"Almost all colleges are dealing with or have probably recently dealt with a bedbug infestation on their campuses," said Jeff White, an entomologist with BedBug Central.
Media reports have identified the following institutions as being among those that have confronted bedbugs: Stanford University, Ohio State, Texas A&M, University of Florida, the City University of New York's John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Northern Illinois University, McGill University and the University of Colorado in Boulder.
Over the summer, UC Boulder spent $45,000 purchasing equipment that heats rooms to at least 120 degrees, drawing out the bugs and incinerating them, according to the Boulder Daily Camera.
Patty Shelanski of Norfolk, Va., who recently dropped her son off for his freshman year at Boulder, told AOL News that the school had informed them over the summer of the problem and the extermination efforts.
"Am I concerned? Not overly to be honest," she said. "There just isn't much I can do about it except hope for the best. Bedbugs have become a nationwide problem, and one everyone needs to be prepared to deal with it.
"Would I be completely grossed out if my son came home with bedbugs? You bet, but again, what can I do about it? "
Bedbugs are tiny blood-sucking insects that don't carry disease, but do leave itchy, irritating welts. They were largely eliminated from the United States after World War II, but have made a comeback with a vengeance.
Since colleges draw large numbers of people from different places, someone is bound to bring in bedbugs. The bugs normally hide in cracks and in the seams of mattresses, sofas and drapes. They then hitchhike from room to room, an easy thing to do given the social nature of college.
Moreover, the bedbugs can be transported back home in the students' personal items during visits.
It's hard to quantify how much of a problem bedbugs are on college campuses, said Bernadette Burden, spokeswoman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Neither the CDC, nor the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, nor the National Pesticide Information Clearing Center, track bedbug incidents on campuses.
Burden explained that the bedbugs have become immune to certain types of pesticides, and are therefore harder to kill.
"Different types of pest control practices have to be used in order to regroup and mitigate the problem," she said.
Exterminators and websites have started targeting the college crowd, selling expensive prevention kits and heaters designed to kill them. They are marketed for students to use at school and for parents to use when the kids come home to visit.
But federal officials advise that people use monitoring devices, seal cracks and crevices, remove clutter and vacuum to remove hiding places for the bugs, according to a joint statement issued this month by the CDC and the EPA.
Additional suggestions for detection and treatment can be found here
In Shelanski's case, she believes the bedbug epidemic might have a silver lining.
"This may be an incentive for him to wash his sheets at least once this semester," she said.