Beware of “hitchhiking” Bed Bugs!
While it’s rare for bed bugs to end up in schools, it does happen. A student, teacher, or administrator could have bed bugs in their home and accidentally bring a bed bug to school on their clothing, on their backpack, or even on their purse or briefcase. Bed bugs are called the “hitchhiking” bug because they easily spread by hitchhiking on an unknowing host. As parents, it’s important you know what to look for and what to do to avoid bringing bed bugs into your home.
Check out these helpful bed bug tips to protect you and your family from bed bugs:
- Empty backpacks and reusable lunch boxes outside of the home and inspect the seams and inside of the bags for bed bugs. Flip through book pages and folders as well. Bed bugs are as thin as a credit card and enjoy hiding in tight, thin spots.
- Don’t put backpacks or lunchboxes near the bedrooms or home furniture. Bed bugs will crawl to the next available host to feed, which is generally when someone is resting on a couch, chair, or bed. After feeding, they will then make nests within those furniture pieces/rooms. Keep items that travel with you often far from these rooms.
- Invest in a plastic tote with high walls for your children to put their bookbags and lunchboxes in when they get home. The smooth surface of the tote walls will ensure bed bugs can’t crawl up and out of the bin, giving you plenty of time to spot the bug before it makes its way to other areas of your house.
- If you receive a letter from the school stating a bed bug was found in the classroom, have your children disrobe in the garage or another area outside of the home and immediately put their worn clothes in a plastic bag. Pour the contents of the plastic bag straight into the dryer (do not carry the clothes loosely across the house) and throw the plastic bag out immediately. All clothing and bags should be run through the dryer on high heat for a minimum of 40 minutes (the timeframe could be shorter, but we like to go above and beyond to ensure plenty of treatment time).
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- Pay attention to bed linens and home furnishings. If you see any bugs crawling around or across your child’s bed or even on the living room furniture, don’t just kill and discard it. Capture the bug, put it in a plastic baggie, and contact ThermalRid immediately at 615-671-7900. We can identify the bug for you and determine if you have bed bugs in your home.
- Familiarize yourself with bed bugs. Learning what bed bugs look like, their nesting areas, feeding habits, and signs to look for are all necessary for you to protect your home and children from bed bugs before an infestation begins. Review the information on our website, so you know what bed bugs look like and what bed bug signs to look for.
- Vacuum and eliminate clutter. While bed bugs don’t discriminate and focus on only houses that are unclean, it is helpful to vacuum your floors and furniture regularly and keep your home free of clutter and piles. Bed bugs like to hide in restful, tight spaces, so the more you have stacked up, the more they may stack up within your possessions.
Should you find a bed bug on your child or in your child’s things, please contact your school administrator, so they may follow the proper procedure of an inspection and/or treatment within the classroom or school. Then, contact ThermalRid immediately, so we can discuss the best bed bug solution for you.
Don’t be ASHAMED – it can happen to ANYONE!