Actual bed bug infestations in schools are uncommon, more often a few bed bugs will hitchhike from an infested home on a student's possessions. On the occasion that an infestation starts, it will be because bed bugs have found a site where people rest or sit for a time |
If bed bugs are suspected in the school, work with a Pest Management Professional (PMP) to inspect and treat the school. Insecticides that are available over the counter are not effective against bed bugs.
Responding to Bed Bugs in Schools
The most common way for bed bugs to enter a school is through "hitchhiking" from an infested site. Usually this will be from a student, staff or teacher's home which has a bed bug infestation. While teachers and staff can be more easily addressed dealing with students or parents can be challenging, especially if the family cannot afford proper pest control measures or their landlord refuses to properly treat their home.
It is important to remain vigilant for bed bugs in the school. Treating a bed bug infestation is very difficult and costly. The sooner an infestation is detected the easier it will be to control the infestation. Also, there are steps that can be taken to prevent future infestations. To prevent a bed bug infestation in the school be proactive.
Educate all members of the school community Provide educational materials to staff and parents/guardians. Explain what your school is doing to prevent and control bed bugs. Keep the facility clean and uncluttered. Bed Bugs are not associated with uncleanliness, but a clean facility makes it easier to detect bed bugs before an infestation gets established. If children take naps at school regularly put the bedding in the dryer on a high setting for at least 20 min. This will kill all stages of bed bug development. If there is clothing present in the school setting, for example dress up clothes, or theater costumes these items should also be regularly put through the dryer.
Keep all areas as uncluttered as possible Regularly clean; lost-and-found, sleeping areas, upholstered furniture, wall mounted items (pictures, clocks, signs, mirrors, etc.). Store items (bedding, clothes, coats, bags) in clear plastic containers when possible. Regularly inspect; lost-and-found, sleeping areas, upholstered furniture, wall mounted items (pictures, clocks, signs, mirrors, etc.) for signs of bed bugs
Bed bugs are not associated with uncleanliness or socioeconomic status, but this insect has a substantial social stigma.
Steps that can be taken if a student's home is known to have a bed bug infestation:
Do not send a child home from school if they are known or suspected to have a bed bug infestation at home. Missed school days have a negative impact on children and it can take many weeks to control a bed bug infestation. Provide the student with educational materials they can take home with them
If bed bugs have been found on a student's belongings there are three ways to discreetly handle tProvide the student with plastic bags or a plastic bin in which to store their belongings while they are at school Isolate the students belongings Reduce the number of items that the student has to transport between school and home. In a discreet manner, regularly inspect the student's desk and or locker for bed bugs. In the younger grades you may want to consider regular use of plastic tote boxes for storage of student belongings Avoid accumulation of clothes, shoes and boots in the classroom
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