Back to school pest prevention tips

Aug 19, 2022, 13:34 PM by Fred Speer

It’s back to school for thousands of students across California. Schools and campuses are alive with activity, from kindergarteners on their first day of school to college seniors on their final first day of classes.

The return of children, teachers, and staff to the classroom means that pest activity levels are certain to increase. Think of the large quantities of food that will be prepared, consumed, and then discarded in cafeterias and dining halls, and what a ripe target that will be for pests, including rodents, cockroaches, and flies.

Mini-fridges and pantries in college dorm rooms, and lockers and desks in middle schools, contain food that is not always sealed properly and is easily accessible to hungry pests. And then there are bed bugs, but more on that later.

When you add it up, schools are ripe environments for pests to come and go, and that can spell trouble with a capital T for students, teachers, and staff.

Back to school with bed bugs

For college students returning to campus, many will be coming fresh from internships and summer travel adventures. They will also arrive with the obligatory secondhand furniture, including mattresses, futons, dressers, couches, and television and stereo stands.

This mix creates the potential for pests, mainly bed bugs, to give a failing grade to even the most dedicated student. Bed bugs can also threaten elementary, middle school, and high school environments, because they are easily transported on clothing and backpacks.

Clark, your friendly pest control, termite, and grounds care expert, knows that bed bugs (and all pests for that matter) are opportunistic and elusive. These nocturnal pests, when introduced to new environments like dorm rooms, apartments, rental homes, or lockers and classrooms, can spread quickly to infest sofas, chairs, picture frames, and other staples of college housing décor.

To help prevent bed bugs, from putting students in pest detention, Clark Pest Control offers the following tips for students, teachers, and parents:

  • Fully inspect suitcases, duffle bags, storage bins, and backpacks prior to re-packing for a return to school, especially if summer travel was involved.
  • Make sure that any clothes that may have been previously packed have been washed in hot water.
  • Before putting sheets on your bed, inspect the mattress seams, particularly at the corners, for the telltale stains or spots that bed bugs leave.
  • Thoroughly inspect the entire room before unpacking, including behind the headboard and in sofas and chairs. If you see anything suspect, immediately contact a university facility manager or your landlord.
  • If you are bringing or buying secondhand furniture, properly inspect it to ensure that a pest problem, such as bed bugs, is not the reason for its secondhand status. If you see anything suspect, do not bring it into your dorm or apartment.


School – a unique pest environment

All school environments – from kindergarten classrooms to university campuses – face unique challenges when it comes to pests. As mentioned earlier, pests – including flies, cockroaches, ants, spiders, stinging insects, lice, and rodents – all are attracted to the school environment.

Some helpful pest prevention tips include:

  • Keeping dorm rooms and rental properties clean, removing trash regularly, and storing food in sealed containers will help deter pests.
  • Cleaning out lunch boxes regularly and inspecting backpacks and gym bags for signs of pests will help reduce conditions that attract pests.
  • Parents and teachers should also remind students not to store food in lockers or desks where pests have easy access to it, and where those pests can hitch a ride home in a backpack, gym bag, or article of clothing.
  • In elementary schools, dreaded head lice can be problematic among students. But unlike other pests, a health care professional should handle lice control. To help prevent problems with lice, discourage your child from sharing hats, helmets, hair accessories, hairbrushes, clothing, or other personal items with classmates.

Got questions about pests? Call Clark

Call or text Clark at (800) WE-NEED-YOU (936-3339) if pests are trying to enroll in your home, dorm room, or apartment this semester. You can also email us at for more information.

Until next time, the pest management professionals at Clark Pest Control thank you for helping to keep unwanted pests out of your home and yard.

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