Preparing for Campus: Keeping Their Dorm Pest-Free



If your child is heading to campus or planning to split time between college and your home, they are probably looking forward having more freedom, meeting new people and seeing old friends. There are many stressors that come with kids living on their own. One thing you don’t want to overlook is the potential to encounter pest problems.

Unfortunately, pest infestations are fairly common in dormitories and student apartments. With many students living on their own for the first time or in close quarters, cleanliness can become an issue. And, with students cooking for themselves and spending more time in their rooms, messes are a likely consequence.

Bugs love messes! Whether it’s piles of dirty clothes, overflowing trash cans or half-empty cans of soda, clutter gives bugs places to hide. All of these conditions add up to make dorms appealing for all types of household pests, from ladybugs and flies to cockroaches and mice.

Follow these tips at move-in time, and review them with your child to help prevent an infestation:

    • Check for tears and holes. At move in, check the window screens for openings that might allow in pests. Ask the resident adviser or landlord for a replacement screen if needed.
    • Check for bugs first. Before unpacking, look around their living space carefully for signs of a bug or rodent issue. Report any pest problems right away before pests have a chance to nest in your child’s
    • Keep up with the dishes. Remind them the importance of not leaving dirty dishes in the sink. Even after rinsing, unwashed dishes harbor small particles of food and puddles of water – two big temptations for a variety of pests. Remember, prevention is the best pest control!
    • Put food away. Leaving leftovers out could tempt mice, ants or other crawling critters. Popular student snack foods like pretzels and cereal are big lures. Students should seal any food properly in containers with tight lids. Tip: When packing for school, include extra storage containers and zip-close bags in a variety of sizes, to make it easy for them to store leftovers.
    • Take out the trash. Emptying the garbage regularly and keeping the trash receptacle clean goes a long way. It will help keep down odors and remove bug attractions. Be sure the trash can has a tight-fitting lid.
    • Dust and vacuum. Regular cleaning removes dropped crumbs as well as webs, larvae and eggs – all of which allow insects to thrive and multiply. Also, some pests, like cockroaches, eat dust and dirt. Regular cleanings will also help spot pests earlier and get rid of them more easily.
    • Address moisture and standing water. Mop up spilled liquids immediately and ask the landlord to fix leaky faucets. Empty glasses of water or soda at night. If the property allows pets, it’s a good idea to empty the water bowl every night. Standing water attracts rodents and bugs, especially cockroaches, gnats, flies and silverfish.
    • Keep the clutter down. This can be difficult for students in the dorm or an apartment, but it is an important step. Allowing clothes to pile up and junk to accumulate is not just unsightly; but it also creates places for creepy-crawlies to harbor. Spiders will spin their webs on piles of paper; rodents love to hide in piles of clothing.
    • Get help right away. Finally, remember that any type of pest infestation is easier to tackle earlier rather than later. Remind your student to alert the resident adviser or landlord if they spot any critters in their living space.

As always, if you have a pest infestation, you might need expert assistance. HomeTeam professionals can provide the most effective methods of pest control and a pest prevention plan personalized for you. Visit our website at or call 855-855-4873.

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