5 Methods to Prevent Pests from Entering Your Dorm Room

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Dorm Life

Enjoy your independence without the presence of bugs! Want to learn more? Check out these images of insects.
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So, you are shifting to a dorm room. Congrats! Maybe this is your initial experience of freedom.

However, living on a college campus means you won’t be alone. You’ll encounter untidy, noisy hall mates and a multitude of new neighbors. Dorm life can be an overwhelming situation, so it’s crucial to make your room as much of a sanctuary as you can. It’s worth investing your time (and a little bit of money) to keep it clean, secure, and free of intruders.

That being said, you can’t do much to keep your roommate away. Therefore, we’ll focus on the genuinely unpleasant: the flying, crawling, beady-eyed, and blood-sucking pests. It’s simpler to prevent an infestation than to deal with one that’s already in progress, so it’s better to be aware of what you might encounter from the start. Right?

5: You Might be Late to the Party

A bed bug can easily survive a summer without human prey.
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Your new dorm room might appear spotless, with a name tag that your RA stayed up all night to create adorning the door. Sure, it appears inviting. However, that doesn’t mean it’s pristine or even clean. And it certainly doesn’t mean that your new home sweet home is entirely yours.

The best time to prevent an infestation is before it even begins. As soon as you enter your new room, inspect it carefully for any indications of a bug or rodent infestation. You’ll be able to see everything without any obstructions, and if there are any issues, they can be addressed before the pests have a chance to settle in.

Any damage to a window or screen can provide refuge to a variety of insects, whereas mice might have had the opportunity to play around campus unnoticed. Therefore, inspect windowsills, lighting fixtures, closets, baseboards, and even the edges of the carpeting closely. While some pests are obvious, others may be more difficult to detect.

This is also the best opportunity to search for bed bugs. These disgusting little creatures can survive without feeding for several months, so contrary to popular belief, they can easily survive a summer without human prey. Carefully inspect the seams of your mattress and any cracks in your bed frame. If you find them, it will be much easier to eliminate them before unpacking your bedding and making your bed. (Also, inspect the perimeter of the room along the floorboards and any other soft or upholstered furniture.)

All clear? Then it’s time to unpack your suitcase and give your teddy bear some fresh air.

4: Keep the Windows Closed

It’s tempting to underestimate the importance of this one. After all, an open window allows you to ventilate the room, look out over the lawns, blast some music, and generally enjoy the sense of community that a college campus is meant to foster.

Opening your dorm room windows on a sunny day is a good way to let fresh air in, but it also allows pests to enter. Ladybugs, which are resistant to pesticides, are a common pest in dorm rooms. It’s best to limit the amount of time windows are left open and to close them at night or when you’re away. Installing screens or using a window fan can help with ventilation. It’s important to keep food locked up in sturdy, heavy plastic containers to prevent mice and rats from getting to it. Avoid leaving out candy dishes and fruit bowls as well. Fresh flowers can also attract insects. Food trash should be thrown out immediately to avoid attracting flies. Doing laundry regularly is important to prevent bugs like silverfish from making a home in your clothing.

Thankfully, there’s a simple solution to this problem. Wash your clothes regularly, as often as possible. While it may be time-consuming and expensive, it’s much better than turning your undershirts into a breeding ground for bugs.

Between washes, be sure to keep your dirty laundry off the floor. Even if you’re too tired to put your socks in the hamper at night, take a few seconds in the morning to pick them up and put them where they belong. Bugs aren’t picky about what they nest in, so don’t give them the chance. Additionally, invest in a hamper that sits a few inches off the ground on a metal frame.

Dirty towels are a major culprit for attracting bugs. Even if you reuse your towels a few times, make sure to hang them up to dry instead of leaving them wadded up in a corner or under the bed. Wet towels are a favorite of silverfish, and you don’t want to invite those nasty creatures into your living space.

And if your towel has been sitting in a dirty area of your room, it’s best to just get a new one altogether.

1: Choose Your Bedfellows Wisely

Bedbugs are becoming the new cockroaches in terms of notoriety. While both pests have been around for a long time, bedbugs are seen as a more significant threat due to their ability to spread quickly and deeply infiltrate your living space. They’re also difficult to eradicate once they’ve infested your home. And let’s be honest, they’re pretty gross. While roaches have been known to feed on human blood, they have other things going on in their lives, unlike bedbugs.

