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Bed Bug Found At Work (Elementary School) [a: need to rule out bat or bird bugs]

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  1. hmms86

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sun Feb 15 2015 6:02:13
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    Hi all,

    I found a bed bug in a pile of papers that had been in/on my desk and then moved to the filing closet last month. I work at an elementary school and the papers were student notes/instructions from the office. They sat next to my phone which many students use and also students sit with me at my desk while working. A coworker also uses my desk.
    Last week I noticed several small bumps randomly on my right arm, which sits on my desk using the mouse, keyboard etc. I checked my beds at that time, as I do weekly, nothing.
    After finding the bb, I checked our beds and cars, nothing. I'm going to order several passive monitors for the beds, couch, and recliners and a pack tite for things I need to bring home from work.
    As a general rule so as to avoid bringing home bbs in the first place, I always take my clothes off when I get home, wash on hot, double dry. I hang anything I may bring to work like a bag or jacket on a hook by itself.
    I think I'm going to start changing into clean clothes before I leave work from now on so as to avoid infesting my car. I'm also unsure about what to do with my son and daughter who go to day care and preschool at the same school. My son is at preschool until anywhere between 12-3 and us then dropped off at the day care. The owner is a good friend and her son's go to the elementary school as well as the siblings of some of the kids in daycare. What protocol should I have when picking them up/dropping them off? My friend is super conscientious and will do whatever I ask her to do as she also wants to avoid infesting Her home. We live in a very small rural town and are very isolated. We do have access to a k9 from the closest city however, that can help us if need be.
    I've also notified my administrator and stressed to her the importance of diligence and following proper protocol with a good PCO.
    Sorry for the length. Any suggestions you make have would be helpful.

  2. Richard56

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sun Feb 15 2015 6:59:38
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    If I read several of the threads you started over the past three years correctly, you have had bite marks before and attrubuted the bite marks to bed bugs that you thought you saw. But in all cases it turned out, through ID here and PCO inspection , that there were no bedbugs and I believe your home was treated for fleas at least once which may have been the cause of the bites.

    So given all this, before you turn you and your family's life upside down, let's make 100% sure that you really have a bedbug problem.

    Do you have a picture of the bug you found at your desk at work? Is so, please post it so one of our experts can confirm it's a bed bug.

    Since you brought this found bug to the attention of the school, has school been inspected for bed bugs? Is there a known bed bug problem in the school? So checking the school for problems might be a logical next step.

    Nothing wrong with monitors at home, but beyond that, my opinion (and others may disagree) is that all the other stuff about changing clothes etc. is an overreaction and unnecessary physical and mental burden on both you and your family. Remember, you've been concerned about this for three years now, but so far only false alarms and no confirmed bedbugs.

    So I guess what I'm saying is that until you actually have a confirmed bed bug issue, try and live as normal life as possible.

    Richard

  3. hmms86

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sun Feb 15 2015 10:44:35
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    Richard, I understand that my past history makes me seem unreliable and I admit I have a TON of anxiety around this topic. However, the PCO confirmed that it was a bed bug so I don't think I am overreacting too much. I really don't want to bring them

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/130560608@N05/15916067864/

  4. hmms86

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sun Feb 15 2015 11:07:02
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    And to answer your question about the school, I am not entirely sure what the school has planned. I found it on Friday evening so they haven't had a chance to inspect yet.

  5. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sun Feb 15 2015 13:25:38
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    That does look like a bed bug or closely related, though I'm not an expert so one should confirm.

    We have a FAQ on how to avoid bringing bed bugs home when you travel (here). It's pretty relevant to other situations too. Purse can be left in a zipper plastic bag while at work, etc. Changing into clothing that was in a sealed plastic bag right before you come home is not a bad idea.

    Monitors at home are a good idea. A bed bug oven (like a Packtite) may be a good investment as you could treat items like bags, books, papers which you need to bring home.

    I would try not to panic about your kids' exposure. It is likely that someone brought bed bugs to the room your desk is in. The same person or others may be taking them to other rooms. However, it's less likely that the entire school is infested.

    If you're in a union, you should talk to them also. You're being exposed to a situation you might end up bringing home.

    We often see news stories about bed bugs in schools. I honestly don't know whether encouraging this by talking to journalists helps make sure the school pays attention and does things right, or just makes people panic. I think that can depend on the situation, but it's worth considering.

