Message about Bed Bugs from Baldwin County Schools
The Baldwin Health Department has received complaints about bed bugs from various parts of Baldwin County. Prior to the
Thanksgiving break, we identified a few cases of bed bugs in two of our schools. If we have bed bugs in our community, they
will eventually show up in our schools. Please note that we do not have a bed bug infestation in any of our schools. What we
have are isolated cases. A single bed bug is not an infestation. Following is the protocol that is in place for dealing with bed
bugs in our schools:

● Employees report all cases of bed bugs to an administrator who will then contact the district office.

● If an incident of bed bugs is reported to to the district office, we immediately try to confirm that it is really bed bugs by
contacting our pest control company.

● If a student with bed bugs is identified, we remove that student from the classroom in a tactful manner. We do not
embarrass the student. It is important that we maintain the student’s confidentiality.

● If it is confirmed that we have a case of bed bugs, the classroom where the bed bugs were seen is then treated by
the pest control company and remains closed for 24 hours.

● A letter is sent home to the parents of the affected classroom(s).

● We also have the pest control company inspect and treat our schools on a regular basis and over breaks.

                                                                 Q & A About Bed Bugs

What are bed bugs?

​Bed bugs are small, flat insects that feed on our blood, typically at night, while we are sleeping. Bedbugs don't fly, but can quickly walk across floors, walls, and other surfaces.

Can I get a disease from bed bugs?

No, there are no known cases of infectious disease transmitted by bed bug bites. However, some people are more sensitive
to the bites and develop itchy, red welts. Scratching the bites can lead to infection.

Can Bed Bugs develop in Public Places?

It is very unlikely, though not impossible, that a bed bug infestation will develop in an office, classroom, or other
non­residential environment, such as a department store. However, these sites can serve as transfer hubs for bed bugs to
hitchhike a ride into your home. Administrators, staff, students and employees all have roles to play in reducing the spread of
bed bugs.

How do I prevent bed bugs from entering my home?

People often bring bed bugs into their homes via infested luggage, furniture, bedding, or clothing. Bed bugs can hitch a ride
on items purchased second­hand, or from furniture and bedding that is delivered to your home. Bed bugs may also travel
between apartments through small crevices, cracks, and ventilation ducts in walls and floors.

● Regular house cleaning, including vacuuming your mattress, can help to prevent an infestation.

● Clean up clutter to help reduce the number of places bed bugs can hide.

● Wash clothing and inspect luggage immediately after returning from a trip.

● Inspect used furniture for bed bugs before bringing it into your home.

● Never bring discarded bed frames, mattresses, box springs, or upholstered furniture into your home.

How do I know if my home has bed bugs?

Itchy swollen bites may be the first sign of a bed bug problem. However, these itchy bites can take as long as 14 days to
develop in some people, so it's important to look for other clues if you are concerned about an infestation. Bed bugs typically
infest mattresses, box springs, bed frames, and couches. You may be able to find them hiding within the cracks and crevices
of beds, furniture, floors, and walls. Bed bugs often leave evidence of small dark stains (fecal droppings) and rusty red spots
(bloodstains) on bedding sheets, mattresses, and other areas they hide in or travel along. Heavy bed bug infestations can
cause a sweet, musty smell.

If you suspect a bed bug problem, it's important to first confirm that you really have bed bugs. Contact a pest control
company for bed bug identification help.

What do bites from bed bugs look like?

Skin reactions from bed bug bites vary from person to person. Bites may go unnoticed or may be mistaken for flea or
mosquito bites or other skin conditions. The most common skin reaction to bed bug bites are itchy red bite marks that appear
clustered or in a straight line, often along the edge of clothing or where sheets were pulled up to a person's skin. Small
swollen red bumps are also common. In rare cases, people may develop large, often itchy, red welts. A single bed bug bite is
similar to a flea bite, except that a red area does not occur in the center. Flea bites tend to be found around the ankles while
bed bugs tend to bite any exposed area of the body while a person is sleeping, such as the face, neck, arms, hands, or legs.

How do I stop itching from bed bug bites?

Most bed bug bites go away by themselves and don't need treatment. Keep the skin clean and try not to scratch.
Over­ the­ counter, anti­itching cream for insect bites can help relieve the itching. If the bites are very itchy, your health care
provider may prescribe cream or antihistamines to relieve the itchiness. Oral antibiotics may be prescribed for any secondary
skin infection from excessive scratching.

How do I get rid of bed bugs?

The best way to control bed bugs is to use an integrated pest management approach, which combines a variety of control
techniques that pose the least risk to human health and the environment. The use of pesticides is just one part of the
potential control strategy for bed bugs.

1. Confirm that you have bed bugs. Contact a pest control company for bed bug identification help.

2. Use your vacuum's nozzle attachment to capture the bed bugs and their eggs. Vacuum all seams and crevices on
your mattress, bed frame, baseboards, and any other objects close to the bed or furniture in the home found to be
harboring bed bugs. It is essential to vacuum daily and immediately place the vacuum's contents into a sealed plastic
bag and throw it away in an outdoor garbage can.

