Every parent knows that sending their kid to school means exposing them to colds, the flu, lice, and much more. That just seems to be a part of growing up.
What shouldn’t be considered protocol for your school kids, however, is being at risk of bringing home bed bugs. With the unfortunate news that experts are predicting an increase in bed bug problems during 2014 (link to first blog post), you need to take every precaution to make sure that your child doesn’t increase your chances. Continue reading, then, for easy tips that you can follow to keep your school kid free of bed bugs if you happen to hear of an outbreak at school.
Tip #1 – Remove Clothes Immediately
Although bed bugs can be seen with the naked eye (they resemble tiny apple seeds), they’ve survived thousands of years by being very good at hiding. As such, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to search your kid for bed bugs the same way you might check them for lice.
Instead, when they get home, have them remove their school clothes immediately. It’s best they do this in a closed off room and definitely not the one they sleep in. Bed bugs love hiding in your clothes and then hitching a ride with another human as soon as they come in contact. In that way, school is a perfect environment for bed bugs to travel.
Once you have their clothes, wash them immediately on high heat. That temperature will be enough to kill any bed bugs that made it inside.
Tip #2 – Search Their Books and Backpack
While bed bugs are great at hiding, it’s worth looking through your child’s backpack and books if there’s been a recent outbreak at school. Take a flashlight to check every crevice of their backpack and in the seams of their books. Anywhere you could slide a credit card is a potential hiding spot for bed bugs, so don’t worry about being too careful.
Then, throw whatever you can into the dryer. This is a great reason to purchase a backpack that’s machine washable. Anything that can be put in the dryer for at least 30 minutes should be. You can also purchase portable heaters specifically designed to kill off bed bugs and their eggs.
Tip #3 – Protect Your Beds
Despite taking all the necessary precautions, it’s still possible for bed bugs to get in your home. So don’t be surprised if one morning this year you wake up to find little spots of blood on your sheets or find pellets or shed skin in your child’s bed.
First, keep in mind that bed bugs do not spread disease to us. So, although it might make our flesh crawl to imagine them feeding on our flesh, it’s not a medical emergency. Of course, if you or your loved ones are allergic, the bites will certainly be less tolerable.
Start by washing all the bedding. There’s a common misconception that bed bugs are attracted to poor hygiene. While this isn’t true, if they’re still living in the bedding, a trip through the washer and dryer will kill them off.
Next, purchase specially made bedding that will lock in any bed bugs that have already infested your mattress. This bedding will keep out further infestation and kill them inside through starvation.
If All Else Fails
Bed bugs are notoriously difficult to get rid of. In fact, in a recent study by PPMA, 76% of pest control professionals felt they were the #1 most difficult pest to control.
So don’t feel bad if your DIY methods don’t have the desired impact.
Call Dugas Pest Control today and ask about our bed bug control service, and let us worry about the bed bugs while you worry about giving your kids the best education possible.