Bed bugs have plagued humanity for thousands of years, but due to the introduction of a powerful insecticide during the 1950s, bed bugs were nearly eradicated from the United States during the latter half of the 20th century. Unfortunately, the bed bugs that reemerged during the 1990s were resistant to nearly all types of insecticides that had been available at the time. Unsurprisingly, bed bug infestations were very difficult to eradicate during the first few years of the new millennium, but the advent of more effective pest control methods during the past decade have finally made bed bug infestations manageable. However, bed bugs are still a source of much disgust, and people are rightfully fearful of inadvertently picking up the bugs from public locations. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for bed bugs to appear in public schools where they can be transported to homes by hitchhiking on students’ clothing and backpacks. For example, last week, parents in Gardiner and surrounding towns were issued a bed bug alert after a middle school student in the district was found with bed bugs on his person within Gardiner Regional Middle School.

The superintendent, Patricial Hopkins, of MSAD 11, which serves Gardiner, West Gardiner, Pittston, and Randolph, sent students home with a written bed bug alert that mentioned the incident in which a student was found Tuesday morning with bed bugs on his/her clothing within Gardiner Regional Middle School. The letter further mentioned that the student had been riding bus number 643, and that bed bugs were unlikely to have established an infestation within the school, but the school and the bus were both inspected by Maine pest control professionals anyway. Hopkins stated that the source of the bed bugs could not be determined, but any child experiencing bites or allergic reactions should be taken to a doctor. Needless to say, many parents were probably not comforted by the superintendent’s letter, as no parents like the idea of their child returning home from school covered in bed bug pests, but superintendent Hopkins assured parents that bed bug infestations rarely occur in schools.

Have you ever had classes canceled over an insect infestation?