In case you haven't heard, there's a wee bit of a bed bug problem all around the world these days. In a 2011 Bugs Without Borders survey conducted by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), 99 percent of U.S. pest management professionals said they'd encountered bed bug infestations in the past year -- compared with just 11 percent a decade ago. And 35 percent said they've found them in college dormitories. In fact, the NPMA considers bed bugs a pandemic [source: Pest World].
The best way to guard against unleashing them in your dorm room is to keep all suitcases and backpacks off your bed. Bed bugs like to crawl into tight cracks and crevices, and often hitch rides on these items. You're safer if you've brought your suitcase from home, but if you're returning from a trip, be extra careful. First, place your suitcase on a linoleum floor to check for the bugs; you can spot them more easily there than on carpet. If things look clear, remove all of your packed clothes and immediately wash them, whether you've worn them or not. Vacuum out your suitcase, then put it away [source: Pascarella].