Bedbugs Pose Potential Threat on Campus this Fall
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Aug. 26, 2013 // PRNewswire // - As students return to college campuses this fall, many could face frightening roommates: bedbugs.
Terminix®, the world's largest pest control provider, has reported a year-over-year increase in the prevalence of bedbugs in nearly every area of the country. Close living quarters and frequent visitors -- typical of college dorm rooms and apartments -- can allow bedbugs to spread, shortening the distance for the pest to travel to its next home.
Bedbugs are nocturnal creatures, and therefore difficult to catch in the act of feeding. Tell-tale signs include brown spots on bedding, small blood smears on sheets and the development of a strong, musty odor in heavy infestations. Beyond their annoying bites and welts, research indicates bedbugs can pose physical and psychological health concerns as well.
Bedbugs are not a sign of unsanitary conditions, but rather an unfortunate side-effect when many people come together in high-traffic areas, including college classrooms, libraries and dormitories. Bedbugs can spread from one room to the next by crawling through wall voids, under baseboards, etc. This means one student's infestation could quickly become a neighbor's infestation.
Dorms are also vulnerable because of the traffic they see during the summer months, when they are often used to house students or others who are visiting for various camps and orientations. Although a student may return to the same room he or she vacated the previous spring, dozens of others could have called the same room home during the summer break.
Earlier this summer, Terminix ranked the cities with the most bedbug activity nationwide. Many of these cities are home to large universities, so college students should be especially careful and watch vigilantly for signs of the pests.
The top 10 most bedbug-infested cities are:
1. Cincinnati, OH
2. Philadelphia, PA
3. Detroit, MI
4. New York, NY
5. Columbus, OH
6. Los Angeles, CA*
7. Dallas, TX*
8. Chicago, IL*
9. Houston, TX*
10. Baltimore, MD*
Terminix compiled the list using bedbug-specific call volume to its more than 300 branches across the U.S. The company evaluated complaint calls from customers as well as confirmed cases by service professionals when creating the ranking. Cities followed by an asterisk are also among the top 15 cities posting the greatest increase in total number of bedbug customer calls from Jan-May 2013 compared to the same period in 2012.
"Bedbugs continue to have a significant presence across the country, particularly on college campuses, and pose concern for public health," said Stan Cope, PhD and entomologist with Terminix. "Bedbug infestations can cause emotional stress and irritability, which is the last thing students need to deal with on top of their heavy workloads. If you think you have an issue with bedbugs, you should immediately have the facility manager or resident's assistant contact a professional to treat your living space."
Backpacks, purses and pant legs can all provide transportation for bedbugs. In addition to hiding in mattresses, bedbugs can also stowaway in desks, baseboards and even small openings in wallpaper.
Terminix offers the following tips for students returning to campus this fall:
- Use zippered encasements on mattresses and box springs.
- In the dormitory, hang all jackets or clothing. Leave nothing lying on the floor.
- Never pick up and repurpose used mattresses, crates or furniture discarded by others.
- Inspect items such as used books before bringing them into the living area.
- Wash (in warm water) any previously-worn clothing from thrift or consignment stores.
- Don't allow your backpack or purse to sit on the floor or in close proximity to other bags.
Bedbugs are notoriously difficult to eliminate and often found in locations that make them difficult to detect without the help of a professional. Pest control experts, such as those at Terminix, are trained in identifying these hiding spots and using highly specialized tools to treat bed bug infestations.
Terminix is the world's largest pest control provider. Headquartered in Memphis, Tenn., Terminix services approximately 3 million residential and commercial customers in 47 states and 14 countries. Terminix provides pest control services and protection against termites, rodents and other pests threatening human health and/or safety. Terminix is a subsidiary of The ServiceMaster Company, one of the world's largest residential service networks. The company's brands include Terminix®, TruGreen®, American Home Shield®, ServiceMaster Clean®, Merry Maids®, Furniture Medic® and AmeriSpec®. To learn more about Terminix, visit www.Terminix.com.
With a global network of more than 7,300 company-owned, franchise and licensed locations, Memphis-based ServiceMaster® is one of the world's largest residential service networks. The company's high-profile brands are Terminix, TruGreen, American Home Shield, ServiceMaster Clean, Merry Maids, Furniture Medic and AmeriSpec. Through approximately 20,000 corporate associates and a franchise network that independently employs an estimated 31,000 additional people, the ServiceMaster Family of Brands® provided services and products to approximately 8 million customers during the last 12 months. The company's market-leading brands provide a range of residential and commercial services including termite and pest control; lawn, tree and shrub care; home warranties and preventative maintenance contracts; furniture repair; home inspections; home cleaning; janitorial services; and disaster restoration. Go to www.servicemaster.com for more information about ServiceMaster or follow the company at twitter.com/ServiceMaster or facebook.com/TheServiceMasterCo.