Schools are not ideal for hosting long term bed bug infestations due to their lack of hiding places and the amount of time a person can sit still, but due to the consistent flow of people in and out of the building, a bed bug slipping in a backpack would not be an overwhelming shocker. Although when that one bed bug turns into an infestation in your home, it can cause quite a scene. Bed bug identification and prevention information amongst parents, students, and staff members can stop students from escorting bed bugs home.
Basics on Bed Bugs
Bed bugs have long been a prominent pest in the world and continue to grow and spread their population. Due to their size and speed, they are excellent hitchhikers and can move from place to place by using items like furniture, mattresses, luggage, clothing, and backpacks. Once they are in a home, you can oftentimes find them in the corner of a mattress waiting for their host to go to sleep so they can feed every five to ten days. Bed bug bites can come in many shapes and sizes, all the way from non-existent to large red welts. Because bed bug bites are often mistaken for a different pest bite and their sheer size, bed bugs are often overlooked until they are in full force and have fully infested a home.
Health and Safety Concerns
Although they are not known to carry any diseases, they can cause both physical and mental harm and stress. Having several tiny bugs crawl on you in the middle of the night will drive anyone into a sleepless zombie. This fatigue can then start influencing your daily activities.
Due to the anesthetic in their saliva, many times people cannot feel bed bug bites when they are happening. But the morning after a feeding session, one can either be covered in red welts or have no reaction at all. If you are unfortunate enough to be suspected to these welts, their bites can lead to itching and skin irritation and if the itching is excessive, it can become infected.
Preventing Bed Bugs From Coming Home
Before discussing prevention methods, it is important to note that anyone can get bed bugs. They have no bias to their victims. So even if your house is sparkling clean, you could end up with bed bugs. But there are some things that you can do to lower your risk of this happening:
- Inspect your student’s belongings on a regular basis as they arrive home
- Be sure to check the pockets, seams, and any other small locations
- Wash and dry their backpack on high heat weekly
- Limit the amount of belongings going to school
- Do not place school items near couches, beds, and other sleeping areas.
Bed Bugs in School
Students are not the only ones that are subjected to bed bugs in school. Teachers, staff members, and administration are all as equally likely to get bed bugs from school. The only difference is that staff should be trained in how to properly deal with a situation in which they encounter bed bugs at school. Some schools may already have a plan in place, please contact your administrator for details.
If you do not, as a teacher or staff member, if you think you have spotted a bed bug:
- Discreetly ask the child to step out of the classroom
- Try to collect the bed bug INTACT for proper identification
- Check the student’s items and clothing for bed bugs or send to counselor or nurse for inspection
- Inspect the area where the bed bug was found
- Tell administration of your encounter so they can continue the conversation with a professional and parents of the student
- Immediately when you arrive home, wash and dry your clothing on high heat and inspect all belongings. Do not forget about your shoes!
Controlling and managing bed bugs in schools can be quite the obstacle. Ideally, all staff should be able to identify a bed bug then send to someone who has more extensive training for further investigation. Schools should be responsible for providing essential information about bed bugs to students, parents, staff members, and teachers. This information can help extensively in preventing bed bug infestation, especially if caught early and quickly.
Infestations in schools are unlikely due to lack of hiding places, but it does provide a way for bed bugs to hitchhike from one point to another. If you believe your child brought bed bugs home from school or you saw a bed bug in your school in Cleveland, OH call Bed Bug BBQ at (216) 221- 1227 for a FREE bed bug inspection. We specialize in bed bug heat treatments, which is 100% eco-friendly and safe for all children.
Also visit our bed bug information articles for more help on bed bug prevention and identification.