fitted sheets.

How to contain bed bugs in college dormitories

  • Place bed bug-proof covers on mattresses, pillows and box spring beds. Protective covers prevent the bed from becoming a breeding ground for bed bugs.
  • Thoroughly search the new dorm room or apartment on the day you move in. Take the time to lift mattresses, move furniture, and look behind the headboards for any signs of bed bugs. Some signs include discarded insect shells, live or dead insects on mattress seams or furniture joints, a musty smell, or blood stains from previous victims.
  • Review shared items such as textbooks. Bed bugs can travel from one place to another through used textbooks.
  • Wash all borrowed or used clothes in hot water according to the washing instructions provided.
  • Resist the urge to pick up discarded furniture. Free furniture is appealing, but lurking bed bug infestation is not.
  • Do not leave backpacks or clothing on beds, chairs, or upholstered furniture in someone else’s room. It’s an easy way to unwittingly hitchhike bed bugs.
  • Do not let backpacks come into contact with others. Brief contact with an infected backpack can be an unwanted ride for the parasite.

The three most common bed bug-infested cities were Los Angeles, Cleveland, and Philadelphia. Thirteen states had more than one city on the list, including Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas.

Courtesy Terminix

“Bed bugs go where people go, so they can be virtually anywhere,” said Rick Cooper, director of bed bug services at Terminix. Bed bugs can move between hotels, airports, schools or universities.

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