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Admission Denied: Keeping Bed Bugs off College Campuses

MEMPHIS, TN--(Marketwired - August 17, 2016) - This fall, it's not just fraternity brothers and sorority sisters returning to college campuses.

As eager students and emotional parents arrive for move-in weekend, they may encounter some unanticipated and unwanted roommates: bed bugs. Orientation runaround, mismatched furniture, cramped living quarters and messy communal spaces are cornerstones of the college experience, but they also make campuses extremely vulnerable to infestations. Bed bugs can spread easily from one building to the next by crawling through cracks in the walls or floor and hitching rides on backpacks and clothing -- completely unbeknownst to the students around them.

Terminix®, America's number one provider of pest and termite control services, treats a wide range of university facilities each fall, from basketball courts and training centers to libraries and lecture halls. And every year, the number of bed bug service requests received by its branches continues to rise.

"College campuses are very interconnected, making a single infested futon a significant threat," said Tom Jeffords, regional technical specialist at Terminix. "Fortunately, there are some protective measures students and their families can take before they even set foot on campus to prevent the spread. By carefully following our tips, students can beat the bite and focus on their studying -- or whatever."

Back-to-School Bed Bug Tips From Terminix


  • Add a bed bug-proof mattress, pillow and box spring cover to your shopping list. Their protective casings can help prevent bed bugs from making your bunk bed their new hideout.

  • Thoroughly scan your room on move-in day. Take time to lift mattresses, move furniture and peek behind wooden headboards for any sign of bed bugs, including discarded shells, live bugs along mattress seams or furniture joints, a sweet musty odor or small blood stains from previous bite victims.

  • Crack open your textbooks. Bed bugs have been known to hitch a ride from one home to the next via used textbooks or loaners from the library.

  • Wash any used clothing. Items from thrift or consignment stores should be washed in warm soapy water before the first wear. Any items that cannot be washed such as shoes, backpacks or jackets can simply be run through the normal dry cycle in a clothes dryer to kill bed bugs and their eggs.


  • Pick up discarded furniture. Items found at consignment stores or on the side of the road may be nice on your wallet, but can easily introduce an infestation.

  • Leave jackets, backpacks or clothing on the floor. Hang up as many items as possible in your dorm room or apartment to reduce the chance of picking up stray pests.

  • Allow your backpack to come in contact with others. Whether it's during class, on the bus or in other public spaces, keep your bags and purses away from your neighbors'.

To help students determine the risk of infestation on their campus, Terminix recently revealed the worst cities in America for bed bug activity. Many of these cities are home to large universities, so college students in these areas should use extra precaution as they head back to school.

The top 15 cities* reporting bed bugs this year are:

  1. Detroit, Mich.

  2. Philadelphia, Pa.

  3. Cleveland-Akron, Ohio

  4. Los Angeles, Calif.

  5. Dayton, Ohio

  6. Chicago, Ill.

  7. Columbus, Ohio

  8. Cincinnati, Ohio

  9. Dallas-Forth Worth, Texas

  10. San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, Calif.

  11. Denver, Colo.

  12. Toledo, Ohio

  13. Oklahoma City, Okla.

  14. Baltimore, Md.

  15. New York, N.Y.

If you suspect a bed bug infestation, contact your residence hall director or landlord right away. Bed bugs are notoriously difficult to eliminate and, without the help of a professional, can hide undetected for months. Pest control technicians from Terminix are trained to identify favorite bed bug hiding spots and will use specialized tools to treat a budding infestation. Facilities managers can call Terminix at 1-877-TERMINIX to schedule a free inspection.

If bed bugs are discovered during the initial inspection, Terminix will develop a powerful, customized treatment for the space. Terminix bed bug services use a proprietary RapidFreeze® solution, which is fast, effective and nontoxic. RapidFreeze uses carbon dioxide (CO2) to freeze bed bugs in their tracks and prevent eggs and nymphs from hatching. RapidFreeze is perfect for use in dorm rooms, apartments, houses, public buildings and commercial facilities. For more information on Terminix bed bug treatments, visit Terminix.com/bed-bug-control.

*The list of top cities for bed bugs was created by compiling inbound lead data from the more than 300 Terminix branches across the country. The rankings represent Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) with the highest volume of calls from Jan. 1, 2015 to Dec. 17, 2015.

About Terminix

Terminix is the leading provider of termite and pest control services in the United States. Headquartered in Memphis, Tenn., Terminix services approximately 2.8 million residential and commercial customers in 47 states and 22 countries. Terminix provides pest control services and protection against termites, rodents and other pests threatening human health and/or safety. Terminix is a business unit of ServiceMaster Global Holdings, Inc. (SERV), a leading provider of essential residential and commercial services. To learn more about Terminix, visit www.terminix.com.

About ServiceMaster

ServiceMaster (SERV) solves the homeowner's dilemma. Every day, we visit more than 75,000 homes and businesses through our extensive service network of expert professionals. Technology powers our trusted experts to engage with customers so they can order, buy and receive services when, where and how they want them. Our well-recognized brands includes American Home Shield (home warranties), AmeriSpec (home inspections), Furniture Medic (furniture repair), Merry Maids (residential cleaning), ServiceMaster Clean (janitorial and residential floor cleaning), ServiceMaster Restore (disaster restoration) and Terminix (termite and pest control). Like, follow or visit us at facebook.com/ServiceMaster, linkedin.com/ServiceMaster, twitter.com/ServiceMaster, or servicemaster.com.