We all know where we most commonly find bed bugs – in beds! But of course, that doesn’t mean they can’t get around, too. Bed bugs can find their way onto airplanes, buses, cars, ambulances, and just about anywhere humans like to be – so naturally, that includes schools.
Most schools have a headlice policy, but few know how to move forward when bed bugs have taken hold. If you suspect bed bugs have found their way into your school, here’s what you need to know to move forward.
Identify: Are you dealing with bed bugs?
Bed bug infestations in schools are fairly uncommon, but of course, if a student has bed bugs at home, they can hitchhike to school with them. Bed bugs are shy creatures that will usually only be visible when we’re still and it’s dark, such as at night. They’re usually very small and can’t jump (like fleas). If you think you may be dealing with bed bugs, it’s important to get professionals in to examine and treat them as soon as possible.
Dealing with the Social Stigma
Despite common belief, bed bugs do not come from dirty homes – bed bugs only like one thing, and that’s human blood. They aren’t interested in how clean or unclean something is, and no amount of cleanliness will make them go away. However, while we know this and you now know this, it’s important not to point the finger at any student or teacher who may have brought bed bugs to school with them. They likely caught them while on vacation or from another family member who travels often. It will also be extremely difficult to know for sure if they brought the bed bugs with them or simply caught them while they were at school.
Here are some guidelines for what you should do if you suspect a teacher or student of having bed bugs:
- Don’t single out any one student or teacher. Instead, send educational materials home with all children/teachers affected with advice on how to identify bed bugs and next steps to take to avoid transferring bed bugs to and from school.
- If you find a particular person has bed bugs on their possessions, deal with it as discreetly as possible. Ideally, talk to the parent or guardian to let them know that bed bugs have been found on their possessions and what next steps to take to ensure that an infestation is not transferred to or from school – make sure you do not point the finger. Make sure they have the same educational materials as everyone else.
How to Avoid Spreading Bed Bugs in a Classroom
To avoid spreading bed bugs in a classroom:
- Regularly wash down hard surfaces with hot soapy water
- Don’t pile clothes and shoes together
- Have designated plastic totes or similar for each child’s belongings
- Keep the classroom uncluttered and avoid large piles of communal cushions, bean bags, and soft toys
These tips are ideal if you suspect bed bugs, but are also good practice for avoiding spreading any parasite, bacteria, or virus.
If you suspect a bed bug infestation in your school, don’t hesitate to contact a qualified bed bug professional as soon as possible. They will be able to accurately detect infestations and treat the area quickly, and the classroom will be inhabitable again within hours of a heat treatment. Chemical treatments are not recommended for schools and aren’t 100% effective. To find someone to help you or for more information on identifying and treating bed bugs, click here.
Nobody likes the idea of small insects infesting their home, least of all their bed. But bed bugs are surprisingly common, even in the cleanest of homes. Did you know that one in five Americans has experienced bed bugs at some point in their lives?
We know that bed bugs feed on human blood when their victims are sleeping, but what attracts them?
The Top 5 Things That Tell Bed Bugs You’re There
- Nighttime: bed bugs know that we come and settle in bed once it gets dark, so they’re typically hidden during the day. They can’t “stick” to our bodies like other parasites, so their only choice is to feed on us when we’re down for the count.
- Carbon dioxide: bed bugs love to settle down in locations with a high carbon dioxide concentration. They usually try to bite humans when they’re asleep because it’s when they’re the most still, trapping the carbon dioxide around them.
- Warmth: rather than being attracted to dirt and dust, they are attracted to the warmth of a human body. The heat our bodies generate is how bed bugs know we’re in bed. Humans generate the most heat during bedtime, making it prime time for bed bugs to strike. This also explains why the headboard and areas surrounding beds are the most likely to be infested with bed bugs.
- Dark bed sheets: surprisingly, certain colors attract bed bugs more than others. Researchers found that bed bugs are particularly drawn to black and dark red bed sheets. This is likely because they like to be near other bed bugs, which are also dark and red in color, especially when full.
- Dirty laundry: while bed bugs aren’t drawn to actual dirt, research found that they do love a pile of dirty clothes, especially if it’s come into contact with high-traffic areas like public transport seats. A laundry basket is often the starting point of the bed bugs’ journey across the floor and into other rooms, so it’s a good idea to keep a relatively empty laundry basket.
How can I identify bed bugs?
Bed bugs are tiny and dark with oval-shaped bodies. They have six legs and change color depending on whether they’ve recently fed on human blood. While the bed bugs themselves might not be so easy to spot, you can identify them by looking for blood spots on your bedsheets. If you suspect that you might have bed bugs, you should also keep an eye out for itchy, red marks on your arms and legs, as bed bugs feed by biting humans.
What should I do if I discover bed bugs in my home?
It’s always better to leave these issues to the professionals, and at IBBRA, we’re here to help. Whether you need large-scale extermination or heat treatment for a small room, we’ve got the right package for you.