3. Wash all your linens in hot water and place them in a hot dryer for at least 20 minutes.

4. Cover your mattress, box spring, and pillows with a certified bed bug cover encasement.

5. Remove all unnecessary clutter.

6. Seal cracks and crevices between baseboards, on wood bed frames, floors and walls with caulking. Repair or
remove peeling wallpaper, tighten loose light switch covers, and seal any openings where pipes, wires or other
utilities come into your home. Pay special attention to apartments or rooms that share a wall ­ bed bugs can move
through extremely small gaps to infest new areas.

7. Monitor nightly to catch the bed bugs. Trapping provides evidence of bed bugs, but it shouldn't be used as the sole
method of control because it probably won't catch all the bed bugs.

8. Closely examine any items that you are moving around in your home or are bringing in. If you throw away infested
items, make sure that no one else will want to use them again ­ cut holes in upholstery or attach a sign to it saying,
"Infested with Bed Bugs."

9. Contact a professional pest control company to assist you with these control steps and to see if pesticides or other
bed bug control strategies should be included. Use the least toxic pesticide product available and follow the label's

10. Never use pesticides that are intended to be used outdoors, inside your home. Bug bombs, or total release foggers,
are not effective in controlling bed bugs. Bed bug infestations can be difficult to control, but don't resort to improperly
using pesticides. Serious health risks can occur when pesticides are used improperly.
More Information

Bed Bugs
(Cimex lectularius)

Frequently Asked Questions

Bed bugs are increasingly becoming a problem within residences of all kinds, including homes,

apartments, hotels, cruise ships, dormitories and shelters.

Bed bugs are small wingless insects that feed solely upon the blood of warm-blooded animals. Bed bugs

and their relatives have evolved as nest parasites. Certain kinds inhabit bird nests and bat roosts and await

the return of their hosts; others have adapted well to living in the ‘nests’ (homes) of people.

Newly hatched bed bugs are about the size of a poppy seed, and adults are about 1/4 of an inch in

length. From above they are oval in shape, but are flattened from top to bottom.

Their color ranges from nearly white (just after molting) or a light tan to a deep brown or burnt orange.

The host’s blood may appear as a dark red or black mass within the bug’s body. Because they never

develop wings, bed bugs cannot fly. When disturbed, bed bugs actively seek shelter in dark cracks and

Under ideal conditions, adult bed bugs can survive for more than one year between meals.

Do bed bugs cause harm or spread pathogens (disease-causing germs)?

Bed bugs seek out people and animals, generally at night while these hosts are asleep, and painlessly sip a

few drops of blood. While feeding, they inject a tiny amount of their saliva into the skin. Repeated

exposures to bed bug bites during a period of several weeks or more causes people to become sensitized

to the saliva of these bugs; additional bites may then result in mild to intense allergic responses. The skin

lesion produced by the bite of a bed bug resembles those caused by many other kinds of blood feeding

insects, such as mosquitoes and fleas. Bed bugs are not known to transmit any infectious agents.

Bed bugs and their relatives occur nearly worldwide. Bed bugs became relatively scarce during the latter

part of the 20th century, but their populations have resurged in recent years, particularly throughout parts

of North America, Europe, and Australia. They are most abundant in rooms where people sleep, and they

generally hide nearest the bed or other furniture used for sleeping. Bed bugs are most active in the

middle of the night, but when hungry, they will venture out during the day to seek a host. Their flattened

bodies allow them to conceal themselves in cracks and crevices around the room and within furniture.

Favored hiding sites include the bed frame, mattress and box spring. Clutter around the room offers

additional sites for these bugs to hide, and increases the difficulty in eliminating bed bugs once they have

Because bed bugs readily hide in small crevices, they may accompany (as stowaways) luggage, furniture,

clothing, pillows, boxes, and other such objects when these are moved between apartments, homes and

hotels. Of greatest risk of harboring bed bugs and their eggs are used furniture, particularly bed frames

and mattresses. Because they readily survive for many months without feeding, bed bugs may already be

present in apparently ‘vacant’ and ‘clean’ apartments. Bed bugs can wander between adjoining

apartments through voids in walls and holes though which wires and pipes pass. In a few cases, bats

and/or birds may introduce and maintain bed bugs and their close relatives (bat bugs and bird bugs). Pest

control personnel should be mindful of the presence of blood feeding insects and mites that may be left

behind after removing nests or roosts of birds and bats in and on the home.

How can you tell if the residence is infested?

Bed bugs usually only infest a small proportion of residences, but they should be suspected if residents

complain of bites that occurred while sleeping. The bedroom and other sleeping areas should be carefully

examined for bed bugs and signs of bed bug activity. Folds and creases in the bed linens, and seams and

tufts of mattresses and box springs, in particular, may harbor bed bugs or their eggs. They may also be

found within pleats of curtains, beneath loose areas of wallpaper near the bed, in corners of desks and

dressers, within spaces of wicker furniture, behind cove molding, and in laundry or other items on the

floor or around the room. Sometimes, characteristic dark brown or reddish fecal spots of bed bugs are

apparent on the bed linens, mattress or walls near the bed. A peculiar coriander-like odor may be

detected in some heavily infested residences.

