Battling back-to-school pest problems

(BPT) - A new school year means backpacks stuffed with school supplies and the return to classrooms. It also means an increased chance of your child encountering pests or unknowingly bringing them home. From sweaty locker rooms to classroom floors riddled with food scraps, schools provide a whole host of tempting places where pests like insects and rodents may be. The experts at Terminix have a few pointers on common pests your young scholar may come into contact with while at school and how to limit interaction with them.

Bed bugs

These small, reddish-brown insects feed on blood and can easily become a headache for your family. Bed bugs are active mostly at night, and can emerge from their resting spots beneath mattresses or even from the crevices of furniture to search for their next meal. They’re also great hitchhikers, meaning they can catch a ride home on your child’s backpack. Although they aren’t known to carry disease-causing pathogens, their bites can cause mild to moderate allergic reactions, which can also itch.

To limit the chances of your child bringing home bed bugs, you should check backpacks and other possessions upon entering your house. You can also inspect your car for obvious signs of bed bugs, like shed bed bug skins and blood stains.

Cockroaches

It’s important to be aware of the health concerns cockroaches present, especially if your child has asthma or another respiratory condition. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, their droppings, shed skins and saliva can cause allergic reactions and asthma, particularly in children. Contact can trigger nasal congestion, watery eyes and skin rashes. The insects can also contaminate surfaces with nasty bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella.

Cockroaches will eat just about anything, from ordinary food items to potted plants and even cosmetics. Areas like school cafeterias and bathrooms provide the perfect mix of food, shelter and moisture for these insects. They’re known stowaways, and could end up in your house via infested boxes or other items. If you don’t catch a cockroach clinging to your child’s belongings, you might find other signs, such as droppings or egg cases behind furniture or in pantries.

Ants

There’s no way around it: Kids are messy, and ants are perfectly equipped to take advantage of that. Ants have four to five times more odor receptors than other insects, making them skilled at finding food like the crumbs dropped during snack time in the classroom or lunchtime in the cafeteria.

With over 12,000 different species worldwide, these social insects can damage everything from wooden structures to computers, and can cause quite the distraction in the classroom. The type of ant also determines what kind of food that species will eat. Carpenter ants, for example, will seek out meat, honey and jelly indoors. A sticky sandwich would make the perfect target for a hungry ant.

If a pest does manage to hitch a ride home with your child and sneak past you, it might be time to call in the professionals. A pest management provider like Terminix can help you handle any infestation in your home so you can focus on more important things — like getting your kid to school on time.