It’s back to school time for thousands of kids in Arizona, California and Nevada, and Mr. Little wants you to study hard, have fun with your friends and enjoy a pest-free school year.
Pests in schools have been around as long as chalk has been meeting blackboards. And it’s not just the K-12 schools either. Preschools, daycare centers, universities and colleges are all common breeding grounds for pests.
Nuisance pests are attracted to schools due to the abundance of food, water and shelter that is available. There are numerous places an insect or rodent can call home in a school environment starting with the cafeteria or college dining hall where meals can be served around the clock to hungry students. Add to that classrooms and dorm rooms where students bring in their own food and it’s literally a self-service meal ready to eat for hungry rodents and insect pests.
With food being delivered, stored and prepared in kitchens, there is bound to be crumbs, spills, leftovers and garbage, giving ants, cockroaches, rodents and stored product pests a buffet of options. Student lockers, desks and dorm rooms are areas where pests can feed on a leftover granola bar or an open bag of Cheetos.
One particular pest which isn’t interested at all in the spilled food – bed bugs – is known to become an unwanted homework assignment for students and their families. Their highly mobile nature, small size and ability to hitch a ride home in a backpack, gym bag or in a student’s shoes, makes them a challenge to control. Add to that the likelihood they can easily hide in a castoff couch or bed that looks like a good deal for a dorm room or apartment, and the start of school sounds more daunting than those mid-terms that are just around the corner.
Here are my Top Five Bed Bug and Pest PreventionTips to keep pests from enrolling in classes in your home, whether your student is a daily commuter or might be coming home for Thanksgiving:
- Regularly inspect student belongings – backpacks, gym bags, lunch boxes, suitcases – for signs of bed bugs and other pests.
- If your child’s school has reported a bed bug infestation, consider storing all school related items in a sealed plastic bin in the garage.
- Wash and dry cloth items returning from school in hot temperatures.
- Remind your budding scholars not to leave food or snacks in backpacks, lockers or desks. An open package of chocolate chip cookies or a spilled soda is extra credit for mice, ants or cockroaches.
- Speaking of parasites, make sure students understand the risks involved in using their friends combs and brushes. Lice seem to come off vacation too when school starts and no one wants to start school meeting those tiny new friends.
For college students I suggest the following steps to give bed bugs and other pests a failing grade:
- Before putting sheets on your dorm or apartment bed, inspect the mattress seams, particularly at the corners, the back side of the top mattress, and the box springs for telltale stains or spots. In fact, a mattress cover especially made for sealing in bed bugs is recommended—just in case.
- Thoroughly inspect the entire room before unpacking, including behind the headboard and in sofas and chairs.
- Use storage containers or sealed plastic bags to store clothing and bedding. This will keep bed bugs and other pests from hitching a ride home for the weekend.
- Inspect any “secondhand” furniture for bed bugs or other pests – mice for one – before bringing it into a dorm rooms or off-campus housing. Be leery of bringing into a dorm room that used couch that was ‘such a good deal.’ It could be a living science experiment for bed bugs, their eggs and other pests.
If you have questions on or experience any problem with pests trying to enroll in your home or visit your business, send me an e-mail at AskMrLittle@WesternExterminator.com. I will get back to you with information on how to expel unwanted pests from your living environment, or will be happy to have you speak with one of our pest control experts about whatever is bugging you.
Until next time, thanks for making Western Exterminator “The Final Word in Pest Control®”
Have a pest free day!