More information about the Bracken County Schools bed bug situation. A new article from news says T&M Pest Control is treating Bracken County schools for bed bugs this weekend.

Terry says, “A pest control program for bed bugs is very detailed. You’ve got to get all the crevices. We are doing a little more than we really need to, but it’s to make sure we don’t have a problem in the future.”

That means Terry’s son, Tony, has to bag contents of every locker in the school, and then spray those contents with an insecticide.

Tony and his mother are wearing only gloves now, but when the heavy fumigation gets underway, they’ll be wearing face masks, too.

I am interested in these methods, since I have not heard PCOs here talking about spraying into bags of belongings. Perhaps a PCO would tell us what this might be.

I initially thought it was a good thing that Bracken County Schools were taking bed bugs seriously after finding a bed bug in school, since cities like New York City are so slow to take action against similar situations. My initial positive sense was based on Bracken County’s willingness to treat schools for bed bugs. I thought that their treatment of every school in the district was based on a sense that bed bugs must be more widespread than in just this one school.

Now, however, I am becoming more concerned about the community’s response, especially their apparent obsession with pinpointing its source. It betrays a lack of education about bed bugs and their behavior, which appears to be a prevalent problem elsewhere too.

Parents in Brooksville are divided about the schools closing an extra day just for bed bugs.

Elizabeth Aulick, a mother of two Bracken County students says, “Yeah, it does concern me, but the letter I got said they only found one bug. If it’s one bug isolated to one child, keep him home for a few days.”

A mother of three Bracken County students, including one at the Middle School says, “I guess it’s a little unexpected. I never expected something like this, but I guess it’s a good thing. Just to be on the safe side. It didn’t both me, I said, ‘Well, that’s fine.'”

The school fumigation in Bracken County is getting the full support of the county health department there.

I am glad the health department in Bracken County recognizes bed bugs as a concern, since many don’t. However, I have to say that what’s being said about the child in this case is absurd.

People in Bracken County must not associate the schools’ bed bug issue, if they indeed have one, with this one student who may have had the bed bug on his things or on his clothing. Bed bugs can live and breed in schools or in school buses or public transportation, and they can crawl onto students at any of these locations (as well as many others). As we have taken pains to explain in the past, the presence of a bed bug on a person or their things absolutely does not prove the person brought the bed bug in.

All parents, including those of the child who was bitten by the bed bug, must search at home and have a qualified PCO inspect if anyone is complaining of bites or if they see any bed bugs or possible signs. However, it is crucial that parents and school officials realize that bed bugs are not lice, and do not live on people. They crawl on, feed, and run away. If a bed bug is found on a person in a school, it does not mean the person brought the bed bug to the school.

I would assume the Bracken County School officials know this, since they are treating every school, and not just the one the bed bug was found in. And yet it does not sound like the parents or media have been picking up on that fact.

If the child did indeed have had an infestation at home and brought them into the school, then his family, too, caught them from somewhere. They spread easily. And everyone should be alert. Everyone should be asking where this family might have picked up bed bugs: parents’ workplace? YMCA? School? Bus? Motel? Because where they got them, you can get them too.

However, the child should not be blamed, nor should he be kept home. People with active infestations need to take some steps to avoid spreading bed bugs. Treating the child himself as if he were contagious is an ignorant mistake.

1 nobugsonme November 6, 2007 at 2:48 am

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