Because of the rise of the bed bug epidemic researchers and public health officials are concerned that the little unwanted bugs are going to spread through schools. Why? Because the little brown bugs can easily get transported from home to school on children’s clothes and their backpacks. They can also be transported to other homes this way and therefore cause even more bed bug infestations. Jennifer Smith Richards wrote an article for The Columbus Dispatch called “Schools Risk Bed Bug Problems.” According to Richards two different schools in Franklin County (Ohio) have had bed bug sightings and contacted the public health department.

Schools are often notoriously known for having head lice problems which can be difficult to get rid of but bed bugs are even harder to exterminate in schools. Why? According to Susan C. Jones, an urban entomologist at Ohio State University, you know where to look when it comes to head lice. But bed bugs? They could be anywhere and everywhere. They can also be transported easily to other places and thus the infestation gets even worse. Bed bugs are often called “hitchhikers” because of this. Schools sometimes need to be closed down and fumigated and health departments don’t want that to happen.

Last year a school in Kentucky was closed down because of bed bugs and the problem is only getting worse. Both parents and school officials are concerned and worried about this problem. They want to know what they can do to help. According to Greg Kesterman, director of the environmental health division for Hamilton County Public Health, you’re guaranteed to see bed bugs show up in public facilities because they are able to crawl on and travel with a person. And this is the case with any type of insect that has these capabilities. The important thing is to notice and catch the problem before it becomes too big.

In the 1950’s harsh pesticides were used to kill and take care of bed bug problems but now these pesticides are banned. The result? Bed begs are back and in full force. They are everywhere! They’ve been brought back with travelers and are found in homes, schools, dorm rooms, apartment complexes, businesses, hotels and many other places. The Franklin County Board of Health established a central Ohio bedbug task force with intentions to keep an eye on the bed bug population. They also plan to discuss how to handle complaints and inform the public. The board hopes that other districts will see what they are doing and join to help with the situation. Their ultimate goal is that all schools in the district will have workable tools that all schools can use, whether private or public.

The school nurses in Columbus schools are also prepared to look out for bugs and report any seen. They also are prepared to talk with families and students if any are found. If bed bugs are found during the school day on a backpack or clothing item one easy thing that can be done is to seal the backpack or clothing in a plastic bag. In general, officials don’t believe that students should be banned from school if a bed bug is spotted on them or their belongings.

Many agree that the health department should be more involved, they tend to stand back because bed bugs aren’t considered to be a health hazard, but it may be too late when the bed bug problem has exploded.

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14 replies
  1. T. Brown says:

    The reason that Bed Bugs are in the school is because someone in the school has them at home and are bringing them into the school. One of the comments stated that Bed Bugs can produce from one to 50 in a matter of two days….WRONG!!! If you have only a couple of Bed Bugs in the school from them dropping off the students or teachers for that matter, there could end up being hundreds within weeks! Also just because you see one Bed Bug in a classroom, does not mean there are many because they are so small.

    People have become so paranoid about this because of the current epidemic of Bed Bugs. You can per-treat for bed bugs by using bed bug dust but the problem is being BROUGHT into the school and needs to be handled at the source. You can spray today and then two weeks later you see another Bed Bug and you are going to want the school sprayed again. Then before you know it, you will be having the school sprayed every other week and for what….to put your mind at ease? It does not work that way. The problem has to be addressed at the source. Take care of your problem at home and stop bringing the pests to school.

  2. Paronode Student says:

    Today every student on my team at school received a letter about inspectors spotting a bed bug in one of our classrooms. They said they will not issue a pest control spray because it is just a small case of one bed bug, But that’s not true, one can lead to 50 in a matter of two days, but do they care, no?!

    Schools don’t talk bed bugs seriously, they don’t realize the pain and depression bed bugs cause. A couple of years ago my grandparents got bed bugs and could not get rid of them! I don’t want to go to school until the pests are clear, but sadly that’s part of my life and I have to. WHAT CAN I DO TO KEEP THESE DISGUSTING UNNEEDED CREATURES OUT OF MY HOME?!

  3. Samantha says:

    In my class room today there was a bed bug crawling on my desk today and I freaked out and threw my paper that it was crawling on ! My teacher and I found it and smashed it and took it to the office . I went to the office to complain and they said they already exterminated but they keep coming back on people the next day. I have no idea what to do because I sure don’t want them in my house !

  4. Mike says:

    Alright…I admit it…We have bed bugs! I am embarrassed, frustrated angry and sometimes overwhelmed. I have treated the condition several times only to see a temporary improvement and then it is worse than before. I actually think they are becoming immune to the over the counter chemicals purchased (not cheaply!) at the local hardware store…the bottles even say “Guaranteed”,,,how dare they.

    I now spend my 3 am’s fighting the creatures by hand…yes by hand! My anger at the little creatures overcomes my disgust. I now need to rid my home of beds, couches, chairs and my carpet. I have no faith that this will rid me of the problem.

    I now minimize my children’s visits to others homes and rarely allow others to visit ours. I have become slightly paranoid and dread one of my friends will crawl across my shoulder while I am out in public. If you don’t have them, yet, count your blessings. They are back and still spreading!

    Good luck to those that have them and to those that don’t.

  5. anna says:

    I know the feelings of the people who have experienced the bed bugs its a nightmare I’m living it.
    i found out in October we had them it seemed to start in a bedroom in the basement and since then.

    we have disposed of everything beds pillows ,bedding toys ,video games from that room. then we find them in the other room, again everything thrown out. now i have two kids 8and 10 living in the same room in another part of the house well another bed thrown out from that room. they follow the kids for some reason.

