Not Just Homework: The Bugs Your Kids are Bringing Home
Kids are notorious for playing with all sorts of nasty critters from the playground, from toads and lizards to beetles and crickets. As gross as these can be, they’re a lot less of a threat than the unseen bugs they could be picking up at school.
Bed bugs are currently the most common and most bothersome pests your child might be picking up at school. These tiny bugs are almost invisible to the naked eye and seem to be infesting everything these days. They’ll usually come into contact with your child through contact with his classmates. Bud bugs can hitch a ride with another child by hiding in their hair, clothes, or backpack.
The sneaky critters will then crawl onto the clothes or belongings of others and get taken back home. Before you know it, they’re hiding in the carpet, in the closet, and in the bedding. They get especially pesky when they start biting when you and your family are asleep, leaving small, itchy welts.
If you know or suspect that your child has brought home bed bugs, you should go on the attack right away. Thoroughly wash and dry their clothes as hot as possible, and don’t forget blankets, sheets, and pillow cases. Also check backpacks and any other potential vessels. Vacuum the floor carefully, and make sure your kids take a long and thorough shower. If they’re still an issue after several days, you may want to call in a professional to assess the issue.
From a pest perspective, fleas are very similar to bed bugs. Fleas are more mobile than bed bugs, making it easier for them to get around, and are more likely to hide in hair for long periods of time. They can be transmitted in much the same way, and you should take similar precautions and steps to combat them.
Head lice are a common problem at school, especially among younger students. If your kid is complaining of an itchy scalp or neck, you should do a manual check for them with a fine-toothed comb. The good news is, lice are usually pretty easy to contain once detected. They tend to stay confined to the head, and not spread to clothing or furniture. If you do find lice, a couple of applications of a special shampoo or other topical application will handle the problem. Lice treatments are cheap and easy to find at many pharmacies and medical stores.
These pests are usually not a direct threat to your family or property. However, they can be incredibly annoying if they spread unchecked. If your kid is bringing back anything besides homework, be sure to notify their teacher so he or she can be on the lookout for other infestations. Don’t hesitate to call a pest control expert if you suspect the problem is getting out of hand.