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.
Although heat treatment is a proven safe and effective method of killing bed bugs and their eggs, how can you be certain an individual treatment has been 100% successful?
The only way to know for sure is to do another inspection and do all you can to make sure the first treatment is the last. So, how can you do that? Read on to find out.
Dogs are amazing creatures, and their sense of smell is remarkable. Dogs have been used by law enforcement agencies to track people and sniff out drugs and explosives for many years, but have now become an important part of the armory for bed bug control. They can detect up to two parts per trillion of the scent of bed bugs and alert their handlers to the presence of both adults and eggs.
There is no better or more cost-effective method of discovering whether bed bugs are present before treatment or whether any have survived after treatment. They are supremely accurate, and the legal system recognizes certified canines as a scientific instrument.
K-9 detection is efficient and precise. Even a large hotel can be completely screened in a comparatively short time, and a canine can detect even a single bed bug. It doesn’t require any disruption to the home or business, besides ensuring the dog can work in the necessary areas.
Because of the precision, K-9 detection allows early intervention, destroying the pest before it can become a severe infestation.
The Cimastat system of treatment verification is the other vital tool for checking that the heat treatment has done its job. The specially produced labels can be placed anywhere: under mattresses, in drawers, between the pages of a book, or in cupboards – anywhere you think there might be a problem area.
Two temperatures are critical in the heat treatment of bed bugs. Adult bed bugs die at 113℉/45℃, and all life stages are extinguished at 122℉/50℃. The Cimastat labels have two boxes with these figures clearly printed. Each changes from blue to orange when that temperature is reached, with the entire label turning orange at the higher temperature. This shows visible proof that the treatment has reached sufficient heat levels.
These labels are certified by the International Bed Bug Authority and offer proof that the treatment has reached the required temperature in every location they have been placed. They are economical as you can reuse them. Simply place in a freezer at -4℉/-20℃ for 30 minutes, and the labels will return to the original blue color.
Cimastat labels are the ideal way of documenting a heat treatment’s effectiveness and demonstrate to both contractor and customer that the bed bugs have been killed at all stages of their life cycle.
When used together, these two methods assure that all traces of bed bugs have been eradicated. They offer early detection of the pest that allows a swift response and evidence that the heat treatment has worked and that the bed bugs have been destroyed. This is particularly useful for professionals, as it offers clients proof that the heat treatment has been effective.
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.
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/
It’s been established that heat treatments are the most effective and fastest way to kill bed bugs. Scientists and pest professionals agree that heat treatments should be the preferred initial treatment in most bed bug cases. Chemical treatment follow-ups or pre-treatments are also an option if performed by trained professionals. Additionally, K-9 inspections are an effective pre and post-inspection technique to ensure that your heat treatments are successful. But before you jump to perform a heat treatment, there are things that you can do to help make the process go a bit smoother and add to the success rate of your treatments. These tips and tricks are perfect for DIY heat treatments or before your pest technician come to perform a professional treatment.
Always discuss pre and post-treatment preparation with your pest professional before you start your prep work!
Proper preparation is a mandatory requirement for your heat treatment to be effective. If you’ve hired a service technician, they should outline this in detail and provide instructions on what to do. Preparation is generally done by the resident, although in some cases, companies will offer preparation for an additional charge, or in some cases, the resident may be charged a penalty for not completing the preparation list. Be sure to speak to your service technician beforehand if you cannot complete the list.
Preparation involves providing access for pest control treatment as well as taking measures to ensure that bed bugs are destroyed or contained.
If a home is not properly prepared, successful elimination may be practically impossible.
SAMPLE PREPARATION LIST FOR HEAT TREATMENTS
______Items stored under the bed provide an infinite amount of bed bug hiding places. Be very careful and open all containers and slightly pull the bins from under the bed. Air should be able to move inside and around the bins easily.
______ All furniture in the dwelling usually need to be pulled away from the baseboards and walls, and it is commonly asked that all furniture containing potential hiding crevices, such as bookshelves and desks, be opened or even emptied and left open for the exterminator to treat. Ask your technician what is necessary.
_____ Open all the drawers in any dressers, side tables, cabinets, or shelving. Make sure the items inside are loosely packed, and heat can permeate the items.
_____ Remove and properly discard cardboard boxes, shoe boxes, paper, and plastic bags, old newspapers, stacks of magazines, and similar items in all potentially infested rooms. Be sure to seal and mark them in plastic bags before removal. (Remember, bed bugs love clutter, it provides an infinite number of places for them, and those “cluttered” items might be where they are hiding)
_____ Unplug all electronics except major appliances. Usually, it will be safe for electronics to remain in the treatment area but always check with your pest professional.
_____ Remove framed pictures and posters from the walls to avoid damages. Lay them flat in the room.
_____ Vinyl or faux wood blinds may have a low heat tolerance; they may need removed and placed in a pile of other heat-sensitive items on a table.
_____ Remove items that may melt, like candles, deodorant, chocolate, and lipstick.
_____ Remove medications and perishable foods.
_____ Collect all aerosol cans, fire extinguishers, lighters, soda cans, and pressurized containers and remove them from the treatment area.
_____ Don’t bag up too many items! Items in bags can be hard to treat. Do not over-prepare!
____ Alert your pest professional of any sprinklers. Heat can set off the sprinkler system, so the sprinkler heads need to be caped and protected.
For items and areas that cannot be treated, or may have been challenging to treat, there are several steps you can take to ensure that bed bugs aren’t hiding in those items.
- Always inspect heat-sensitive items carefully. Small things that show signs of bed bug activity can be placed in a plastic bag and put in the freezer, or sprayed with professional chemicals to kill and bugs.
- Make sure you launder all bedding, stuffed animals, drapes, clothing, and other washable items to ensure that bed bugs aren’t still hiding there. Items should be dried on the hottest setting possible on your dryer. Items should be secured in a plastic bag and tied in-order to transport to your laundry area. This helps to avoid the spread of bed bugs to other areas of your home.
- After treatment, you should vacuum all areas around the bed and other furniture. Empty the vacuum bag or container into a trash bag that is tightly sealed.
- Make sure any discarded items are sealed in plastic and labeled as “Bed Bug Infested” before dropping in the garbage.
Always follow professional advice for ways you can prepare your room for a heat treatment or inspection. Some professionals may have different requirements depending on the equipment used.
Want to perform your own heat treatment? Check out our heat equipment rental providers at https://ibbra.org/service-providers/. You can find a professional rental location near you that offers equipment, professional add-on services and tutorials on how to perform your own heat treatments!