University of Florida

Public Health

Bed Bugs in Schools

Here are some tips for dealing with bed bugs in schools:

  • De-cluttering is an activity that makes all IPM activities work better. A clean, clutter free environment reduces pest pressure.
  • Use monitoring and inspection as a part of bed bug prevention, then reporting sightings to the appropriate contact. The line of communication is specific to each school district. If you find bed bugs, do not keep them a secret, this will only make the problem worse.
  • Know the difference between an INTRODUCTION and an INFESTATION.  An infestation can be defined as having virtually all of the life-cycle was present (eggs, nymphs and adults). 
    • Finding bed bugs on students will most likely be classified as an introduction into the classroom, even if the student’s jacket or backpack may contain more than one stage of the bed bug life cycle.
    • It is important for a school nurse or other school health professional to do the inspection of the child.
  • If bed bugs are found on a student, then the parents of that student should be notified.
  • If the bed bugs are found infesting the classroom, the parents of the students in the class should be notified. UF/IFAS School IPM has a Tips for Parents (196KB pdf) handout that can be printed and sent home or mailed to parents. It can also be e-mailed or attached to your electronic newsletters or added as a link on your school webpage.
  • At the time the parent is contacted, request a clean change of clothes, sealed in a plastic bag. Putting clothes dryers on site and using heat as a method to kill bed bugs that came in on clothing, back packs, etc. is another management possibility.
  • Adjust your expectation of what "control" means where bed bugs are concerned.  There are no quick fixes to this issue.