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Back To School Pest Prevention Tips

a large classroom

It is that time of year again; the temperatures are getting cooler, the days getting shorter and the kids are headed back to school. With back-to-school, homework might not be the only thing your child is bringing home with them. You should not only be checking your child’s math problems and spelling but also checking for lice and bed bugs.

Schools are a perfect place for lice to spread. On the bright side, lice are not dangerous. On the downside, they are a major pain and extremely hard to treat. Lice are very tiny bugs with adults only being about the size of a sesame seed. The most obvious sign of head lice is itching. Before you treat your child, you should check for lice to make sure you’re treating them for nothing. To check for lice, section the hair off so you can search by area, and use your fingers or a comb to look at the base of the hair. You can also use a lice comb. Look for living bugs as well as eggs. Eggs are often close to the scalp and glued to the strand of hair.

If you find your child has lice, you should contact the school nurse immediately so that other parents can be warned and on the lookout for lice on their children. You should also contact your child’s doctor to see what course of treatment they recommend. There are several effective over-the-counter treatment options available. While your child is being treated, be sure to wash all bedding in the hottest water possible, toss, soak, or freeze (in a sealed bag) any other items that cannot go through the washing machine such as headphones or helmets. If an item cannot be frozen or washed, keep it in a sealed bag for 10-14 days. It is sometimes necessary to contact a home pest control professional to help you get rid of lice in your home.

Another insect your child could be bringing home with them is bed bugs. Bed bugs are known hitchhikers and they will catch a ride into your home on anything it can, including on your child. Like lice, bed bugs don’t pose any threats to humans but they can be really annoying. They come out at night to eat and your blood is their food of choice. They are great at hiding and are pretty much impossible to get rid of without the help of a pest control professional.

Bed bugs leave behind tiny, red, rash-like bumps. They are not often seen because they are nocturnal so you have to be looking for the signs. In addition to the bites, you can be on the lookout for copper spots on sheets, discarded skins, or blood stains on your bedding. You should take a flashlight and check in the cracks, crevices, and creases of furniture and bedding regularly.

Bed bugs are not bothered by most pesticides so trying to take care of a bed bug problem on your own can pose more of a risk to you and your family than the bugs themselves. If you suspect a bed bug problem, you should contact an exterminator immediately.

While there may not be any way of preventing these bugs and keeping them out of your home entirely, being educated can help you and your family limit your exposure to them.