Bedbugs are particularly dangerous in college dorms because they thrive in densely populated areas. Contrary to popular belief, even a clean room can become infested in a multi-unit dwelling. Bedbugs can easily move from one area to another undetected, which is why hotels are also prone to infestations. Experts believe that bedbugs often enter dorms by hitching a ride in students’ luggage during travel. This means that even if you have good hygiene habits, you’re still at risk of a bedbug infestation.

Bedbugs have a preference for burrowing inside mattresses due to the dark and dense environment they offer, with plenty of seams, nooks, and hidey-holes. Additionally, being close to a sleeping human is no coincidence. Once bedbugs have infiltrated a mattress, most believe that it is a lost cause, beyond saving. While treatment is possible, it is often expensive and not always effective, as bedbugs can burrow deep where chemicals and heat may not reach. However, a bedbug-proof mattress cover is now available as an alternative. While it may seem pricey at around $50, it is a much cheaper investment than the money, time, and headache caused by an infestation. The cover is made of dense material that prevents bedbugs from burrowing or biting through, with zippers designed to prevent anything from fitting through the grooves. It also prevents any bedbugs that have already nested in the mattress from escaping or laying eggs that could hatch later. Although the cover will not kill bedbugs or prevent them from entering a room, it will discourage them from remaining inside the mattress. If there is a box spring available, it is recommended to apply the cover to that as well. More information on keeping pests out of a dorm room is available in the author’s note titled “5 Ways to Keep Pests Out of Your Dorm Room.”

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  • Colonial Pest Control Inc. “Bed Bugs In Dorms.” Sept. 13, 2011. (June 24, 2012) http://www.colonialpest.com/blog/bed-bugs-in-dorms
  • Eden Advanced Pest Technologies. “Dorm Room Pest Control and Prevention.” Sept. 14, 2011. (June 27, 2012) http://www.edenpest.com/blog/post/bed-bug-pest-control-pests-to-look-for-in-dorm-room
  • Konkle, Stephanie. “Ole Miss, Oxford cope with ladybug invasion.” The Daily Mississippian. Dec. 3, 2009. (June 24, 2012) http://thedmonline.com/article/ole-miss-oxford-cope-ladybug-invasion
  • UMass Housing Department. “It is a ladybug and stinkbug season!” (June 29, 2012) http://www.housing.umass.edu/pdf/Ladybugs%20in%20your%20room.pdf
  • Warner, Jennifer. “Foggers No Match For Bedbugs.” WebMD. June 3, 2012. (June 24, 2012) http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/news/20120603/foggers-no-match-for-bedbugs


1. What are common pests found in dorm rooms?

Common pests found in dorm rooms include ants, bed bugs, cockroaches, and mice. These pests can easily enter a dorm room through open windows or doors, cracks in the walls or floors, or on the clothes and belongings of students.

2. How can I prevent pests from entering my dorm room?

To prevent pests from entering your dorm room, make sure all windows and doors are closed and sealed properly. Use weather stripping and door sweeps to close gaps around doors and windows. Also, avoid leaving food and drinks out in the open and clean spills immediately.

3. How can I get rid of pests if they are already in my dorm room?

If pests are already in your dorm room, contact your school’s housing department or facilities management. They can provide pest control services and help you eliminate the problem. You can also use traps and baits, but make sure to follow the instructions carefully and keep them out of reach of other students.

4. Are there any natural remedies for keeping pests out of my dorm room?

Some natural remedies for keeping pests out of your dorm room include using essential oils like peppermint, lavender, or tea tree oil. You can also use diatomaceous earth or boric acid, which are natural substances that can kill pests. However, be cautious when using these remedies and follow the instructions carefully.

5. What should I do if I see pests in a common area of my dorm?

If you see pests in a common area of your dorm, report it to your school’s housing department or facilities management immediately. They can take action to eliminate the pests and prevent them from spreading to other areas of the dorm.

6. How can I prevent bed bugs from entering my dorm room?

To prevent bed bugs from entering your dorm room, avoid bringing used furniture or bedding into your room. When staying in a hotel or traveling, inspect your luggage and clothing for bed bugs before bringing them into your dorm room. Also, keep your room clean and clutter-free to reduce hiding spots for bed bugs.

7. What should I do if I suspect a bed bug infestation in my dorm room?

If you suspect a bed bug infestation in your dorm room, contact your school’s housing department or facilities management immediately. They can provide pest control services and help you eliminate the problem. Avoid attempting to treat the infestation on your own, as this can make the problem worse and spread the bed bugs to other areas of the dorm.

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