March 23, 2017

Dealing With Bed Bugs in Schools

Bed bugs have been popping up in schools all over the nation. Most parents aren’t thinking about these types of bugs when school starts and are taken by surprise when they realize their child has brought them home. Bed bugs are good travelers and can go undetected for a long time, but that doesn’t mean your family is defenseless against them. There are steps you can take to protect your child and your home from the wrath of bed bugs.

How Do Bed Bugs Get into Schools?

Bed bug infestations usually start with one or two bed bugs sneaking a ride on a backpack or stuffed animal. Despite popular belief, bed bugs do not discriminate and have nothing to do with being clean or dirty. A common scenario that happens is that a family gets bed bugs from traveling, and they bring them home. They don’t realize they have the bugs, and the child carries them to school.

Why Don’t Families Realize They Have Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs are able to fly under the radar because of their exceptionally small size and ability to hide in undetectable places, such as under mattresses, under light sockets, in picture frames, etc. Bed bugs are about the size of a crumb and look like an apple seed with their brown and reddish color. The pests are small, flat and oval, measuring about 4 to 5 mm in size and they don’t have wings. Though it’s helpful to have a flashlight or magnifying glass, you can see the bugs with the naked eye.

How to Prevent Bed Bugs from Hitching a Ride with Your Child

It’s helpful when everyone in the community works together to prevent infestations. Here are some of the ways you can do that.

  • Limit the items you send to school with your child. Unless your child is young and naps at school, they shouldn’t need stuffed animals, blankets, etc.
  • Wash your child’s backpack and jacket regularly. Dry it for 30 to 45 minutes to kill any bed bugs. This is a safe, healthy practice regardless!
  • Inspect what your child brings home before throwing lunch bags, backpacks, gym uniforms, etc. onto your counters, couches or beds.

If you do notice a bed bug on any of your child’s items, place it into a sealed bag so that it can be properly identified. All families at the school will need to be notified if it’s indeed a bed bug so that they can follow the proper procedures, which includes thorough cleanings and a call to the nearest pest control services. The EPA says it’s best to be proactive rather than closing schools, sending students home or stigmatizing families.

If you’re faced with bed bugs, call Heritage Pest Control. We handle these types of issues quickly and discreetly!