The Hazleton, Pennsylvania school district went bed bug-wild on Wednesday, after a single student apparently discovered a single bed bug bite after a sleepover, according to the Standard Speaker.
The discovery of a child with a bedbug bite at the Valley Elementary Middle School on Tuesday led exterminators to search five schools on Veterans Day to make sure there was no infestation before classes resumed Thursday.
School administrators checked with the family of the student who was bitten and found that she had attended a sleepover. Her family and the family that hosted the sleepover have a total of six children who attend five schools: Valley, Hazleton Area High School, the Ninth Grade Center, the Hazleton Area Career Center and Heights-Terrace Elementary/Middle School.
Not only did the pest control company search the well-trod paths those six students normally moved along, checking their classrooms, buses, and lockers they all used, but
As a precaution, technicians sprayed a mix of five chemicals in the areas where the students traveled. Temborski said the chemicals don’t harm people and dry in two to four hours, so the closing of school for Veterans Day provided an ideal time to work.
In addition, the two families involved (the girl’s family and the sleepover host’s family) had their homes professionally treated for bed bugs by All ‘Bout Critters Pest Control, the same company contracted to do the work in the schools:
The two families hired ABC Pest Control to exterminate the bedbugs in their homes, and their children won’t return to school until the work is done. Temborski said treating bedbugs takes at least two treatments given two days apart.
There may be much more to the story than is included in this article. ABC said they “found nothing” in the school.
However, it is not clear from the article whether any evidence of bed bugs was found in the homes, or how anyone knew it was a bed bug that left a mark on the little girl in question.
As much as I lament the ridiculous approach to bed bugs in New York City Schools, where busy teachers are apparently expected to trap a sample bed bug and ship it away before anyone will even look into a potential bed bug problem in classrooms, it seems possible that this school district’s response was overkill.
On the other hand, here in NYC, it’s illegal to treat for bed bugs unless you have proof of their presence; I am not sure of the laws in Pennsylvania or the local area surrounding the Hazelton, PA School District.