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Is Your Kid Bringing Pests Home From School?

By Thorn Team • Dec 22nd 2022

Are your kids headed back to school? Did you know they can bring pests home at the end of the day? And we’re not just talking about lice… we’re talking about pests like cockroaches and bed bugs. Yikes!

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Are your kids headed back to school? Did you know they can bring pests home at the end of the day? And we’re not just talking about lice… we’re talking about pests like cockroaches and bed bugs. Yikes!

Schools provide a unique environment. Some pests thrive in school, and others use the school as a sort of “train station” where they can readily spread from place to place discreetly.

Schools can implement several simple and all-natural pest control methods to reduce common classroom pests like flies, spiders, and pantry pests. Other problems like roaches and bed bugs are better at hiding. They don’t necessarily come out during the school day, but they can hitchhike home in clothing, backpacks, and lunchboxes.

Also, let’s not forget head lice. While head lice are not typically handled by a pest professional, if you’ve ever had lice, you know they’re a serious pest. What should you do if your kid brings them home from school?

A Special Note on Lice: Do Kids With Lice Need to Stay Home From School?

Imagine: it’s the end of the day, and your child comes home from school in good spirits, but it doesn’t take long to notice: they’re scratching their head a lot! Suddenly, alarm bells are sounding in your head – could they have brought lice home from school?!

Lice are parasitic insects that feed on human blood. They may not carry disease, but they are quick to infest and can cause discomfort. If your child has lice, you may wonder whether they need to stay home.

In general, it is best to keep children with lice at home until they have been treated for headlice with a good quality, over-the-counter lice treatment. Just know that not all schools require children with lice to stay home, and not all parents will keep their student home if they contract lice. Teach your child to avoid lice with these simple strategies:

  • Avoid sharing clothing with classmates, especially scarves, jackets, helmets, and caps.
  • Don’t use other people’s brushes, combs, scrunchies, hair ties, etc.
  • Never share personal items like towels; if you play sports, bring your gear that isn’t shared.

Parents, you can help your children avoid lice by swapping your family’s regular shampoo with a tea tree oil shampoo. This step should be taken before lice come home. While tea tree has a distinct smell that may require a little getting used to, lice have been shown to despise it, and using these products can help discourage lice from ever landing on your student’s head in the first place.

SOME QUICK ADVICE FROM THORN: Teachers can take some clever steps to cut down on the spread of lice and other hitchhiking pests in your classroom:

  1. Know how to spot the itchy, scratchy signs of lice.
  2. Give parents information on how to perform thorough lice checks on their kiddos.
  3. Make sure communal reading areas have no stuffed animals, blankets, or pillows. Think about utilizing hard surfaces that can easily be wiped down and don’t easily harbor nits (lice eggs).
  4. Coat racks and shared class closets contribute to the spread of lice. If the classroom has communal areas where children hang their belongings, items should hang far enough apart that they do not touch.

If you feel your student’s class could take better steps to reduce the transmission of pests, don’t be afraid to get involved, but aim to be helpful about it. Teachers work a demanding job, and they often feel overwhelmed. They would surely appreciate help when it comes to pest-proofing their classrooms. After all, teachers don’t want to bring pests home at the end of their day, either!

Can Kids Spread Bed Bugs at School?

Pest control companies are commonly asked whether kids can spread bed bugs at school, and the answer is yes, they can. Bed bugs are excellent stowaways. They are easily transported to and from school in clothes, backpacks, and other personal belongings. They are also spread through direct contact with someone who is carrying them.

There are a few things you can do to help prevent the spread of bed bugs at school:

  • Start by educating your child about bed bugs. Make sure they know what bed bugs look like and how they are spread.
  • Regularly inspect your child’s backpack and clothing for signs of bed bugs. If you find an insect and you’re unsure if it’s a bed bug, save the sample in a plastic sandwich bag or stick it to a piece of tape. A sample will help you (or a pest professional) identify the pest in question.
  • If you find bed bugs in your home, contact the right people as soon as possible. If you live in a single-family home, contact a local pest control company that specializes in IPM and uses bed bug dogs for detection. Contact your building manager or landlord if you live in apartments or multi-family housing. You may want to avoid this step, but doing so will allow time for a bed bug issue to go from bad to worse, and a good landlord will understand that bed bugs are a common issue in apartment buildings. (Look below for more information on this topic).

