GILBERT, SC (WIS) - You probably wouldn't expect your child to bring home bed bugs with them from school, but that's a real concern for parents at Gilbert Primary School.
Parents received a letter on Thursday saying the school would be taking extra precautions after finding bed bugs inside the school. But the parents say this isn't the first time they've gotten a letter like this.
Some parents claimed that not every parent was notified, only the classrooms the school identifies as infected. Stacey Mundy is the office manager for Cayce Exterminating and says Gilbert Primary is not alone.
"I have heard that in several schools recently. We have had a definite increase in bed bug calls," Mundy said. "I've been in the industry about eight and a half years. So, probably in the past year, it's been a booming problem."
This week, parents in the affected classrooms were sent a letter indicating Gilbert Primary officials had found bed bugs inside the school. The letter says the backpacks of students in that affected classroom will be separated and put into bags during the school day.
"When you child comes home from school, you can take the bookbag. You can empty it," Mundy said. "You can put it in the dryer on a hot-heat cycle for about 30 minutes and that will kill any live bed bugs that are on there."
She has five children enrolled in Gilbert Primary School, and though she hasn't received a letter from the school.
"That's a great method that they're doing. They're basically doing all that they can to assure that the student doesn't bring them home and it doesn't affect their family. Bed bugs can spread very easily," Mundy said. "If a child brings their book bag to school and hangs it up – which most of them do next to another child's book bag – they can go back forth. It is very easy for them to do."
So how do you know if you have them?
Mundy says you'll likely wake up feeling itchy, with bite marks. You may even notice little specs of blood on your sheets or little black bugs that look like tics. If you do, Mundy recommends seeking professional help.
Lexington District One school officials say they take this very seriously. So far this year, they say they've found two bed bugs cases - one on a student and one inside a book bag. These were two separate incidents.
When this happens, school officials notify the parents for that particular classroom.