Illinois teacher uses school bed bug infestation as teachable moment

by nobugsonme on November 5, 2013 · 4 comments

in bed bugs, bed bugs in schools, schools

Hadley Junior High in Glen Ellyn, Illinois (a western suburb of Chicago) is currently dealing with a “small bed bug infestation.”

According to video from WGN news, a science teacher at Hadley has turned this into a “teachable moment” by building a model and teaching students what to look for.

Good idea!

And it looks like there’s a need for more education. The video shows one student saying “bed bugs are nocturnal… and we’ve only found one” when, in fact, bed bugs are quite happy to bite during the daytime if that’s the only time food is available (as it usually is in a school). More to the point, they may come in on clothing or bags, or go home the same way.

And, according to the Chicago Tribune, bed bugs were found not just once but in a number of other areas once an inspection was done:

The first bug was discovered in a classroom at Hadley Junior High School last Thursday. A pest control company inspected the school on Saturday “and told us that Hadley has a light case of bed bugs,” District 41 Superintendent Paul Gordon said in a letter posted on the district’s website.

The places where the bugs were found have been treated, including the library media center, locker rooms, several classrooms and the gyms.

That the bed bugs have been found in all of these places suggests they may have been spreading for a bit. And that some students (and maybe also faculty and staff) likely have bed bugs at home. Parents should be educated about what to look for, how to detect bed bugs, and what to do if they are found. Since students have been sent home with uniforms to be washed and other belongings, families have to be careful to avoid exposure.

If any are reading this, they may find our FAQs and Resources helpful.

(You can view the WGN video at the Chicago Tribune’s site; I removed the embedded video once I discovered the “autoplay” setting can’t be disabled.)

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Richard November 6, 2013 at 6:44 am

In situations such as the one above, our policy is to “not treat”. Without knowing the full story, I’m going to assume a few people with a heavy infestation are bringing bed bugs into the school on a regular basis.

We had a similar situation and traced the “delivery” to an employees apartment. Once the apartment was treated, the problem was eliminated.

2 Martha Hardcastle Guthrie November 6, 2013 at 10:49 pm

I hope some assistance is given to those who have heavy infestations. We first found bed bugs two years ago this month and I think they are gone. But after three weeks are so, it seems another one shows up. I am sure there aren’t many but the cost of extermination under any circumstances is outrageous. I do not trust the industry. I have eradicated most without the “help” of exterminators and chemicals.

3 nobugsonme November 7, 2013 at 3:21 am

Hi Richard,
Thanks for your comment.

So even though bed bugs were found in the “library media center, locker rooms, several classrooms and the gyms”, you still wouldn’t treat until you found the source? How would you do that?

4 nobugsonme November 7, 2013 at 3:28 am

Martha,
I hope you don’t mind me saying this, but if you’ve been battling bed bugs for two years, and you seem to get rid of them until they appear again three weeks later, it sounds like a knowledgeable professional might be able to help you. (And no, I’m not a pro.) It may be that you are having eggs which hatch and restart the cycle. Bed bugs can be fully treated, and you should not be living with them for years.

It may also be that you are in a state of being continually re-exposed to bed bugs, either from an attached neighbor, a regular visitor, or some place you or a household member works, visits, goes to school, etc.

Good luck and I hope you are able to solve your problem. If you need support, click the menu item that says “forums” at top.

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