Schools in Bracken County, KY shut down due to bed bugs

by nobugsonme on November 2, 2007 · 8 comments

in bed bug education, bed bug treatment, bed bugs, bed bugs in schools, bed bugs in the workplace, kentucky, signs and symptoms of bed bugs, usa

The Bracken County, Kentucky, school system’s response was to shut down all schools for one day for precautionary treatment, after a bed bug was found in a classroom, Lex18 news reported yesterday.

Bracken County schools will be closed Friday after a middle school student was found to have an infestation of bed bugs, and one of the bugs was found in a classroom.

Bracken County Schools Superintendent Tony Johnson said in a release Thursday that the health department was contacted after the discovery, and that the schools will be closed in order to perform pest control treatments in each school as a precaution.

NBC says that the school is being closed today, but that Monday and Tuesday were already scheduled as days off. Still, this gives schools more time to do their work. WLWT also adds:

Health department officials will oversee measures intended to prevent the spread of bedbugs, and the student will receive treatment, officials said.

This is interesting: it does not say the child’s parents will be directed to get treatment. It implies they may be taking care of it.

The most interesting thing here is that they found one bed bug, in one school, but they are treating them all. Oh, and they’re talking about it. The New York City Department of Education could learn a thing or two from them about how to deal with bed bugs.

More than a year ago, one of the first posts on this blog suggested that Lexington, KY was taking bed bugs more seriously than New York City. The same could definitely now also be said of Bracken County.

But is Bracken County’s response too enthusiastic? Is this overkill?

1 parakeets November 2, 2007 at 1:10 pm

How long before a high school kid will BRING a bedbug into a school and shout “Look, a bedbug!” so the school will close down for the day? We had “bomb scares” when I was in high school that were simply initiated by students wanting the day off. I can see “bedbug scares” in the school.

But, anyway, I applaud a school district taking prompt action and speaking up about it. I hope our schools and college students will be vanguards in this problem. Politics, hotel industry, real estate, property management firms–all those folks have been relatively silent.

2 david a. rahe November 20, 2007 at 9:51 pm

please be advised that i have been treating bed bugs for over 30 years and i can tell you that bracken county schools over reacted….there is no preventative way to treat for bed bugs. just because you see a few bugs doesnt mean you have an infestations. if left alone, they would have attached themselves to another child and left the school premisis….schools are not the right environment for bed bugs. you have bed bug phobia…..brought on by all trying to make a buck off our current epidemic……

3 nobugsonme November 21, 2007 at 2:33 pm


As you should have guessed by my closing line,

“… is Bracken County’s response too enthusiastic? Is this overkill?”

… I am also skeptical over whether this was an overreaction. You are more or less correct that “preventive” treatment is impossible, though I think what the schools were doing would be classed as reactive, not preventive. Overkill, probably, but reactive still.

I would suspect that the only preventive treatment that might work is a mechanical killer like diatomaceous earth.

However, I think you are wrong that “schools are not the right environment for bed bugs.” Would you like to elaborate on how this is so?

I am also intrigued that you have been fighting bed bugs for over 30 years. Unless you are very old, how is this possible? Please tell us where you live. From what I gather, bed bugs were very scant on the ground in the US until the late 90s.

4 John November 21, 2007 at 2:48 pm

When kids get home from school, have them immediately take a hot shower and put their clothes and shoes in a hot clothes dryer.

I have read that bed bugs are killed at a temperature of 113 degrees F and read elsewhere that they are kill at 120 degrees F. Does anyone know how long they have to be exposed to those temperatures? Are there some scientific figures on this?

Also, does anyone know whether bed bugs get into people’s hair?

A brief hot shower at 120 degrees F is quite endurable. When I lived in Arizona the temperature went to 115 degrees F in the shade a heat wave, and it didn’t feel too bad, even when not in the shade.

5 nobugsonme November 21, 2007 at 3:16 pm


You do not have to scald your children in order to clean bed bugs off them. Any shower should suffice. Bed bugs are not likely to be on the child himself or herself, but in their clothing or bag. We are told they do not like hair, though on occasion, folks have claimed to be bitten on their heads.

However, I want to make it clear that unless someone has been exposed to bed bugs, I would not toss them in the shower when they walk in.

6 Charles Nickalopoulos October 17, 2008 at 8:55 am

Those little critters can be a nuisance. Almost as bad the public schools themselves.

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