Bed Bugs are continuing to crawl, creep and hitch-a-ride into our students schools and classrooms all across this country. And they are doing so in greater numbers each and every year. The increase in bed bug activity within our school systems may indicate a direct correlation to the number of infestations being reported in our communities and its households. And while a household may provide the common bed bug with the basic ingredients so beneficial to its survival, the typical school classroom normally does not. It merely serves as a hub for this elusive creature to transit from one back-pack to another for example, and eventually, finding its way into your home!
Bed Bug Awareness for Parents
Many school programs include travel to other educational sites, competitive events and the like. The itinerary of some school events may take the student away from their campus to include an overnight stay with hotel lodging. In these types of school functions, the students and their travel belongings are usually in close contact with each other for extended periods of time. This proximity can certainly lead to many more students being affected by this pest. The student and their belongings may serve simply as a travel host. Or, the student may involuntarily provide a blood meal for this parasitic insect.
More than a few have come to expect that this pest lives its life confined to the bed area. This is certainly understandable given its name, and also not true. The bed bug is an excellent hitch-hiker and will find a way into the classroom via backpacks and gym bags as two excellent vehicles for a free ride. An example of a location in a school that could potentially harbor more than just a single hitch-hiker would be a gym locker-room or a laundry room.
As a parent, what are you to do if you receive notification from school administrators stating that bed bugs were found in your child’s school? Perhaps you have been informed that bed bugs were found in your child’s belongings or even on their person after returning from a school sponsored program such as marching band and cheer-leading contests or a sports related event.
How to Prevent Bed Bugs in the School Classroom
There are a number of proactive methods that one might consider prior to a student traveling abroad. They are inexpensive and will certainly assist the student in preventing any unwanted hitch-hikers from making their way into your home. Pillow encasements are good for obvious reasons. We all know where pillows end up on our travels, everywhere and sometimes shared by others! Sealed luggage liners are helpful as a deterrent for similar reasons. Luggage items end up on floors, under beds and sometimes pooling or storing other students clothing. After arriving at your destination, the luggage liner can serve as additional protection by lining the dresser drawers. And bed bug proof laundry bags are a absolute must to keeping this pest from hitching a ride within your clothing articles. They are entomologist tested and provide seamless 3-way protection and re-enforced seams.
It is important not to panic. The first step is to arm yourself with some basic knowledge of a bed bugs biology and feeding habits. This will assist you in making a more informed decision on how best to handle different situations that may arise. It will also aid you in preventing a possible infestation from taking place if this uninvited guest makes its way into your home. Understand that there are as many different approaches for properly eliminating the bed bug as there are environments from which it rears its ugly head.
There have been bed bug sightings in schools that have led school officials and parents alike to hysteria, excessive reaction and ultimately, unwise decisions being made on how the issue was handled. It has been reported that some school systems have unnecessarily exposed students to residual pesticides after a pest control company was called in to spray the entire facility. This is not only a very unsafe practice for all who may come in contact with the pesticide, but is also not the best choice of an effective treatment for this specific pest in this environment.
A professional company well versed in bed bug protocol for example, is going to respond completely different it its approach to handling a one bed bug sighting in a classroom environment vs the same one bug sighting in a hotel room. More often than not, and after a thorough inspection by the pest professional, the one bug sighting in the classroom is much more likely to be an individual hitch-hiker. However, the same one bug sighting in the hotel room will often lead to its brothers and sisters being found after a good inspection has been completed. This is only two environments of many in which this pest can be found. It will also require two completely different approaches in managing or eliminating it.
Bed Bug Policies for Schools – Bed Bug Bites & Battling Bed Bugs in the Classroom
It may be prudent to contact school officials and find out at the beginning of the school year what their specific bed bug protocol is. Those of you in the state of New York could look here for their official answers to battling bed bugs in the school classroom. Give yourself the peace of mind that your school officials know best on how to properly respond to a bed bug sighting vs. an infestation. Test your school officials and find out what they know or better yet, do not know. Get specifics on how your school officials will respond to different situations that may occur. It also may be wise to check out any pest control companies that may be on the schools approved vendor list.
To facilitate any frustrations or delusions about this pest, your school can properly address this potential headache, before it takes place. Education is the absolute key in taking the first step on how best to prevent and manage this pest. The student faculty is often in the best position to identify a potential infestation at one of their students homes. A teacher might notice a rash, bed bug bites or some associated itching with one of their students. There might also be some blood stains or spotting on/in a students backpack. If at all possible, attempt to obtain a specimen sample or evidence of any bed bug activity and communicate it along with any other findings to the proper school officials. Proper identification of this pest will serve many purposes on many fronts for all involved!