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Bed Bugs—What Schools Need to Know
Bed Bugs Are a New Concern in Schools
Although active, established infestations of this insect in schools are probably rare, bed bugs can be carried in to schools by students or staff via backpacks, clothing, furniture, or other belongings. Therefore, schools should take steps to educate families and staff to prevent introducing bed bugs into schools, and to recognize and respond appropriately to bed bug sightings in schools.
When a bed bug is found, it can be difficult to determine the source. A bed bug found on a student or student’s belongings may have come from another student, rather than from the student’s home. Similar to head lice, it is very important to address the issue with care and sensitivity. There is no association between cleanliness, socioeconomic status, and bed bug infestations. Anyone can experience an infestation.
School IPM Policy and State Law
Bed bug management must be done according to the school’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) policy. Although bed bugs elicit a lot of emotions, schools should not overreact to an infestation. Each school must have an IPM policy in place and should follow it carefully when deciding how to control a confirmed bed bug problem. The school’s IPM Coordinator must approve any pesticide applications and make sure the regulations in CMR 01-026, Chapter 27, Standards for Pesticide Applications and Public Notification in Schools, are followed. Any pesticide application must be performed by licensed pesticide applicators.
Bed Bug Resources for Schools
Below are some resources to help schools prevent, recognize, and respond appropriately to bed bugs.
How to Have an Insect Identified
If a suspicious bug is found in school, it should be collected for identification. To collect the specimen, use a piece of tape, tissue or tweezers, and place the specimen in small leakproof vial, such as a pill bottle or film canister containing a small amount of rubbing alcohol. Do not crush the specimen. Do not mail or transport live specimens which can escape during transit. Have the specimen identified by your contracted pest management service or by the University of Maine Pest Management Office (telephone: 800-287-0279).
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