By MJ Routh | Multimedia Journalist
Let’s just start off by saying that freshman year, I called my mom every time I did my laundry for the first three months to make sure I was doing it right. Can I put my colors with my white on warm? Do I have to actually do three separate loads?
Of course, I eventually learned that colors can only go with whites on cold and “delicates” are actually delicate. But, I wish I would’ve known that before I turned my white shirt pink.
As college students, we dive straight in, not knowing too much about typical housekeeping things. While we know some of the basics, it was our parents that did most of the random housework for many of us.
What our parents or guardians forgot to mention is what you do when you see rat poop in your house. Or what do you do when a cockroach crawls out from under your bed? These are nasty but real things that occur in the homes of many college students.
For example, a friend of mine started finding little bites on his back. Once he started to look for the root of the problem, he and his roommates immediately found rat poop lining their closets, their pantry, and really just everywhere. After looking further, they also discovered black mold, which can put one’s health at serious risk. The bites on his back came from rat mites. These are tiny parasites that live on rats and inside their nests and feed off of rat blood. They managed to snuggle up with him in bed and bite him.
This got me thinking, should I be checking around my house too?
We often come into college oblivious as to how to maintain healthy living quarters. Without mom or dad around, there is no one to tell you to pick up after yourself and no one to tidy up after you. College students should be washing their sheets at least once every two weeks. We should also be cleaning floors, checking corners and under couches for signs of pests routinely. And, if living in a house, pest control should visit monthly to spray. Keep doors closed unless necessary and essentially, try to keep everything out that shouldn’t be in. These are the things everyone forgets to tell you before heading to college.
According to Gary D. Alpert, associate of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, said the solution comes from denying pests their source of food. So it’s as easy as closing your bag of chips and picking up that stray french fry under the couch.
The five most invasive pests in college housing are ants, bed bugs, flies, roaches and rodents, according the Lethal Pest Solutions. By removing trash frequently, cleaning up food waste and washing your laundry routinely, many of these pests can be avoided.
Now that we are on our own, it is our job to be conscious of our surroundings. And it is our job to maintain those surroundings. So as a piece of advice, wash your clothes, wash your sheets and clean your house. No one wants rat mite bites.