College life is not a bug’s life: 5 quick tricks to keeping pests out of a living space

Story by Devin Matthews // Staff Writer

As the weather heats up and finals sit just around the corner, there are sure signs that spring has arrived at MTSU. Students will soon come out from four months of Netflix hibernation to sip Starbucks on the quad. Professors dole out final projects like free candy. And there might just be the entire cast of A Bug’s Life in your dorm room. While colleges often do contact the local pest exterminator when lots of dorms have issues with pests or there’s been an outbreak of bed bugs, they can’t get pest control for every single dorm that has a small issue. So, here are some top tips to prevent the issue from happening in the first place:

1. Put Food Away

Food is one of the main culprits bugs are drawn to. When you leave out dishes with food, you’re basically opening up your domain to all available bugs. The best option would be to seal up your food and place it in a refrigerator. Dirty dishes and utensils should be cleaned immediately after use so bugs won’t begin to congregate in areas where the items are left out.

2. Keep Your Crib Clean

It’s important that you always keep your room cleaned and organized. Bugs love areas that are cluttered and dirty. The more clutter your space offers, the more room you leave available for bugs to move in. Keep clothing folded or hung and shoes put away. Be sure to keep your floors swept and your carpets vacuumed. Vacuuming will help pick up eggs and larvae that nestle deep down in the carpet fibers. If you are interested in finding a vacuum that could help you while living in college, you might want to check out or other places that are similar.

3. Remove Trash

As we all know, bugs love trash. Trash contains left over food particles, dirt, moisture and many other things that attract a bug looking for its next meal. Your best bet is to empty your trash when it becomes full. This will eliminate areas for bugs to find food or lay eggs.

4. Keep Areas Clear of Water or Moisture Leakage

Many bugs are attracted to water and moisture. Be sure to check faucets in kitchens and bathrooms for leakage. Bugs sometimes lay eggs in wet or moist places or make them their living areas. Also, be sure to keep wet towels hung up and rotated regularly. No one wants to hop out of the shower to a cockroach hiding in their towel. Keep wet clothes in a dirty hamper and wash them as soon as possible as to eliminate extra space for bug families to make their home.

5. Put in a Maintenance Request

While MTSU sprays for pests monthly in dorms and apartments, students can put in a maintenance request if a bug problem gets out of hand. If a pest problem arises, a company like Terminix will be called out to get rid of the pests as soon as possible. The Housing and Residential Life handbook stresses the importance of cleanliness habits as the best method to keep pests out of living areas. MTSU considers insect complaints a “routine” problem, which means the issue should be taken care of by housing within a week, and they are typically able to respond within two days.

Remember, it’s not the end of the world if you do get pests, just make sure you contact a company like quickly to stop the pests from spreading. If worse comes to worst, pop in A Bug’s Life and remember once your finals are over, the only pests you’ll have to deal with are your parents.

This story appeared in our April 20 print edition.

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To contact News Editor Amanda Freuler, email

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  1. Avatar
    Martha Fuchs
    June 25, 2016