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  6. hmms86

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sun Feb 15 2015 21:37:51
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    Thank you, nobugsonme. I will wait for expert Id but I feel confident, unfortunately, that it is a bed bug or closely related. As I've said this is a big OCD issue for me so it sets off a lot of triggers.
    I think in order to keep my sanity I will follow the above mentioned protocol which follows closely what I am already planning on doing.
    As far as my school goes, the county is involved because I did call them and let them know so I'm hoping that will help with them taking care of things properly.
    I'm planning on having my PCO whom I ise for basic pest control come out and check my house for me just for peace of mind. I did find a flea today when inspecting so my few bites may be attributed to that since they never welted or truly itched.
    Anything else anyone can think of to help protect out household would be greatly appreciated.

  7. hmms86

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sun Feb 15 2015 22:58:29
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    Also, I'm not in the union yet but do you think it would be wise to inform my coworkers who are? I'm not sure what the school's protocol for something such as this. It isn't in the staff handbook and so I don't know if they will tell everyone or not.
    Also, the school has a pajama day coming up. I should highly protest this, right?

  8. robinsmom

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sun Feb 15 2015 23:18:54
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    As a non-expert, I won't advise, but I will say I too had bugs at work. They were on and in my desk, chair, in the mat under my chair, and were seen behind my desk as well as crawling the wall. I was bitten on my hands at least twice by nymphs (coworkers saw as I killed them).

    I now keep shoes just for work there, and bag my coat and home shoes at my workplace.

    It isn't just YOU you need to protect, but coworkers and students. I would not maintain silence due to this fact.

    Hope your school deals with this intelligently.

    I'm not an expert just a dumb struggling bed bugger like every body else.
  9. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sun Feb 15 2015 23:51:13
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    Pajama days may be a concern to the extent that some students might not be wearing freshly laundered PJs and might bring something to school; or the opposite: they might re-wear pajamas worn at school to bed.

    As long as items were laundered before wearing and after wearing at school, it shouldn't be an issue. If students bring blankets, pillows or stuffed animals to school that might be an issue also.

  10. hmms86

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Mon Feb 16 2015 0:03:18
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    I will mention it to my administrator and see what she says.
    Robinsmom, from your other posts I take it you ended up taking them home with you, at least temporarily?
    Luckily this is the first one I've seen and it wasn't really near my desk. Hopefully I dudng bring any home. From my guess, it's been there since at least December so hoping I would have brought them home already if it were that large of an infestation.

  11. ItsJustABug

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Mon Feb 16 2015 1:19:05
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    hmms86:
    I work @ a elder care facility .
    To give you some back ground a new staff member who didn't know she had them was treated & cleared in March. she had 100 or more all stages in her box springs alone. she thought they were gone with 2 treatments so didn't tell anyone till later.
    Then they showed up @ work in july or so. eraticated so we thought by Aug/Sept, then they show up in another room in Nov. Only finding a few each time. since Dec we have found them in 2 other places, each time treated but they made mistakes.Now we just found a live nymph in yet a new room this weekend.
    I have managed to traffic 1 home somehow before setting up my own protocol like you.
    I take a change head to toe to return home in, bag my personal items & heat treat it all when I get home.
    I am glad you are proactive with a serious attitude about them, my work still hasn't got the gest of what they are dealing with ,so they spread still yet.
    Myself I would invest in a "A bed bug oven (like a Packtite) " if I could turn back time. The dryer does a certain amount of damage to clothing & shoes, a packtite would make like so much easier.
    I did catch the one at home ,but still have the sofa isolated since then..just can't trust it
    An I don't think the bb issue is going away anytime soon when you work with the masses.
    But don't panic I've managed to keep them at bay for nearly a year! Its work where they've failed.
    Fallow the advice from the experts here & you'll be much better off. Good luck

  12. hmms86

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Mon Feb 16 2015 3:48:14
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    Thank you, ItsJustABug. Unfortunately, I agree with you that they are here to stay but I think pest control is getting better at dealing with them. In your profession I know they are rampant and elder care homes are often infested, at least that I've seen around here.
    At least at my work it is less likely to be an infestation. However, that doesn't make me feel any better.

  13. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Mon Feb 16 2015 7:42:41
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    Hi,

    Please have the samples species checked against an entomological key or by an entomologist. Something about it makes me lean towards close relative rather than bedbugs.

    Hope that helps.

    David Cain
    Bed Bugs Limited

    I am happy to answer questions in public but will not reply to message sent directly or via my company / social media. I am here to help everyone and not just one case at a time.