What should you do if you find bed bugs?

Because several different kinds of insects resemble bed bugs, specimens should be carefully compared

with good reference images to confirm their identity. If any questions remain regarding the identity of

your samples submit them to a competent entomologist for evaluation.

Once their identity is confirmed, a careful plan should be devised to eliminate the bed bugs in a manner

that promotes success while limiting unnecessary costs and exposure to insecticides. Do not discard

furniture and do not treat until and unless you have a plan.

What can you do to manage bed bugs?

Search for signs of bed bugs. Carefully inspect the bed frame, mattress, and other furniture for signs of

bed bugs and their eggs. Although dead bed bugs, cast bug skins and blood spots may indicate an

infestation occurred previously, they do not confirm that an infestation is still active. Search for live

(crawling) bugs and ensure they are bed bugs before considering treating.

Reduce clutter to limit hiding places for bed bugs.

Thoroughly clean the infested rooms as well as others in the residence. Scrub infested surfaces with a

stiff brush to dislodge eggs, and use a powerful vacuum to remove bed bugs from cracks and crevices.

Dismantling bed frames will expose additional bug hiding sites. Remove drawers from desks and dressers

and turn furniture over, if possible, to inspect and clean all hiding spots.

Mattresses and box springs can be permanently encased within special mattress bags. Once they are

installed, inspect the bags to ensure they are undamaged; if any holes or tears are found, seal these

completely with permanent tape. Any bugs trapped within these sealed bags will eventually die.

To prevent bed bugs from crawling onto a bed, pull the bed frame away from the wall, tuck sheets and

blankets so they won’t contact the floor, and place the frame legs into dishes or cups of mineral oil. Caulk

and seal all holes where pipes and wires penetrate walls and floor, and fill cracks around baseboards and

cove moldings to further reduce harborages.

Hire a licensed pest control operator who is knowledgeable and experienced in managing bed bug

infestations to confirm the infestation and to develop an integrated pest management plan. If you are a

tenant, contact your property manager or landlord to discuss your respective obligations, and to agree on

a plan to manage the infestation. If you find bed bugs in a hotel room, inform the hotel manager.

Because bed bugs and other pests may spread through cracks and holes in the walls, ceilings and floors, it

is wise to inspect adjoining apartments or rooms on the same floor as well as those directly above and

• Don’t panic. Although bed bugs can be annoying, they can be battled safely and successfully if

you adopt a well-considered strategy.

• Do not apply pesticides yourself. Do not use: aerosol sprays – these will cause bed bugs to

scatter or bug bombs - these do not kill bed bugs.

• Do not dispose of furniture that is useful. Infested furniture can be cleaned and treated. Placing

infested furniture (particularly mattresses) into common areas or on the street may simply help

spread bed bugs to the homes of other people. Infested furniture intended for disposal should be

defaced to make it less attractive to other people.

How can you have specimens examined?

Specimens suspected of being bed bugs should be collected into small break-resistant containers (such as

a plastic pill bottle or a zipper-lock plastic bag. They may also be secured to a sheet of white paper using

clear packaging tape. These containers should be packaged carefully to prevent damage/crushing of the

sample, and be sent to the Georgia Department of Public Health for identification (see address below).

What products are used to control bed bugs?

Insecticide formulations used to treat bed bug infestations consist mainly of the following:

• Insecticidal dusts abrade the insect’s outer waxy coat and cause the bugs to dry out quickly.

Some consist of a finely ground glass or silica powder. These dry dusts may be applied in cracks

and crevices, as well as within the hollow interior of a tubular bed frame. Some dust formulations

include another kind of insecticide.

• Contact insecticides are those that kill the bugs shortly after they come into direct contact with

the product or its residue. These mainly consist of one or more kinds of pyrethoids (synthetic

analogs of the extract of chrysanthemum flowers). These products tend to rapidly ‘knock down’

bugs that wander over or otherwise contact the insecticide. Because pyrethroids can be irritating

and repellent to many insects, bed bugs may avoid treated surfaces. A different kind of contact

insecticide, chlorfenapyr, is now available in a product available to pest control operators. This

product is non-repellent and effective for a longer period.

• Insect Growth Regulators (IGRs) affect the development and reproduction of insects. Although

these products can be quite effective in reducing the population of the pests, they do not kill

bugs quickly. Thus, pest control operators often use these products as a supplement to other

What might you do when returning from a visit to an infested residence?

Travelers increasingly encounter bed bugs during their stays away from home. If signs of bed bugs were

observed or suspected, consider the possibility that you may have unwittingly transported bed bugs or

their eggs in your luggage and other personal effects. Clothing should be laundered in very hot water to

kill bugs and their eggs before or as soon as these items are brought back into the home. Suitcases

should be carefully inspected, scrubbed with a stiff brush, and thoroughly vacuumed. Leaving such

luggage for several hours in a closed vehicle in full summer sun may render the items bug free.

For insect identification, contact: Rosmarie Kelly PhD, Public Health Entomologist, Georgia Department of

Public Health, 2 Peachtree St NW, 14-204, Atlanta, GA 30303, phone 404-657-2912.

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