SOME QUICK ADVICE FROM THORN: Finding bites alone is not enough evidence to confirm a bed bug issue. Getting bit while you sleep is frustrating, especially if you or a loved one are sensitive to insect bites, but many bugs can bite at night. Without visual confirmation of bed bugs, there’s no way to know for sure. The bites could have been caused by fleas, spiders, mosquitoes, or something else.

How Easy Is It to Bring Roaches Home From School?

Like bed bugs, it’s easy for roaches to catch a ride home with your student, given the right circumstances.

Cockroaches are incredibly good at hiding, and certain species of roaches (like the incredibly common German cockroach) are smaller than you might think. They also camouflage well, making them even harder to spot if they come home on your child’s backpack, lunchbox, or other school items.

Cockroaches are usually brought home from school in clothing, cardboard boxes, or in lunch boxes and backpacks. But how did they get to school in the first place? By doing what they do best: hiding out and catching a ride.

A school is a unique environment where many people from different lifestyles come together in close contact. This is the perfect place for pests to spread if given the chance.

Dealing with Cockroaches or Bed Bugs in Apartments

Ultimately, cockroaches and bed bugs travel to and from schools by coming in with some students and leaving with others. These pests thrive in many environments and are experts at staying hidden. Your family should have a plan for how to identify and prevent bringing pests home, especially if you live in apartments.

Apartment buildings and multi-family dwellings are notoriously susceptible to pests like cockroaches and bed bugs. Not all buildings have them, but these pests can utilize the natural comings and goings of the building combined with the building’s structure to quickly get around between units and go relatively undetected.

The key to combatting pests brought home from school is learning to avoid them and detect them early on. If you live in an apartment or multi-family dwelling, it is essential to know how to:

  • Avoid bringing pests inside
  • Identify pests capable of infesting
  • Properly report issues to building management

SOME QUICK ADVICE FROM THORN: One of the biggest reasons pests easily spread through apartment buildings is fear of reporting.

Many tenants fear that they could be held responsible if they report pest issues to their property manager or landlord. This is a reasonable fear, but tenants should feel empowered to report these issues so they can be dealt with quickly and efficiently.

If you’re avoiding filing a report about a pest issue, this could give the pest time to become more deeply established inside, making them even more challenging to eradicate. Just be familiar with your lease and know your rights as a tenant so you’re not blamed for something that isn’t your responsibility.

Pest Control Trainings in Schools

If pests like roaches or bed bugs have become a repeated issue at your school, it might be time to try implementing school-wide IPM practices. Parents, students, school staff, and volunteers should be trained in pest identification and control strategies.

Consider organizing a school pizza night and inviting families and staff to come and learn about the importance of pest identification and methods of inspection and avoidance. Everyone needs to be on the same page if you’re going to keep these persistent pests out of your home (and school) for good!

Effective Bed Bug and Cockroach Extermination in Utah

Pest control is a multi-part strategy game that requires experience, forethought, and quick thinking, but it should not involve immediately running for over-the-counter baits and sprays. These can make pest issues much worse over time.

Thorn Pest Solutions has been solving severe pest issues in Utah schools, apartments, and homes for over 15 years. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, we have the expertise to get the job done with as little stress to you as possible. We’re here to pinpoint where your pest problems are coming from and take actionable steps to solve them. We specialize in bringing peace to homes (and learning spaces) all over Utah.

About Thorn

Thorn is a Utah local pest management company. We are a QualityPro certified company which is a prestigious accreditation awarded too less than 3% of the pest management companies in the US.

Contact Us Today

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About Thorn

Thorn is a Utah local pest management company. We are a QualityPro certified company which is a prestigious accreditation awarded too less than 3% of the pest management companies in the US.

Contact Us Today