    In accordance with the AUP and FTC I openly disclose my vested interest in Passive Monitors as the inventor and patent holder. Since 2009 they have become an integral part in how we resolve bed bug infestations. I also have a professional relationship with PackTite in that they distribute my product under their own branding. I do not however receive any financial remuneration for any comments I make about pro
  14. Richard56

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Mon Feb 16 2015 9:25:00
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    David: Please have the samples species checked against an entomological key or by an entomologist. Something about it makes me lean towards close relative rather than bedbugs.
    --------
    I would make this a priority because the treatment approach is entirely different if it turns out to be for example a bat bug. If you don't have access to a local entomologist, maybe you could contact Lou Sorkin who posts here under the name "loubugs" and ask if you could mail him the bug for ID. Or perhaps it just could be identified with a better picture.

    Richard

  15. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Mon Feb 16 2015 12:00:41
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    With a very detailed image, Lou Sorkin may be able to rule out bat or bird bugs based on a photo. He may also be willing to receive the sample by mail and ID it. You may be able to find a local entomologist but be aware that many pest control operators cannot reliably ID a bat or bird bug.

    As Richard noted, ruling out "closely related" species is the first step because treatment depends on it.

  16. ItsJustABug

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Mon Feb 16 2015 12:59:21
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    hmms86:
    On a positive note the from what I've read the BB in offices & alike where it's none ocupied at night with no real place to feed undetected , bb's don't find it a good place to thrive.That said they would be more inclined to be passing thru .
    So it would seem taking the basic actions to protect your self with preventive protocol would be enough.An simple measure can be taken with out turning your life into a stressing routine that will effect the entire family. Because face it you'll want your children to be free to live normal days & enjoy life.

    With the right monitoring in place you can live with the knowledge you'll know if even one has made its way home before they have a chance to set in. This is what I've learned from the pro's here.
    An smart thinking like you've shown as to the PJ day ,tells me you'll be fine :-), wish you worked at my place :P.

    For me we are dealing with multi living spaces tightly compacted together , people in & out contently going from room to room, population congregation in common area's , it's bb heaven. Management is treating but no monitoring in place still.
    I'm not an expert on bb's so none of my post is advice just comrades in arms.
    I won't take up more of your time just want to wish you well. Just take time spoil your self in the process so you don't over stress ,I hear they don't like bubble baths, :-).God bless

  17. hmms86

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Mon Feb 16 2015 14:43:09
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    Hi David. Thanks for your time and input. It is a little more yellow than the pictures of bed bugs I've seen. It also has horizontal striping which I haven't seen in pictures of bed bugs either.
    I will try to contact a local entomologist tomorrow. They are closed for presidents day today. I will also try contacting Lou.
    I will let you all know how it turns out.

    Heather

  18. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Mon Feb 16 2015 14:49:12
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    Hi,

    We do not base ID's on colour. There are some features which are odd for it to be a bedbug although its not the best of focuses either. If you can get a clearer image of the pads on the side of the head we could sort it out quickly.

    The other reason for not using colour is that its subject and can vary depending upon the light.

    David

  19. hmms86

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Mon Feb 16 2015 15:19:12
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    I'm trying to get clearer focus but can't do so with my phone. I'm looking at the length of the hairs, correct? They don't seem to be protruding above its eyes but I'm not sure. I will try to take it to an entomologist tomorrow.

  20. loubugs

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Mon Feb 16 2015 21:30:05
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    If you don't have access to a local entomologist, maybe you could contact Lou Sorkin who posts here under the name "loubugs" and ask if you could mail him the bug for ID.
    It is a little more yellow than the pictures of bed bugs I've seen. It also has horizontal striping which I haven't seen in pictures of bed bugs either.

    Yes, have to agree, it doesn't look like a common bed bug. Too bad there isn't a better picture in focus. The horizontal striping is the way the abdominal sclerites connect via membranes. It is a normal structural item in almost all insects. In bed bugs and their relatives, it allows the abdominal area to expand when space is needed in feeding and in egg production.

    Professional entomologist/arachnologist. I consult on all matters dealing with insects and arachnids, including those of natural history and biology to pest management and forensic entomology investigations.
  21. hmms86

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Tue Feb 17 2015 0:28:31
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    I wish I could take a better picture. I could take one with my camera but we have slow internet service and I wouldn't be able to upload it. Thanks for taking a look Lou. Can you explain to me how it looks different? I'm genuinely interested.
    David, if I can't find anything in our beds do you think it's safe to say we are clear as of right now? I ordered passive monitors. Should I use those with or without encasements?

