NYC DOE now provides information on their website about bed bug policy in schools

by nobugsonme on August 2, 2007 · 2 comments

in bed bug education, bed bug treatment, bed bugs, bed bugs in schools, government, new york, usa

No huge changes here, but I thought you’d be interested to see the “Bed Bug Kits” the NYC Department of Education is providing to school employees. Remember, teachers need to hunt down a bed bug in their classroom, have it mailed off for identification, and then action will be taken.

This is the information on the Division of School Facilities website:

What’s New at DSF?
DOE Provides Bed Bug Kits for Schools

Bed bugs are increasingly becoming a problem within residences of all kinds including homes, apartments, hotels, dormitories and shelters throughout the United States. Although at present there is no evidence of a major infestation or harborage within NYC school buildings, these tiny insects have been occasionally showing up, mainly on clothing. While bedbugs are not known to be dangerous or transmit disease, their bites, initially painless, later cause large itchy skin welts.

Schools are not an ideal location for bed bugs to reproduce, because they are nocturnal insects that require feeding prior to reproduction; but in the event that bedbugs do show up in our schools, the DOE’s Pest Management Unit is providing a Bed Bug Kit to deal with specimens.

This information really needs to be updated, since the news media has reported 72 bed bug cases at 43 schools as of February 2007. Bed bugs in NYC schools are not a remote possibility as implied by the DOE website, but a current problem.

The kit includes:
A Four Step Specimen Collection and Mailing Procedure brochure with photos; A step by step Protocol to follow if a suspected bed bug is captured; A sample parent or guardian notification letter; A Specimen Data Submission Form; The Department of Health’s bed bug fact sheet, “Stop Bed Bugs Safely” in English and Spanish. Click here to download a PDF with this information. In the event a suspected bed bug is captured, school administrators are to open the kit and follow the enclosed protocol and procedures. If you have any questions please contact the Pest Management Unit at (718) 707-4493, E-mail, Pest, or call 311.

The protocol above is only for bed bugs found in schools in NYC. But the Stop Bed Bugs Safetly PDF is the same one available since last summer on the Department of Mental Health and Hygiene website (click for PDF). It’s not bad, though it implies that pest control professionals need to clean and “may” need to use pesticides. And while I appreciate the aims of IPM, I fear this makes people think professional pest control is not always necessary, since they think, “hey, I can clean!”; in most cases, we hear, bed bugs do require a lot of pesticides applied repeatedly at 10-14 day intervals, or professional thermal, cold, or Vikane gas treatments.

This pamphlet from the NYC DOMHH also wrongly implies that the problem with using foggers or bombs is that they spread nasty chemicals throughout your home. The real problem with foggers and bombs, as I understand it, is that they can spread bed bugs throughout your home and to your neighbors, and make it much harder to get them out of the home.

1 hopelessnomo August 3, 2007 at 11:10 am

1) “No stapling.” Yes!

2) “Even though it is unlikely for bed bugs to be spread in schools…” Hmm…

Also, they’re telling parents to call 311 about “bed bugs found in your home.” Is this good or bad? I hope someone who goes through the process lets us know how it went.

2 nobugsonme August 3, 2007 at 7:34 pm

I have mentioned this before, Nomo, but the thing that still troubles me most is that teachers with classrooms of 40 students have to not only teach and keep order, but also hunt down bed bug samples. Anyone who has spent evenings searching in vain for the elusive Cimex L. in their homes will tell you, they ain’t that easy to find or catch…

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