Check out our bed bug solutions and service providers here.
Bed bugs are extremely small and can fit into spaces as narrow as a credit card. Not only does this mean they can easily get into your home if they’re attracted to the warmth, but it also means they’re difficult to find in the home.
Use this guide to learn more about identifying bed bugs and how often you should check for them at home.
Where do bed bugs usually hide?
Bed bugs are drawn to moisture and warmth. Bed bugs’ favorite hiding place is on mattresses and in beds. They like to linger where people sit or lie for extended periods, like chairs, recliners, couches and beds. You’ll want to look beneath furniture, the fabric on your sofa legs, and between seat cushions.
Bed bugs also like to hide around the edges of baseboards and carpet as they’re warm.
How can I search for bed bugs safely?
Use a flashlight and a credit card or paint scraper, check around your bed and other areas where the bed bugs might be living. Keep an eye out for the bugs themselves and look for eggs, feces, spots of dried blood, and molted skin. In most cases, you’ll find dark specks (which are dried blood) on your sheets. Make sure you look in all the crevices and folds in any upholstered furniture. For hygiene purposes, if you believe you have bed bugs, wear protective gloves as you inspect the room.
How often should I check my home for bed bugs?
It’s always a good idea to check for bed bugs after you’ve been traveling. Bed bugs are drawn to high-traffic environments like public transport, hotels and motels, and apartment complexes. If you’ve been traveling, you’ll want to wash your clothes at high heat as soon as you return to avoid spreading anything to your bedsheets and home furnishings.
You might also want to check for bed bugs if you have kids and they’ve just been away overnight for the same reasons. Look at their skin to make sure they don’t have any itchy, red bite marks, as reactions can develop a few days after the bite occurs.
Of course, if at any time you or another family member has red bites on their skin with no windows open at night, it’s a good idea to check to find out what’s been nibbling on you.
What should I do if I discover bed bugs in my home?
The discovery of bed bugs can be stressful, but it’s important to remember that bed bugs don’t exclusively hide in dirty homes. As unpleasant as it sounds, they’re attracted to the smell of human blood, and they’ll follow warmth wherever they can find it. Your next step should be to contact a professional who can heat-treat your home.
Heat treatments are better than fumigation and chemical treatments because they’re better for you, and they often eradicate 100% of the infestation with the first treatment, whereas other types of treatments can take several attempts because you have to spot-treat.
At the International Bed Bug Resource Authority (IBBRA), we can offer you heat treatment products and services to rid you of your bed bugs in no time. Whether you’re looking to treat a small apartment or a whole hotel, we’ve got what you need. Find a professional near you here, or for DIY solutions, click here.
Bed bugs are known for many things: they’re avid breeders, they feed on the blood of humans and animals, and they invoke a lot of stress when discovered! One thing they’re not usually associated with, however, is their elusive nature.
Bed bugs are nocturnal, which makes them extremely difficult to locate. It often takes someone waking up with bed bug bites for them to be discovered, and even more difficult to get rid of entirely.
It’s common for a business owner or resident to suspect an infestation, but be unable to see the bed bugs in action. Thankfully, trained dogs can sniff them out far more effectively. Here’s why scent detection canine teams are so effective:
1. They detect infestations very quickly
In a world where time is money, it’s hardly ideal for a hotel owner to have to leave a room unused for the duration of a search, so the quicker the job is done, the better. Bed bug canines are extremely fast and efficient, effectively searching entire buildings in little time.
2. A lot of money can be saved
With such strong scent detection, these highly trained detection dogs negate the need to pull up carpet, remove the baseboards or dismantle any furniture, which can cost a lot of money. Also, a bed bug canine team can detect one-bed bug as easily as it can identify an extreme infestation. This strong potential for early detection can save you from having to undergo the extensive treatment necessary for severe infestations.
3. They can detect all life stages
Not only do properly trained canines alert when they smell live bed bugs, but they’ll also detect live bed bug eggs. This is extremely useful as the only technique that successfully detects all stages of live bed bug stages by their scents.
4. They are highly accurate
In addition to being quick and thorough, these canines are also known for being meticulous in their searches. They have even been compared to bomb-sniffing dogs. They are trained to detect bed bugs through furniture and mattresses, and even from the other side of a wall.
5. Your reputation will be protected
Due to the effectiveness of these canines and their training, they can actually be used in a court of law as a scientific instrument. Having been inspected, you’ll receive a certificate of inspection, which will greatly enhance your reputation if you’re a business owner.
If you’re concerned that your home or business may be subject to an infestation, we’re here to help you to find certified professionals in your area at the International Bed Bug Resource Authority. Whether you’re a homeowner with frequent visitors or hotel owner who wants to be sure that all rooms are free of bed bugs, we’ve got you covered. With over 50 independent service providers working with us, we’ll help you with your bed bug issues, once and for all. Click here to find a certified provider near you.
