A bed bug was spotted on a second grade student at Sardinia Elementary School in Ohio. It’s a brand new school, and the school responded by sending the child home with information for her parents about what they needed to do.
Officials then had the school “cleaned” thoroughly, removing carpets and steam-cleaning in classrooms. WKRC Local 12 in Cincinnati reports:
The superintendent says the precautions are necessary to make sure other students and staff are not affected. The superintendent says cleaning crews removed carpet and used steam cleaners in classrooms. Busses were thoroughly cleaned as well.
“One was spotted and that was enough we wanted to make sure we got in front of it In the afternoon the students’ book bags and backpacks which is what could carry the insect, they put those all in clear plastic bags and gave a handout to the parents to notify them of what had happened and how they’re supposed to handle that.”
Steam can effectively kill bed bugs but if they are harboring on the premises, multiple treatments with steam as well as residual pesticides and dusts may be warranted.
I have a serious problem with several things here:
1) Just because a bed bug in the school is spotted on a particular student does not mean that student brought the bed bug in. A bed bug could crawl from the school itself, from another student’s desk or bag, and so on. The bug could have been picked up in a school bus or other transportation, or at any location in the school. Even in a brand new school, as the story stresses in this case.
2) A recent study showed nearly 1 in 6 people in Cincinnati had had bed bugs. A really high number of Ohio residents have them right now. Any student, teacher, or staff member could have brought that bed bug in, and so banning the student from school while her parents carry out certain steps is not warranted in my mind. Perhaps it would be if we had confirmation that the family did indeed have a bed bug infestation. But I would guess any number of people in that school have an active bed bug infestation right now, and it’s unfair to single out the person caught with a bed bug on them.
3) “Cleaning” does not eliminate bed bugs reliably. Even steam cleaning, which will kill bed bugs if done properly, needs to be repeated in most cases and augmented with other treatment methods. I hope this school is getting good assistance from experts who know their bed bugs.
You can watch the Local 12 news video here. I did not embed it because it’s one of those annoying ones that does not wait for one to press the “play” key, instead simply loading as the page loads.