Environment Matters Audio Podcast
EPA Region 3
Topic: Children's Health Month
Clean, Green and Healthy Schools
Integrated Pest Management - Bed Bugs
Size: : 2,964k
Date: November 23, 2011
Maria Gorgo-Gourovitch: Bed bugs have made a dramatic comeback in the recent years. As bed bugs infest more homes they find their way into schools by hitchhiking on children's belongings, such as backpacks, clothing, or books. Adults range in size from 1/8 to ¼ inch and resemble a flattened apple seed. Although the bite does not hurt at the time, it may develop into an itchy welt similar to a mosquito bite.
Bonnie Lomax: Our guest is Maria Gorgo-Gourovitch, the Latino Community Outreach Coordinator for the Pennsylvania Integrated Pest Management program, IPM, and she will discuss how a healthy school can use an IPM approach to bed bugs This is Bonnie Turner Lomax, at EPA, and welcome to Environment Matters.
Maria:While bed bugs do not transmit disease, they can cause significant itchiness, anxiety, and sleeplessness. Usually bed bugs will hide during the day and only come out to feed during the night. Unlike head lice, they do not live on a person.
Bonnie: How can IPM methods control bed bugs?
Maria: It is important to note that established bed bug infestations in schools are not common. More common, a few bed bugs will hitchhike to school from an infested home by hiding in a student's clothing or backpack.
Bed bugs that hitch a ride into the school by one student could be carried home by another student, making the school a potential hub for bed bug spread.
Here are some strategies schools and families can develop for preventing the further spread of bed bugs
- First, in an infested home, the child's freshly laundered clothing should be sealed in plastic bags until they are put on in the morning. This prevents bed bugs from hiding in the clothing and being carried to school. Other items, such as backpacks and lunchboxes, can be inspected daily and stored in sealed containers if possible. Nothing should be stored on, in, or under the child's bed at home.
- School can provide students with plastic bags or bins to store their belongings. It is also a good idea to limit the number of items going back and forth from home to school. If possible, non-essential items should be stored at the school.
- If a family lacks the financial resources to hire a pest management professional, they can reference the online resources found at http://extension.psu.edu/bedbugs and http://www.bedbugcentral.com/
Maria: The Penn State Extension website http://extension.psu.edu/ipm provides links to everything I spoke about today.
Bonnie: Listeners can also go to the EPA website at http://epa.gov and type in the desired topic in the search box. Maria, thank you very much. And thank you to our listeners.