No hall pass for pests in schools

Aug 27, 2021, 10:22 AM by Fred Speer

With more than six million students enrolled in public schools across California, there’s bound to be a package of cookies or a granola bar left in a desk or locker overnight. This seemingly harmless and all-too-common occurrence can lead certain transferring “students” to take advantage of the situation and help themselves to a meal.

There are other new enrollees arriving at and departing school each day inside backpacks or gym bags that no one notices. These ”students” are not even enrolled. They will not be making the honor roll or dean’s list this semester. In fact, they are annoying and disease-carrying pests, including mice, cockroaches, and bed bugs.

Why are pests attracted to schools?

Clark, your friendly pest control, termite, and grounds care expert, says that a lesson plan that has people constantly coming and going, has multiple areas where pests can hide, and has food being prepared, stored, served, and disposed of daily, will attract pests to schools from kindergarten to college.

Many locations in a school setting attract pests. Cafeterias and college dining halls where food is delivered, stored, prepared, and served are bound to produce crumbs, spills, leftovers, and garbage that can attract a variety of pests, including rodents, flies, and cockroaches. Student lockers, desks, and dorm rooms are also areas where ants, cockroaches, and rodents can feed on a leftover peanut butter and jelly sandwich or an open bag of potato chips.

As classrooms spring back to life, there is one pest that is not making the honor roll this semester: bed bugs.

Bed bugs and schools

How much of a problem are bed bugs in schools? Forty-seven percent of pest management professionals indicated they have treated for bed bugs in college dorms, and 41 percent have been called to schools or daycare centers to manage a bed bug problem.

Bed bugs are highly mobile pests that thrive in heavily populated and trafficked locations such as school classrooms, dormitories, and even buses. Their ability to hitch a ride home in a backpack, gym bag, or in a student’s shoes makes them a challenge to control.

Clark recommends the following tips to prevent bed bugs and other pests from giving you a failing grade this school year:

  • Regularly inspect student belongings – backpacks, gym bags, lunch boxes – for signs of bed bugs and other pests.
  • If your child’s school has reported a bed bug infestation, consider storing all school-related items in plastic storage bins.
  • Wash and dry cloth items returning from school in warm temperatures.
  • Remind your children not to leave food or snacks in backpacks, lockers, or desks. An open package of chocolate chip cookies or a spilled soda is like an open-book test for mice, ants, or cockroaches.

Pests and college students

If you have college students heading back to campus this fall, Clark recommends that they follow these steps to lessen the threat from bed bugs:

  • Before putting sheets on your dorm or apartment bed, inspect the mattress seams – particularly at the corners – and box springs for telltale stains or spots.
  • Thoroughly inspect the entire room before unpacking, including behind the headboard and in sofas and chairs.
  • Inspect any secondhand furniture for bed bugs and pests – mice can easily hide in couch cushions – before bringing it into a dorm room or off-campus housing.
  • When returning home for fall break or a weekend to restock on food, place bedding and clothing in garbage bags and inspect them for pests in the garage before bringing them in the house; wash and dry everything in warm temperatures.


Clark Pest Control is committed to safeguarding your home from pests during these challenging times. Our service technicians use such personal protective equipment as gloves, masks, and respirators, they practice social distancing, they call ahead to notify you before a service, and they adhere strictly to all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines when servicing inside or outside your home.

If you’re having a problem with pests in in your home, call California’s trusted, friendly pest control expert at (800) WE-NEED-YOU (936-3339) or email us at


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

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