Students vs. bed bugs at British outdoor activity center

by nobugsonme on May 20, 2009 · 5 comments

in bed bugs, bed bugs in schools, bed bugs in the workplace, england, united kingdom

The Kingston Guardian (UK) reports that A school trip to an outdoor activity center went awry when students encountered bed bugs:

Children from Coombe Junior School had to camp outside while their dormitories were sprayed with pesticide last week, after bed bugs invaded an activity centre.

Year 5 pupils were affected when Hindleap Warren in East Sussex was infested with bed bugs, closing down many of its 80 rooms, after an outbreak six weeks ago.

The father of one Coombe Junior pupil said: “The children are very disappointed because they could only go for a couple of nights.”

But David Nottidge, director of Hindleap, denied poor cleanliness was responsible for the outbreak and said visitors had been warned of the bed bug outbreak before they arrived. He said the local council had also been informed.

A simple warning means little to people who don’t know much about bed bugs.

It would therefore be interesting to know what kind of information was provided about bed bugs — and how to avoid them — for these visiting groups, and for the local council. I truly hope they also took precautions to avoid taking bed bugs home.

The same article notes that students from another school group, Claremont Fan Court School in Esher, returned home from the same center complaining they’d been infected with scabies there; the center denied the presence of the scabies mite.

In my experience, doctors frequently misdiagnose bed bug bites as scabies, and treat for scabies (my own doctor did the same).  Perhaps this was true in the case of these students as well.

See: Night of camping for Coombe pupils after bed bug infestation From Kingston Guardian.

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1 Jeff Grill May 20, 2009 at 3:35 pm

Unfortunately Bed Bugs are becoming a big problem around the world. I’ve been listing these problems on the site Bed Bugs Handbook. It’s interesting how Bed Bugs and Scabies Mites get mixed up. I agree that the Doctors should know better.

2 nobugsonme May 20, 2009 at 3:50 pm

It’s also interesting how many bed bug copycat sites have sprung up.

3 Bed Bugs May 21, 2009 at 9:26 am

What is the difference between Scabies Mites and Bed Bugs??

4 nobugsonme May 21, 2009 at 12:48 pm

Hi Bed Bugs,

Scabies mites are very small. You will not be able to see them. They burrow under your skin. They are spread by close contact with someone who has scabies (generally skin to skin, from what I gather, though it could be a recently used sheet or towel, for example). The only sign will be a skin problem, which can sometimes be mistaken for bed bug bites. It can be eliminated with a prescription cream and a thorough hot wash and dry of bedding, towels, and clothing. This information may help.

Bed bugs vary in size from 1/32″ (1mm) long to 1/6″ (6mm) — at their largest, around the size of an appleseed. You can see them, though they prefer to feed at night when you are sleeping, so you may not see them. Their appearance varies in terms of size and color depending on life stage and whether they have fed, or fed recently. They do not burrow under skin, but crawl onto you and feed for about 5-10 minutes, about once a week per bed bug. They then crawl away to hide until they need to feed again. They can be hard to detect, but they do leave other signs such as fecal traces and she skins, which you should be able to see in time (even if they’re hard to spot in early stages). They can be very difficult to eliminate, and this generally requires the help of a professional with lots of experience killing bed bugs. You can see some life photos here. And additional photos of bed bugs and signs of bed bugs here.

5 nobugsonme September 14, 2009 at 12:33 am

Update on this story here.

The activity centre just reopened with a pricey new accommodation block. No mention of what treatment was used to rid the centre of bed bugs.

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