Living in a dorm room is part of the quintessential college experience. It’s your first taste of living outside of your parent’s home and gives you a chance to taste freedom on a whole new level. You get the opportunity to live with another person your age, share the same experiences, set your own ground rules, and come and go when you please.
For all of the good that comes with living in your own space, being in a dorm room also has some responsibility attached to it. If you aren’t careful and proactive, bugs and pests will move in and call it home as well.
4 Tips for a Bug-Free Dorm Room
If you think about it, dorms aren’t the cleanest. Housing hundreds of young adults in close proximity for years at a time doesn’t exactly spell out sanitary. Apart from new construction, most dorms also have some issues – including problems that allow bugs and critters to find their way inside. Combine that with a lack of overall cleanliness from residents and you have a recipe for disaster.
The good news is that you do have some control over the state of your own room. If you and your roommate get on the same page, you should be able to keep bugs out and enjoy a clean, safe living environment. Here are some of the steps you’ll need to take:
1. Investigate Before Unpacking
“The best time to wage war on an intrusion is before it even starts,” blogger Cherise Threewitt advises. “As soon as you arrive in your new room, you should look carefully for any signs of a bug or rodent infestation. You’ll be able to see everything without any obstructions, and if there are any problems, they can be taken care of before bugs get a chance to nest in your stuff.”
This also pushes the responsibility for dealing with the bug infestation onto the dorm supervisor. You haven’t even moved in, so it isn’t your problem. They’ll either need to deal with it or put you in a new room.
2. Keep the Room Clean
Bugs like messes. Whether it’s leftover food, half-empty cans of soda, dirty clothes, or overflowing trash cans, clutter gives bugs something to hide in. Preventing trash and clutter from building up in your dorm room eliminates these opportunities and gives pests fewer places to call home. Your mother may not be around to remind you, but keep your room clean.
3. Think About What You Bring In
What are you bringing into your dorm room? While it’s nice to spruce up your room with some furniture and decorations, be wary of hauling in anything that could present an increased risk of an infestation. For example, thrift store furniture can be a good deal, but there’s typically a reason someone gave it away. Could it have bed bugs or other pests inside? Take extra precautions to make sure you aren’t unknowingly bringing bugs inside.
4. Deal With Pests ASAP
As soon as you notice that you have a bug problem, do something about it. Here are some suggestions for common pests:
- Ants: Get rid of all food and clean up any substances that may be attracting them. Next, put out ant traps. These traps will actually attract the ants and they’ll carry the deadly poison inside back to the colony.
- Moths: In some areas of the country, moths can be a big problem. If you notice a presence of them in your dorm room, invest in some non-toxic clothes moth traps and place them near the problem area. It’ll take a few weeks, but this should correct the problem.
- Bed Bugs: If you see signs of a bed bug infestation, don’t try to handle it on your own. Immediately contact your dorm supervisor to handle the problem.
Get Ahead of the Game
You can’t let a minor bug problem become a major catastrophe. As soon as you detect the presence of bugs, be on the lookout for more. If you discover – as is often the case – that the bug isn’t there in isolation, you’ll want to take proactive measures to address the problem at the source. The sooner you do this, the better your results will be.