Choosing a pest control company, no matter what your pest problem, is critical. But when it comes to bed bugs, it’s essential to make sure that the problem is solved quickly and done right the first time. To ensure that you hire the right pest control pro, we’ve compiled a list of tips, tricks, and questions to ask to make sure you end up with the best pest control professional.
- What credentials do they have? Check to make sure the company is licensed, insured. All IBRBA certified members are licensed and insured according to the laws in their state.
- Make sure the company you choose specializes in bed bug treatments and can answer all your bed bug-related questions. You want your pest control company to be knowledgeable in the pest problem that you’re having.
- Find out what treatments they offer. Heat treatments are the most effective way to kill bed bugs, but there are several different ways that heat can be applied. Make sure you’re comfortable with the methods used by the company. Follow up inspections and treatments may be necessary; make sure the company has a plan in place to ensure that the bugs are gone.
- Make sure that the pre and post requirements for prep and clean up are well outlined. A good pest control company should give you tasks to help make sure the treatments are successful and to help with the proper clean up of the area. Make sure to ask questions if you don’t know or understand something.
- Check the cost. Obviously, the cost of the treatment is significant too. Don’t forget to ask the price and go over what services will be performed for the agreed-upon price point. Don’t hire anyone until the price and services are well outlined!
- Get evidence of bed bug activity. A good pest control company should be able to show you proof of the bugs. Whether that is a positive sign from a K-9 or live insects, you should also be shown evidence of where the bugs are active.
- Your pest control pro should ask you lots of questions. Make sure to answer truthfully and completely. This will help them develop a treatment plan and know where to look for the bugs.
How IBBRA is helping:
The IBBRA is dedicated to eliminating bed bugs by providing the most accurate educational materials, recognized product approval platform, and a network of trusted pest professionals. All of the pest professionals featured on the IBBRA website are required to uphold the most ethical business practices, remain current with all laws and regulations in their area, and be licensed and insured. Use our provider map to find a professional near you. You can navigate directly to their website for more info, or get their contact info right from their IBBRA listing.
Here at IBBRA we highly recommend heat treatments to end your bed bug problem. Heat works quickly and effectively, which allows your home or business to be operational in no time; But what happens after the heat treatment is done? There are still some cleanup procedures that you should follow before the bugs will be gone for good.
Bed Bug Clean-Up Tips
The first step in cleaning up after a bed bug infestation is to wipe down everything. This tip is one of the more apparent tasks, so we won’t spend too much time here. If you can wipe it down, do it! Make sure you get front, back, inside, under, and anywhere you can reach.
Next, you should spend some time vacuuming everything. This should be done carefully, and the vacuum bag or container should be emptied regularly and into separate garbage bags than your other trash.
Tips for Vacuuming the Treated Areas:
- Floors – Vacuum the whole room thoroughly.
- Carpet Edges – carefully lift carpet off the tack strips if possible. Using the nozzle or brush tool, slowly vacuum the perimeter of the room.
- Mattress – using the nozzle attachment, run the vacuum along the upper and lower sides of the piping (seam) that surrounds the mattress using a slow back and forth systematic movements. Start at one end and work your way around the bed, making sure not to miss any area. Next, using the flat attachment, vacuum the sides of the mattress, including any possible grommets and stitching throughout. Flip the mattress and repeat on the other side.
- Box springs – repeat all steps for cleaning your mattress. If your box springs have a dust cover, you may consider removing it and vacuuming inside the frame of the box spring.
- Upholstered furniture – sweep all parts of the chair inside and out just like you did with the mattress and box spring. Remove each cushion and vacuum thoroughly.
- Hard furniture – vacuum all areas inside and out.
If you have any items that you’d instead discard, it’s best to do this after the heat treatment, that way, the bugs have died before you discard the item. This prevents further spread of your bed bug problem. It’s still a good idea to use proper steps to discard items, though, even after the heat treatments.
The best way to discard these items is to wrap it completely. Most hardware stores carry plastic tarps used for painting. These can work well if you secure it properly, but you’ll need to use tape to secure it. We have also found that Shrink Wrap often used by the furniture and moving industry works well for both coverage and ease of movement and handling. It has a particular “stretch” quality so that you can easily cover any exposed area of the item you are wrapping. After complete and careful wrapping of each item you are discarding, attach a sign or mark with BIG BOLD LETTERS – BED BUG INFESTED – BEFORE taking it to the dumpster or the curb. If you are calling in a disposal company to pick up the infested items, make sure to tell them what it is that they are picking up and that it is infested with bed bugs, and it is wrapped for safety.
Lastly, if you hired a professional to perform your heat treatment, then you should ask them for a recommendation for further cleanup. Always follow your pest professional’s procedures and best practices to ensure that your treatment is successful and any warranties or guarantees stay in effect.
Need a professional? Check out our provider list at https://ibbra.org/service-providers/.
Need more info about bed bugs? Learn more at https://ibbra.org/faq/