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Back to School: Will Your Child be Bringing Home Bed Bugs?

School CrossingShocking statistics about the prevalence of bed bugs were recently published in The National Pest Management Association’s 2011 Bugs without Borders study. The report is culled from interviews with more than a thousand American pest management professionals, from Miami to Seattle. Bed bugs were encountered by just 25 percent of pest control professionals prior to the year 2000, according to the report. Today, that number has jumped to a whopping 95 percent. In other words, nearly every Portland and Seattle pest control company has responded to a service call for a bed bug infestation. Increasingly, those service calls for bed bug pest control come from schools.

Although many parents assume that schools are generally clean and pest-free, the Bugs Without Borders study suggests otherwise. Compared to last year, the NPMA found that 54 percent of pest control professionals have encountered bed bugs in college dorms, up from 35 percent. Similarly, 36 percent of respondents reported treating bed bug infestations in schools and day care centers in 2011, compared to only 10 percent of respondents in 2010. Essentially, the need for bed bug pest control in schools and day care centers has tripled in the span of a single year.

Given these numbers, you may be wondering whether your child could bring home bed bugs from school. Portland and Seattle pest control professionals offer the following tips to avoid transferring a bed bug pest control problem from the classroom to your home.

  • Examine your child as soon as he or she gets home. Look for the tiny bugs, which will be about the size of an apple seed, on your child’s clothing and backpack.
  • Keep your eyes out for bed bug bites, which are a clear signal that an infestation has taken place. Beg bugs like to bite in a “breakfast, lunch and dinner” pattern, meaning their bites are often repetitive and in a straight row.
  • If you do find any bugs or bites, immediately notify the school and call a Portland or Seattle bed bugs pest control expert for help. The Bugs Without Borders study confirmed that bed bugs are the most difficult pest to treat, so don’t assume you can prevent a bed bug infestation on your own. 

Finally, you should know that bed bug pest control professionals report more infestations in urban centers than in rural areas. If your child attends an urban school, he or she is at a higher risk of having bed bugs catch a ride home.

[ photo by: Kt Ann ]

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