Back to school season is in full swing and students across the country are learning new and exciting things. While most students will be learning reading, writing and arithmetic, they probably aren’t learning about the potential bugs living in their lunchboxes, lockers or backpacks. Pests such as lice, fleas and bed bugs, all have the potential to bite and leave behind painful sores. They also can easily spread disease.
Here is a list of the most common pests found in schools and how to recognize them.
- Deer ticks are small black pests, about the size of a sesame seed. They’re known for the distinct red bull’s eye rash they leave if you get bitten. They can carry Lyme Disease and may be encountered in playgrounds.
- Bed bugs have been reported in schools across the country. They are great travelers and many times go from backpack to backpack. Be sure to clean out your backpack each night and check around the seams to avoid bringing them into your home.
- Ants love crumbs and leftover treats in backpacks, lunch boxes and lockers. Clean them thoroughly each night to prevent an infestation in your home.
- Head lice are also about the size of a sesame seed and they are a red-brown color with six legs. Their small size makes them the perfect pest to attach to a child’s hair. Back to school season is the prime time period for head lice since head lice go wherever the kids are—schools and playgrounds—and spread the mischief through head-to-head contact or children’s clothing. Once they bite the scalp, these lice can leave behind an itchy rash with red bumps.
- Brown recluse spiders are slightly larger than lice and ticks and they are typically found in the house. These spiders get their name from the dark brown spot on their back that is in the shape of a violin. If bitten by a brown recluse spider, an ulcer will form that is blue at the center with a white ring and a red ring surrounding it. Seek medical attention.
- Fleas are another household pest, though typically associated with the family pet. These pests have a hard shell and can grow to 1/8 inch. Flea bites leave behind red marks that sometimes can itch. A flea infestation in the home can be difficult to control.
Knowing the signs to look for and the steps you can take to keep these pests away will help you and your family have a safe and bite-free school year!