Sound Advice from Our Very Own ‘Patty’ on Preventing Bed Bugs When Your College Student Returns Home

Hi, I’m Patty! I am your typical suburban wife and mom to three college-aged boys. And so, as the spring semester winds down I prepare my home (and my mind too) for the return of my boys from college and internships this year.  I’m not going to lie, bed bugs are right up there on my list of concerns. You see, my boys have a lot of ‘stuff’. And, of course, that ‘stuff’ comes along with them whenever they return home. I always wonder what else they might be bringing back home to me after months of living amongst other students at school.

But, since the return of bed bugs in the 90’s I’m proud to say I’ve had three boys go through the ranks of college living, travel back and forth from college and home umpteen times,  and I’ve remained successful in protecting us all from bed bugs. I created a system that I have found pretty nifty to keep bed bugs out of my home. And, after coming to work here at Allergy Technologies, I have picked up a few tips from the entomologists that I have gotten to know that I want to share with you!  First of all, trust me when I say this… Bed bugs are not something you want in your home! From what I’ve learned, it’s almost as easy as a stroke of bad luck to end up with an infestation. Did you know that just one impregnated female bed bug hitchhiking into your home could end up with you having a full-fledged bed bug infestation? 

So, back to my bed bug prevention system. To protect us all from bed bugs I have come up with the following steps and have been following them for years. I ran my ‘system’ past the entomologists that I work with and they have given me their stamp of approval that I’m doing all that I can do to prevent bed bugs from coming home with my boys. Here are the steps that I would like to share with you so you can also successfully protect your family from bed bugs:

1. At the start of each school year I always cover my child’s bed at college with an ActiveGuard® Mattress Liner. The liner goes on as easy as a fitted sheet and should not be washed, not hard for my boys. ActiveGuard prevents and controls bed bugs for 2 years by actually killing bed bugs that come into contact with the fabric. But fear not, if you did not start the school year out with an active liner, you can still pick up with Step 2. 

2. Cover every bed in your home with an ActiveGuard Mattress Liner. Place it on the mattress or box spring; either place works equally well.  This simple step will prevent and control any bed bugs that may be introduced into your home before an infestation has a chance to take hold.

3. When leaving for home, have the college student pack all of his or her belongings into strong plastic bags and seal them. Upon returning home DO NOT return the belongings to the bedroom.  Please have them leave their stuff in the garage, car or even outdoors until you, or preferably they, are ready to do the laundry.

4. Wash and dry all fabrics on the hottest temperature that the fabric will allow for at least 20-30 minutes. This simple step will kill bed bugs at all life stages including egg, nymph and adult. Clothing may now be returned to the bedroom and placed back in the closet or dresser.

5. If any clothing was packed into a suitcase, duffel bag or other garment bag that was stored with the student at school be sure to wash and dry that bag on the hottest temperature that the fabric will allow. For luggage that cannot be washed, thoroughly inspect and vacuum both the inside and the outside of the luggage.

6. Store luggage in the basement, attic or garage away from sleeping areas; preferably in a sealed plastic bag or container.

7. Inspect other items, particularly those soft furnishings such as chairs, pillows, curtains, etc. for bed bugs. Using a flashlight, inspect seams, folds and tufts in fabric for areas that bed bugs may hide. If items are clean you may return them to your home.

8. Regularly inspect the beds for bed bugs. Look at all the nooks and crannies in the mattress, box spring, headboard and frame.  A thorough inspection when you are changing the sheets should do it. The best way to protect yourself is to be educated on these little blood suckers. These Five Signs of a Bed Bug Infestation can help you identify bed bugs early on so you can take quick action.

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