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If a bed bug is found on a child, should I isolate the child or send him or her home?
No. Bed bugs are not known to cause or transmit disease and the risk of person-to-person transference in school is very low. No child should be isolated or removed from a classroom setting. It is important to remember that bed bugs can resemble other insects and that many bed bugs submitted for identification are not, in fact, bed bugs.
If we see or capture a suspected bed bug in a classroom, should we close the room until a Pest Management Professional inspects it?
No. If it is a bed bug, it is likely that it was unknowingly brought it into the school by someone who encountered it in another place. If you have captured it, you may have already eliminated the problem. Additionally, many suspected bed bugs are not bed bugs at all. You should send the captured specimen to the DOE Pest Management Unit for identification by following the protocol described in the DOE’s Bed Bug Information Kit.
If the DOE Pest Management Unit has identified a bed bug from our school, what areas of the school will be treated?
The DOE Pest Management professional will inspect and, if necessary, treat the room in which the specimen was captured. In most cases, a thorough inspection and vacuuming of the room with a HEPA vacuum by the Pest Management Unit professional is the best treatment when there is not an infestation. If the Pest Management Professional determines that there is an infestation (bed bugs living and reproducing in the room), the rooms above, below and adjacent to the infested room will be inspected and treated as necessary.
If the DOE Pest Management Unit confirms that a specimen found in my school is a bed bug, should parents and staff be notified?
Parents of students in the entire building must be notified if there is an infestation, according to state law. An infestation is identified by bed bug reproduction in a given area. A single confirmed bed bug does not constitute an infestation. A DOE Pest Management professional must inspect the school and determine whether there is an infestation. Schools are not a friendly environment for bed bugs and the chance of an infestation is low. If it is determined that your school is infested, the Pest Management Unit will provide notification materials to share with parents and building staff.
What can we do at the school level to help reduce the risk of bed bugs?
Learn to identify the signs of bed bugs (visit the Health Department’s website or call 311 for additional information). Frequently inspect your rooms; if you see signs of bed bugs, report them immediately. If you capture a suspected specimen, submit it to the DOE Pest Management Unit following the procedures outlined in the beginning of this kit. Check your furniture frequently for bed bugs, especially chairs and couches. Get rid of clutter to reduce places in which bed bugs can hide and discard anything that is not being used. Seal cracks and crevices, and vacuum periodically. Consider removing rugs.