Give Pests a Failing Grade This School Year

Aug 30, 2016, 08:11 AM by Fred Speer

Give bugs a failing grade
New backpack – check. New gym shoes – check. Finding out you have study hall first period instead of algebra – double check!

It’s back to school time for millions of kids in California, and the Clark Man wants you to study hard, have fun with your friends and enjoy a pest-free school year.

Pests in schools have been around as long as chalk has been meeting blackboards. And it’s not just the K-12 schools: Preschools and colleges are also great science labs for nuisance pests.

Why are pests attracted to schools? It’s as easy as an open-book history final – because there are ample sources of food, water, and shelter available.

Student lockers, desks, and dorm rooms easily become homeroom for pests that feed on food left behind. Cafeterias and boiler/furnace rooms are attractive study locations for pests that enjoy the warmth and moisture associated with these locations.

Students, teachers, and staff also bring about pest pressure in a school. They can be unknowing school buses for pests, bringing them in from home (more often taking them home!) in backpacks, lunch boxes, musical instrument cases, and athletic gear.

How can you do to prevent pests from studying abroad this semester in your home? The Clark Man has this homework assignment for parents:

  • Regularly inspect and clean out backpacks, gym bags, lunch boxes, musical instrument cases, athletic gear and any other packages that come home from school. Pests can easily hitch a ride home in any of these items so keep an eye on them
  • Remind your budding scholars not to leave food or snacks in backpacks, lockers, or desks. An open package of chocolate chip cookies or a spilled soda is extra credit for mice, ants, or cockroaches
  • Eliminating clutter will reduce pest hiding and breeding locations: Pests such as cockroaches and mice are most comfortable when amongst the clutter of a dorm room or school locker
  • Use storage containers or sealed plastic bags to store clothing and bedding. This will keep bed bugs and other pests from hitching a ride home for the weekend.  And try to avoid bringing that used couch that was ‘such a good deal’ into a dorm room. It could be a living science experiment for bed bugs and their eggs
  • And speaking of parasites, make sure students understand the risks involved in using their friends’ combs and brushes. Lice seem to come off vacation when school starts, too

Remember, if you think your home is failing on pests, 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.