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Sleep Tight. Don't Let the Bed Bugs Bite!
When you think of you're child's living situation at college, you're probably envisioning the worst case scenario as pile of dirty laundry in the corner and a ring around the bathtub. But many college dorms are fighting a battle much worse than soap scum—bed bugs. Apparently, the little buggers get cozy in the summer months and by the time the fall season starts, they’re not ready to vacate their little nests. The result is that students are suffering the consequences, and many have reported severe health issues with the problem.
It's not that bedbugs pass disease to humans—in fact, as bugs go, they're totally harmless physically. According to one of our editors (who's apartment building went through a bed bug bout and decontamination) the challenge is psychological and lies in sleepless nights and the process of exterminating one's living space. You and your student may be forced to shell out cash for bed-bug proof mattress covers, exterminator costs, and laundry. Lots and lots of laundry (if sheets, towels and clothing have been exposed, they must be washed in hot water and dried at high heat to kill bugs and eggs, then placed in airtight plastic bags until the room is proven rid of bugs.)
The schools are doing everything they can, including bringing in bed bug sniffing dogs (which experts say doesn't really do anything) and a heating device that heats the room to 130 degrees, killing the bugs but not harming the students’ possessions (steam heat has been proven to kill bugs). That’s all well and good, but the fact remains that those costs have to be paid somehow. That money has to come from somewhere and it usually comes from the students in the form of tuition and fee hikes. So, if this problem persists, it could mean a slight increase in tuition.
When saving for college, it’s best to prepare yourselves. Try to inspect the room beforehand and make different arrangements if necessary. If the problem is bad enough, you may have to consider off-campus living, which will cost more. Consider running the numbers both ways, i.e. on-campus and off-campus living, and make sure you’re prepared for either eventuality.
Have you had an experience with bed bugs at your school, or your child’s school? What tips can you share with others facing a similar problem that will help them save money? Is this a big enough concern for you to consider your child living off-campus? [Bedbugger]