Giving Pests a Failing Grade

Aug 31, 2017, 12:23 PM by Fred Speer

Give Pests a Failing GradeSchools are more than a place of higher learning for students of all ages. They are also one of the most pest-friendly environments found on the planet.

From elementary schools to college dormitories, the abundance of food, water, and places to hide give pests a hall pass – not only to be an annoyance, but also to pose a threat to the safety of students, teachers, and staff.

Why are schools such pest magnets? Nearly every elementary, middle, and high school has a cafeteria where meals are prepared, eaten, and discarded five days a week. Add in faculty lounges, concession stands, and even outside food vendors, and the result is a significant volume of food being delivered, prepared, and consumed.

With that volume come garbage and waste – items at the top of the syllabus for pests, including rodents, flies, ants, and cockroaches.

Lockers and desks are another major source of food and shelter for pests. What third-grader hasn’t left a perfectly good PB&J sandwich in a locker for several days in favor of an ice cream bar? Multiply that by several hundred or even thousand students, and you have the potential to attract many unwanted pests.

Schools also possess a highly transient population, with students and teachers coming and going each day. The risk of an unwanted pest hitching a ride from school to home, or vice versa, in a backpack or gym bag is very real.

One pest that thrives on hitching a ride is the bed bug. Since bed bugs are a highly mobile pest that thrives in heavily populated and trafficked locations, such as schools, they easily can be transferred by students on clothing or belongings.

What can parents do to make sure the only thing coming home in their students backpack are A+ grades? The Clark Man recommends the following tips to prevent pests from putting a damper to the start of the school year:

  • Inspect student backpacks, gym bags, lunch boxes regularly for any signs of pest activity.
  • Clean the above-mentioned items to remove food crumbs and spills that would attract pests.
  • If a bed bug infestation or other pest issue is reported at your child’s school, consider storing all school-related items in a sealed plastic bin at home.
  • Wash and dry cloth items returning from school in warm temperatures to eliminate bed bugs.
  • Remind students not to leave food or snacks in backpacks, lockers, or desks. An open package of cookies or a spilled juice box will attract pests.

If you have questions about protecting your students and home from pests this school year, call or text (800) WE-NEED-YOU (936-3339) or drop me an email at

Until next time I’m the Clark Man, and thanks for helping me keep unwanted pests out of your home.

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