  22. loubugs

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Tue Feb 17 2015 18:02:33
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    You have to look at head shape, antennal shape and parts, body shape. Close-up look at the hairs (setae) on the body. Look at structures on the legs. Look at genital structures. Try putting the bug on a piece of paper that has lines or graph squares. Slide paper under the bug if it's easier than trying to pick it up. The camera will better focus on these fine lines. You can try focusing on letters on cards, books, magazines to see if it will focus on these items.

  23. hmms86

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Tue Feb 17 2015 19:26:36
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    Thank you. The county administrator is sending out an entomologist and a terminix guy to look at it and inspect tomorrow morning. The school administration dismissed it as only one bug, not a big deal so I'm very glad the county was involved. It may not be a big deal but I'm glad the will be checking it out.
    Thank you for helping me determine that it is bed bug related and I will let you know what the entomologist says tomorrow.

  24. hmms86

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Wed Feb 18 2015 23:40:52
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    So the pest control company and entomologist decided it was a bed bug and had fed fairly recently. They spent over an hour searching the room, checked the chairs, desks, the edges of the wall to wall carpeting that goes 2 inches up the wall, the backpack hooks, and any other place they could. They weren't able to find anything so that's a good sign. They said it was probably just a hitchiker and to keep an eye out for evidence of any more on students or in their things.
    He also educated the school staff on how to inspect for bed bugs, their habits, etc. it was good because the staff is now aware of proper protocol to follow if we find more and how to prevent an infestation taking hold.
    I really appreciate all of your help identifying the bug and helping me come up with ideas to protect myself. I feel like I have the tools I need to stay safe. And if something happens, I know where to come.
    I would still like to know, however, whether the passive monitors are more effective with or without encasements. Thank you.

  25. AbsolutelyFreaking

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Thu Feb 19 2015 10:06:12
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    hmms86 -  » 
    . . . .I would still like to know, however, whether the passive monitors are more effective with or without encasements. Thank you.

    In response to your specific question above, David Cain is the inventor of the PackTite Passive Bed Bug Monitor (if that is what you are referring to (some posters refer to climb ups and other items as passive monitors)) . . . anyway, David Cain does not recommend encasements, but many other professionals/experts that participate on this forum do . . .

    Here is a prior post wherein I express my opinion on the subject (sorry to “quote” myself, I just didn’t want to retype it all):


    There are passive monitors called the PackTite Passive Bed Bug Monitor. The inventor, David Cain, participates on this forum and swears by them. Also, many of the PCOs on here recommend mattress encasements for your box spring and mattress. David Cain does not recommend them, but he is in the UK; US PCOs do recommend them for multiple reasons; some being early detection and so the bed bugs cannot set up "home" in the box spring . . . which can make them harder to detect. And in my – layperson consumer mind only – it makes sense to me to use the encasements together with the passive monitor on your bed; whereby you take away potential harborage places by putting the encasements on and then give them a perfect harborage by adding the passive monitor . . . making for early detection!! The passive monitors should be placed on beds and sofas or wherever you spend a lot of time (computer chair, etc.) You could also put one on your chair at work (if you have one). I would also put one in my car (because bed bugs freak the shit out of me) . . . but I am confident that David Cain would not advise that at this point!

    I am not an expert/professional and the above is only my opinion.

  26. hmms86

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Thu Feb 19 2015 11:34:49
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    Thank you. That's what I was thinking as well but I had seen David say that he doesn't like using the encasements so I wasn't sure.
    I ordered enough passive monitors to place on all of our upholstered furniture and my car and my work chair so I'm good to go there. Obviously a little paranoid but if I bring them home from work I can catch them ASAP and not go through a nightmare. And in reality, it's just a little bug that can be defeated with some effort and resources. Just keep telling myself that. 😉

  27. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Thu Feb 19 2015 11:49:51
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    Hi,

    Its more accurately that I don't "need" to use encasements and as such I don't "like" people being taken advantage of, especially at a vulnerable time through being sold products that add no value. There are cost effective encasement solutions out there for a few dollars which would work equally well.

    It's a binary ethics thing, some people can accept the greyness of the world whereas I sleep better knowing I do right by people, even those I don't know and will never meet.

    David

    David

  28. hmms86

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Thu Feb 19 2015 16:54:36
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    Thanks, David. That's why I trust your opinion. You have strong ethics and I appreciate that.
    Thanks again for your help in ID'ing the bug.


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