Photo Credit: PRA
Back to School season is here! I’m sure there are a lot of parents out there that are excited to have their little ones out of the house, and are equally excited to get their school supply shopping over with. However, since bed bugs are on the rise across the country, it may be wise to squeeze in some time to learn how to keep Junior from bringing them home.
If a bed bug alert is released in your school district, there are a few steps you can take to help prevent a bed bug infestation from spreading into your home. While it may not be feasible to perform strict inspections and treatments all the time, you can at least follow these steps until the school has conducted an extermination and lifted the alert.
While bed bugs can be seen with the naked eye, they are professional hiders, and veteran hitch-hikers. They get from place to place by tucking into the seams and folds of travelers’ clothing, allowing them to easily spread to their new host’s home.
Since it’s so easy for bed bugs to transfer from person to person through direct contact, it’ll be nearly impossible for you to keep bed bugs off of your child completely – any recess or activity time risks a transfer. While putting your little one in a bubble probably won’t be as fun as it sounds, the next best route would be to treat his or her clothes after class.
Have your child change clothes in an enclosed area, like a laundry room, as soon as they come home. Then, run the clothing through the washer and dryer on high heat. The laundry machine’s heat will kill any bed bugs that tried to hitch a ride by clinging to the fabric.
Inspect Backpack and Books
As mentioned previously, bed bugs are very good at hiding in seams and folds. This is not limited to clothing and soft fabrics, though – they can hide just about anywhere a credit card can fit. This means that there may be bed bugs or eggs stowing away in your child’s backpack, books, or other supplies.
If a bed bug alert is active in your school or district, you should perform a quick inspection of your kid’s backpack when they come home. Shine a flashlight inside, paying special attention to the seams and zippers. Check the inside of pencil cases and the binding of any textbooks. Look for dark brown bugs about half the size of an apple seed, as well as small milky white eggs.
If you do find any signs of bed bugs in your child’s belongings, throw what you can in the dryer for at least a half hour on high heat. Anything that can’t go in a dryer can be treated with a portable bed bug heater, like a PackTite.
Encase and Elevate the Bed
It’s always possible for bed bugs to evade your inspection and treatment efforts, making their way into your home despite your best efforts. If this is the case, your next step would be to ensure that they can’t feed on you or your loved ones. Bed bugs need to feed to grow and reproduce – if you cut off their food supply, they won’t be able to prosper in your home.
Begin by removing your child’s sheets, blankets, and pillowcases. Seal those in garbage bags and take them directly to the washing machine (notice a pattern yet?). While the bedding is being washed and dried on high heat settings, seal the mattress, box spring, and pillows in SafeRest bed bug covers.
Next, place some ClimbUp bed bug traps under each leg of your child’s bed frame. This will keep any bed bugs present out of their bed by trapping them in a talcum-lined pitfall when they try to climb up the bed legs. This is a great step to preventing bed bug bites, whether or not you suspect there are bed bugs in your home.
Bed bugs are certainly a growing threat across the country, and the new school season presents easy opportunities for them to spread. By taking some simple preventative measures, you can help ensure that your family’s school year is a happy and healthy one.