Bed Bugs in Schools. You Found One.

What if you or a staff member sees a bed bug?

… on a student or the student’s belongings:

Don’t panic, and don’t assume the insect’s source, but discreetly remove the student from the classroom. If you’re not the person responsible for pest management, contact them immediately. Someone must attempt to collect the insect for proper ID! Examine the student’s belongings, in keeping with your district’s personal property policy. If the insect is a bed bug, contact the student’s parents by phone, explaining the facts without targeting fault. Offer to send educational bed bug information home with the student at the end of the day. There should be no reason to send the student home early. If your district is completely unprepared for this type of event, it’s time to determine a policy. We also suggest a prompt and complete inspection of the classroom by a knowledgeable district employee or a contracted pest control officer.

If a home infestation is suspected or confirmed, promote response and offer guidance. Request the student bring a change of clothes in to school. Clothing and belongings may be kept in plastic bags, and clothing may be heat treated (tumble-dried for ~20 minutes). If there is no evidence of bed bugs at the home of the student, investigate other possible sources. If bed bug infestation is occurring at the student’s home, and continues with little progress, enlist the help of local agencies.

If you found a bed bug on school furniture or elsewhere inside the building:

Isolate the area. Contact the school/district person responsible for pest management. Promptly attempt to collect for proper ID, and if confirmed, schedule a prompt and thorough inspection. Consider sending a letter home to parents of students using that classroom. If a true infestation has begun inside school, parents must be informed. Follow the school’s protocol for treatment. A pest management professional will suggest both a thorough cleaning and a possible pesticide treatment depending on the determined pest pressure.

Samples of information to parents: What NOT to do if you have bedbugs, lo que No debe hacer quando tiene chinches and here

Be ready to: pack up items in the room and place in tight-lidded boxes or large plastic bags. Keep these items isolated so you are not transferring bed bugs to another area.  Vacuum along all surfaces, taking particular care along crevices. Wash hard-surfaces in the area with warm, soapy water. Use a tumble dryer (some may have racks, which can be handy) to heat-treat any appropriate material for ~20 minutes on high heat.

If the bed bug was an isolated incident, maintain vigilance by scheduling inspections.

Sample letter for parents – from University of Minnesota

Laundering to kill bed bugs -from University of Minnesota

Bed bugs: What schools need to know – from the Ohio Bed Bug Task Force

3 thoughts on “Bed Bugs in Schools. You Found One.

  1. David

    I would add to this to be very cautious with assuming a bed bug incident is isolated. The best solution is to seek professional pest control help. They can utilize bed bug monitors, teach you about signs of bed bug activity, and they can use canines to detect bed bugs via their scent. Better safe than sorry.

  2. Debra E. Marvin Post author

    Thank you for commenting. More often there is a panic situation, so the point of the post was to choose caution. Infestations are rare because bedbugs are looking for sites where they can hide and feed on a sleeping ‘meal’. Most students and staff are on the move. Hitchhiking bedbugs are the larger concern.

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