Bedbugs in Queens schools

It seems that schools are not immune to the recent rash of bedbug sightings around the city.
According to the City Department of Education (DOE), there have been more than 330 reports of bed bug specimens in schools citywide, with 109 cases in Queens alone this year.
The increase in cases has been a trend in the past few years.
According to a 2010 report by the New York City Bed Bug Advisory Board, there were 426 cases during the 2008-2009 school year and the number more than doubled to 1,019 cases in the 2009-2010 school year.
With 336 cases already in the first two months of the 2010-2011 school year, it seems that the number will go up again compared to 135 cases in the same time period last school year.
Despite the swelling numbers, DOE spokesperson Marge Feinberg issued a statement saying that there have not been any infestations in schools. “Every time we find a single bed bug, we are required to report it… some of these cases are literally one or two bugs.”
According to the DOE, “schools are not an ideal location for bed bugs to reproduce, because they are nocturnal insects that require feeding prior to reproduction.”
However, there is still cause for concern since, although schools are not ideal breeding grounds for the nocturnal blood suckers, schools act as transportation hubs, where the critters jump on students’ backpacks and heavy jackets, where they end up in homes.
In the DOE’s nine-page online Bed Bug Kit, procedures in the case of a positive identification of the pest include sending a letter home only to the child who was found with the bug(s) and distributing a fact sheet titled “Stop Bed Bugs Safely.”
According to the kit, bed bugs are a nuisance, but are not known to spread disease. In addition, it says that “bed bug bites are initially painless, but later turn into large, itchy skin welts. These welts do not have a red spot in the center like flea bites.”
The DOE would not release a full list of schools affected.

More from Around New York