It’s back to school time for thousands of California and northern Nevada students, from kindergarteners on their first day of school to college seniors. If one or more of those new or returning students lives under your roof, Clark, your neighborly pest control expert, hopes they have fun with their friends, earn good grades, and get involved in school activities – sports, student government, a play, the band, or anything else worthwhile.
Clark doesn’t want to give those students a failing grade right out of the gate, but the reality is that pests are part of the lesson plan for schools big and small. Pests are attracted to school environments because of the readily available sources of food, water, and shelter that can be found there.
Many locations within 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’s one particular class of pests that are not making the honor roll this semester: bed bugs.
How much of a problem are bed bugs in schools? Forty-seven percent of pest management professionals indicated that 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 aboard buses. Their ability to hitch a ride home in a backpack or gym bag, or inside a student’s shoes, makes them a challenge to control.
Clark recommends the following tips to prevent bed bugs and other pests from becoming a problem this school year:
- Inspect student belongings regularly – 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.
Clark recommends that college students follow these steps to keep bed bugs and pests in check:
- 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 second-hand 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.
If you are having a problem with bed bugs in your home, call or text California’s trusted, friendly pest control expert, Clark, at (800) WE-NEED-YOU (936-3339), or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time, the pest management professionals at Clark Pest Control thank you for helping to keep unwanted pests out of your home.