Last Updated on February 21, 2024 by Alene Schill
Ohio is experiencing a rise in bed bug infestations, joining other states in the US. The common places for these infestations to occur are homes and hotels; however, it is also not uncommon for schools to be affected.
Here’s a guide on what to do when there are bed bugs at school.
Dealing With Bed Bugs In School Buildings
Bed bugs are one of the most notorious pests that can infest school buildings, and the scenario is not uncommon for schools in Ohio. Bed bugs don’t start at school buildings because they usually live in houses and hotels where people sleep, sit and rest.
However, since it is easy for bed bugs to transfer from one place to another, they can start infesting school buildings. Hitchhiking is the common way for bed bugs to enter school buildings, and they mainly come from students, teachers, or staff.
Could Classrooms Get infested?
Classrooms can get infested because bed bugs can easily transfer from students, teachers, and staff’s clothes, furniture, and belongings. Bed bugs don’t infest people, but they feed blood from a person and live where their hosts usually sit or sleep.
Bed bugs are known as successful hitchhikers , and with child’s clothing and students’ belongings, they can transfer and create a massive infestation.
These tiny bloodsuckers travel through people, and once they enter schools, they will start to infest classrooms. Once there are bed bugs in schools, they will look for hiding spots like upholstered furniture, carpets, locker, and other belongings.
What If A Student Has A Bed Bug Infestation At Home?
A student can bring bed bugs into schools, and that is through the student’s belongings. If a student has a bed bug infestation at home, informing the school is the most responsible thing to do.
Parents should be vigilant in checking every belonging and don’t let their child bring anything to school from an infested home. Monitor signs of infestation, immediately start home remedies or call a pest control company to deal with it promptly.
Vacuum every spot of your home, wash bedding and clothes, and dry them at the highest temperature so the bed bugs will die and not spread.
What School Officials Should Do
Notify the Parents
When bed bug presence is found on a student, notify the parents and the parents of students inside the affected classroom. Ask the parents to bring freshly laundered and sealed clothes for their children to change. To ensure that the students will not bring home bed bugs, the school can offer to keep unnecessary things overnight.
Also, send a notice letter to the parents notifying them that bed bugs are found on student belongings, along with a guide about bed bug control.
Have An Action Plan
It would be better to detect bed bugs early than deal with a massive bed bug infestation. Since Ohio’s cases of bed bugs are relatively increasing, there should be an action plan for bed bugs at school. Bed bugs are nocturnal, but they wait in the daytime since they feed blood from humans. But what do bed bugs eat aside from human blood?
If you saw a bed bug in a student, ask the school nurse or a qualified individual to remove the child from the classroom discretely. Conduct an inspection with consent on the child’s clothing and belongings to inspect for signs of bed bugs and bed bug eggs.
You can identify bed bugs easily, so use tweezers, a paper towel, gloves, or tissue and place them in a sealed plastic bag before you destroy and dispose of them. Inform the parents about the presence of bed bugs, and the authorized personnel should bag all of the belongings in sealed plastic bags along with guidelines on bed bug control.
Contact a Pest Management Professional
Bed bugs are notorious, and while they don’t transfer disease to humans, bed bug bites can result in itch bites, minor skin irritations, moderate allergic reactions, or severe allergic reactions.
Home remedies may take a while when treating bed bugs. It would be best for school management to contact a pest management professional and develop the safest, fastest, and most effective treatment plan for the infested site.
Fun Fact: Bed bugs can lay 3-8 eggs per week and 500 eggs in their lifetime, so it’s better to develop an effective treatment plan to avoid infestations.
What Parents Can Do If There Are Bed Bugs At School
Parents can contribute to preventing the spread of bed bugs at school and in their homes. As a parent, be mindful and limit what your children bring home. Always inspect your kid’s backpacks, clothing, bags, and jackets when they return home and as much as possible, keep their things in a separate area.
Check your child’s skin for minor skin irritations due to bug bites, reddish stains for bed bug poop, and yellow flakes for bed bug skins. Coordinate with the School or University about the bed bug treatment and keep your home bed-bug free by following guidelines on beg bug control.
Can bed bugs be transmitted at school?
Yes, bed bugs can be transmitted at schools. Bed bugs have legs to crawl to your shoes, backpacks, clothes, and other belongings and transfer from one place to another. Everyone can be a carrier of bed bugs, so it would be helpful to be vigilant and responsible in dealing with an infestation.
How do you not bring bed bugs home from school?
To avoid bringing bed bugs home from school, limit the things you bring home and always check for the signs of bed bugs in your belongings. Don’t use the same clothing and place the items you bring home in a separate area when you get home.
Dealing with bed bugs at home can be stressful, but it is more challenging to have them at school. School and University can be a transfer hub for bed bugs, and with all the students there, a classroom infestation can lead to a nightmare home infestation.
The school officials and parents need to be responsible and follow the guidelines in dealing with a bed bug infestation. Protect your children from these tiny bloodsuckers and promote a safe learning environment.
Alene Schill is a property manager from Columbus, Ohio, who has dealt with numerous pest control agencies. She helps families find the perfect homes and knows very well that bed bugs are an ultimate deal-breaker. She enjoys cycling around Scioto Mile during her spare time.