In South Florida, the summer temperatures stay with us long in to the early fall, which means summer pests are likely to hitch a ride to school with your child. Keeping pests from taking over classrooms, school buses and the playground can be a back-to-school challenge.
“At the start of the school year, parents and teachers should be diligent about pest prevention.” said Chris Cavanagh, Associate Certified Entomologist and Vice President of Petri Pest Solutions. “Students closely gathered together throughout the course of the school day, make it very possible for pests to transfer from student to student, backpacks, and make their way back to your home.”
Petri recommends these simple tips to keep pests at bay at home and in your child’s classroom:
Super Lice – Since early August we have been hearing a lot of about Lice and their resilience to over the counter treatments. They can spread from one person to another through contact with bedding, clothing, or by sharing combs. Lice are very common in schools as children tend to share belongings and supplies more and frequently come into close contact with each other.
Prevention – Avoid sharing combs, hats, towels, etc. If you suspect exposure to lice, wash all clothes, bedding, combs and towels. You can also use special combs, shampoos and conditioners designed specifically to treat lice, and some of these can be used as a preventative measure if the school notifies you of an outbreak. You can also contact your pediatrician for a medicated prescription.
Ants – Ant infestations are incredibly common at schools. The abundance of food crumbs, wrappers and drink cartons in cafeterias, trash cans and lunch boxes make perfect snacks for these tiny creatures. While ants are not harmful, their bites can be painful and some ants are known to cause allergic reactions.
Prevention – Because ants can easily find their way into buildings through cracks and crevices, teachers should take care that all food is properly disposed of and lockers are regularly cleaned out. To help prevent ants in your home during the school season, try to keep all food sealed and in airtight containers. Remind kids to clean up after themselves and to not place any open or spilled items back into their lunch bag.
Bed Bugs – Bed bugs can easily attach themselves to clothing, shoes and bags and travel into your home from school. Once at home, they can usually be found in mattresses, suitcases and boxes. Bed bug bites are extremely painful and they will typically bite repeatedly in a cluster so your child will more than likely be able to tell you that something has bitten them.
Prevention – To avoid an infestation, check bags each night and hang backpacks and purses to keep them off the floor. Get into the habit of always shaking out your child’s bag before entering the house. This is a helpful hint to avoid any pests that might have been hiding in there during the day.
Bees – Bees are attracted to anything sweet, especially high-sugar drinks. Stinging pests are especially a concern for younger students going outside for recess, where bees, yellow jackets, wasps and hornets can all pose a threat. While these flying pests aren’t likely to come home with students, school faculty and staff should all know what to do in the event of a sting.
Prevention – Teach your children to remain calm if they see a bee hovering around their cold drink. They need to put the drink down and move away without aggravating the bee by screaming or shaking their hands. It’s good to keep in mind that bees are generally harmless and will not attack unless they feel threatened.
Keeping your child’s belongings properly labeled and in zipper-closed bags will ensure their belongings stay with them and stay protected. Teaching your child to be more mindful at school about hitch-hiking pests can also be a good learning opportunity. We recommend your Junior Entomologist visit this kid-friendly site, Pest World for Kids, for easy to understand information about bugs. Teachers will also find this to be a useful resource for creative lesson planning.
As the cooler South Florida weather makes its way through in the upcoming weeks, we should see a decline in bee and mosquito activity, however, if you’re concerned about bed bugs or ants, you can learn more about our services by visiting www.PetrisPestControl.com