What Students Should Know About Bed Bugs

Northwood was “bitten” to find out that bed bugs were found in the bedsheets of several students less than a day into the new school year (news article). This has led many students to ponder, “what are bed bugs?” So let’s all open up our textbooks to chapter one and learn about these pests.

According to a 2010 Australian Biological Resources Study, bed bugs belong to the biological family Cimicidae of the insect order Hemiptera. These bugs have six legs, flat and ovalish bodies, and prefer warm and dry places.

They feed exclusively on blood, which explains why beds are the perfect location for them to lay eggs and have a nice, tasty meal. While as many as 50-70% of people may not react to bed bug bites, in other people bites lead to itchy, red bumps on the skin, but they can also cause skin rashes, allergic symptoms, and even psychological effects in rare cases. So if you wake up one morning and find itchy, red bumps on your skin, or have any sort of allergic symptoms, bed bugs may have infested your bed.

Protect your bed from bed bugs

Here are some tips for you to reduce your chances of winding up on some insect’s dinner plate for the night:

  1. Always wash new clothes that you buy before you wear them or put them away. Fitting rooms are sometimes breeding grounds for bed bugs, lice, and other types of fleas.
  2. Wash your sheets and bedding about every week or so.
  3. Never buy clothes and/or fabric from a yard sale. Yard sales are notorious for harboring bed bugs.
  4. Don’t be afraid to speak up and tell the nurse, your advisor or another adult if you suspect that you have bed bugs in your room. If they are left undealt with, they can wreak havoc on yourself, your roommate, your dorm room, and your school.

Bed bugs are certainly a nuisance, but if you take the right steps, we can all keep these naughty little neighbors out of our beds and out of our lives.

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