The Uniqueness of Bed Bugs at Colleges and Universities

Multi-occupant dwelling living environments can create a perfect storm for the establishment of bed bug infestations. However, colleges and universities offer an especially unique situation. Not only is the living environment itself very different than standard residential sites but many factors must be considered in how you react to an infestation.  Let’s take a closer look at how to deal with bed bugs in colleges and university environments.

For starters, dormitories and campus housing bring together students from all over the world. That fact alone raises ‘antennae’ regarding bed bug concerns. The upsurge in international travel throughout the world, especially when involving locales where bed bugs may be more common, has contributed to the rise in U.S. infestations. Another consideration is that some students come from parts of the world where bed bugs may be more socially acceptable, and so, living with low-level infestations may be ‘considered’ a way of life. Student habits such as: sleeping at a friend’s off-campus apartment; bringing second hand furniture into their rooms; traveling back and forth to their homes; and, international travel can all place them at higher risk for a bed bug infestation. 

The uniqueness of bed bugs at colleges does not end with the many entryways that bed bugs can be introduced into student housing. Treatment must often be customized and many sensitive issues considered when planning to combat bed bugs on college campuses.

Consider the following factors:

• Most American children have never before had to deal with a bed bug infestation
• Parents have very low tolerance for having any type of pest in their child’s living environment, let alone one that may be brought back home with them
• With the high cost of a college education and campus housing one would expect a pest-free environment
• A varying opinion on the use of pesticides in and around college students

Since it is impossible to stop the introduction of bed bugs onto college campuses, the ultimate goal is to stop the spread. Therefore, the best approach is a proactive one versus a reactive one. The use of an active liner such as ActiveGuard Mattress Liners is an excellent tool in the toolbox for colleges and universities.  Understanding that it is impossible to prevent their introduction of bed bugs, taking a proactive preventive approach to stop an introduction from turning into a full-fledged infestation is unquestionably prudent. ActiveGuard is installed like a fitted sheet, requires no upkeep and offers world-class prevention and control for up to two years. It is cost-efficient, easy to install and will protect the college and university’s students, beds and ultimately their reputation. To learn more about ActiveGuard visit

This article was adapted from Dr. Philip G. Koehler’s (PhD Professor, Entomology & Nematology Department, University of Florida) excerpt in ‘Bed Bugs & Prevention… Is It Possible?’ that originally appear in PCT Magazine’s December 2016 Issue. Click here to read the story in its entirety.

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