This is the time of year when school is starting to ramp up. If you have little ones, they're probably bringing home projects and homework to do on the dining room table. If you have college-age kids, you're probably not hearing from them because they are preoccupied with the mountain of work they have to get through--and that can have you worried. Another thing you might want to be a little worried about is that your kids, both young and old, can bring home something from school that nobody wants in their home. Yep. Bed bugs.
While it is important to understand that elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools are not common infestation areas for bed bugs, these are hitchhiking bugs that can use schools as a hub to go from one home to the next. And, since bed bug infestations continue to climb at an alarming rate, it is a good idea to learn a few things about these bugs, and share the information with your kids.
Here are 5 things your kids need to know about bed bugs that may keep them from bringing them home.
Bed bugs have infested schools from elementary schools all the way to universities. They are most common in dormitories where students from all over the world come to stay and sleep. Fortunately, many schools have a bed bug action plan to protect students, and the school's reputation. If your college-age kids discover bed bugs, they should report them immediately.
Younger kids can pick up bed bugs at school. But, it is much more likely they will get them during a sleepover at a friend's house. They should be aware of what bed bugs look like so they are able to recognize them in either place.
Bed bugs don't just live in dirty places, or on dirty friends. Anyone can have bed bugs, and it is nothing to be ashamed of. These pests will live with anyone who will give them access to a blood meal.
When bed bugs first hatch, they are the size of the tip on a pen, and their skin (cuticle) is mostly transparent. This makes them hard to see unless they have had a blood meal. If they have eaten or are in the process of eating, they will appear as tiny six-legged red bugs that are a mere speck on the skin.
Kids should always be looking for bed bug bites on themselves or others. Bed bug bites look like mosquito bites, and usually will be accompanied by a red rash. These bites will develop over days and slowly begin to itch more and more. They will also tend to be in a line or cluster. This is because bed bugs eat multiple times in a row.
Learn how to identify bed bugs and the bites they leave, and familiarize yourself with all of the many places bed bugs have been found. Make sure your kids know this information too. It could save you from a traumatizing infestation.