    I’ve found them in my sofa we keep exterminating but it seems endless with them. we spray,vacuum,dust but the bugs still come out its sad embarrassing,depressing its everything you can imagine DE doesn’t seem to stop them i had it caked on my granddaughters bed she was sleeping in two different beds two different rooms. they still bit her bought a brand new air-mattress found one on it next morning ,and yes i believe they are being carried from the school to my home

  6. greg miner says:

    I have not had them yet thank God, but my son school has found one and I’m not so sure they are doing everything in their power to rid them. What as a concerned parent can I do to make them understand the seriousness of this epidemic. Bed bugs are the very worst most uncomfortable thought. Even as I sit here now I find my self itching just thinking about it.

  7. greg miner says:

    I have heard the bast way to rid these nasty ruthless blood suckers is to use some sort of high powered heat source making your house, school, etc… 140 degrees for some time. poof they are gone!!! they all die.. the problem is making sure your entire house is that temp for any cold spots if there is a pregnant bed bug then the infestion will begin again.. having 12 eggs a day per bug its only a matter of time. this is the only sure fire way remember every inch 140 degrees!!!

  8. matt says:

    my sons school ps 255 in Brooklyn NY is infested with bed bug does any one no what i should do?

  9. J.M. says:

    I recently started removing items from a storage (10×20 so a lot of items), and my son attends a school, where children come from all over the county, many from areas where bed bugs have been reported to be especially bad.

    My husband killed a bug a few days ago, that in it’s semi-squashed version, looked somewhat like a roach (which is scary enough), but had pincher looking things. I began looking online and found that it more resembled an adult bed bug (which scares me even more because that means they will crawl on and bite us). I have dug through the couch (where he found it) and looked at the beds, with no luck of finding another.

    I have dry skin that leaves my legs with small bumps (that don’t really itch) and usually have a (small, thin, almost clear) ingrown hair in it, but just an hour or so ago, while sitting on the couch, I began to itch on my arm, and found a small reddish bump (only 1) that I can only equate to the look of a chigger bite like you would get from sitting in the grass.

    Since the bug my husband found was semi-crushed when I saw it, I can’t be 100% on the ID of it, but I am petrified of bugs, and if this is a brand new infestation (which I am pretty afraid might be the case) I want to try to eradicate it before it can get too bad…I have a 4 bedroom house in an upscale neighborhood and couldn’t possibly handle refurnishing it!

    Aside from the storage scenario, the school, and then my hubby entering the Reserves, and having to stay in a hotel for training weekends recently, I cannot fathom anyway else we may have gotten them.

    Any suggestions for how to verify that it is bed bugs, and how to quickly eradicate them if it is ?
    Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

  10. Bitten says:

    Every day I strive to keep everything tidy and organized. With 2 children and another one on the way in the next month or so, it is my job to keep everything in order. I am living on social services…It took so long to inquire the items in my household.

    Just settling in a few months ago I had planned to stay at my apartment for a few years to come.

    Truthfully I have changed my mind…quickly…I don’t even have to think twice. Every minute matters now because I have realized we have been sharing our home with bedbugs.
    So over the last week I have been spending my days throwing out all our carpeting and furniture, curtains, stuffed animals, clothing, everything.

    I had spent the time washing and drying blankets, sheets and pillows so fresh ones could be used for each sleeping session. I have been investigating the lives of the creatures and investigating all the mattresses that I have now also disposed of. As of last night when my four year old woke up itchy at 4 am the beds and cribs have been disassembled sitting in their now almost bare bedrooms. I dunno what to do…my life has been turned upside down…nobody around me really knows how I am feeling but I am frustrated, angry , mad, and sad all at the same time. I am starting to get depressed…How will I get new furniture and beds, and should I actually bring a newborn baby in a bedbug infested environment? I can’t even purchase the new baby’s items fearing that they could become infested too. Should I send my daughter to school knowing I could contaminate another family or admit in embarrassment that “we have bedbugs”
    What a mess this is becoming, I will never forget this.

  11. maggie says:

    I was concerned about my school as well as myself. my school has a bed bug infestation because of what i found last week in class. i was at my table when i found a bedbug crawling on the desk i immediately killed it and blood came out of it. it was small so there must be more. what can i do? i already advised some teachers and students as well as my principal but have not done anything? what should i do?

  12. Jazzy says:

    Bedbugs have NOTHING to do with being dirty, do the research before calling people dirty especially a child it wouldn’t even be her fault. Also its not fair that anyone gets them, they are so easily spread that it could come from anywhere, the child who has it got it from someone else and so on. Its nobody’s fault. I’ve never had them but I’ve done a project on it for school and like I said ITS NOT FROM BEING DIRTY, bed bugs are not concerned about messes or food just human blood.

  13. carmela says:

    I have bed bugs in my school and no one is helping us! The child has them at home while the mother and grandma are not doing a thing about the infestation!

    The department of education is not helping the teacher and the child either. It’s not fair that the other children get them because of someone else.

  14. cheryl procillo says:

    My daughter has at friend at school i knew she was kinda of dirty, at my daughters birthday we went swimming and i noticed that her whole body was covered with bite marks old and new!

    Today my daughter was telling me that another girl saw on this girls backpack at school a bedbug. Should she be coming to school? Should the classroom be cleaned out? What should i do as a parent that doesn’t want them in my house?

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