Bed Bugs Are Infesting Schools, Eek!

bedbugsIf you're worried about your son or daughter bringing home bad habits from that troublemaker in his or her class, you've got bigger things to worry about coming home with them -- bedbugs. Yes, no longer are they just lovely souvenirs from infested hotel rooms, but schools are seeing the little buggers in droves across the states. Last year, in New York alone, there were 3,590 reports of bedbugs at schools.

And if they're in your kid's school, that means they could soon be in your home, after hitching a ride in his backpack or in her jacket. It's actually a two-way street, because that's how they're getting in the schools -- from homes infested with bedbugs. It's a regular old insect roundabout, and I'm itching just typing this.

Fortunately, there are some things you can do to help thwart the resistant little bugs.

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Entomologists at Bell Environmental Services say vigilance, both at home and school, is the best defense against bedbugs, and offer these five tips for keeping bedbugs away:

1. At school, place backpacks and jackets inside large, resealable plastic bags, and don’t let them sit on the floor in a closet or in a pile with other coats and bags.

2. Upon returning home from school, empty backpacks completely outside the home, if possible, and inspect bags and items inside for bedbugs.

3. At home, keep backpacks in plastic bags or closed storage bins. At minimum, do not leave backpacks in or near bedrooms.

4. If bedbugs have been found at their school, have children disrobe immediately upon coming home, and place clothing in sealed plastic bags. Place clothing in a dryer (medium-high heat for 20 minutes) and throw out the plastic bag.  Bed bugs can’t survive high heat.

5. Engage the school administration. Ask them what precautionary and proactive measures they are taking to prevent the introduction and spread of bedbugs.

While all that sounds like an awful lot of work, if it means keeping bedbugs at bay, then it's well worth it. I'll never be able to look at my kids' backpacks the same way again anyway.

Have you ever had bedbugs in your home or school?


Image via Medill DC/Flickr

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