National School IPM

Bed Bugs in Schools

Here are some tips for dealing with bed bugs in schools.

1. De-cluttering is an activity that makes all IPM activities work better. A clean, clutter free environment reduces pest pressure.

2. Use monitoring and inspection as a part of bed bug PREVENTION, then reporting sightings to the appropriate contact.  (The line of communication is specific to each school district. If you find bed bugs do not keep them a secret, this will only make the problem worse.)

3. Know the difference between an INTRODUCTION and an INFESTATION.  An infestation can be defined as having virtually all of the life-cycle was present (eggs, nymphs and adults).  Finding bed bugs on students will most likely be classified as an introduction into the classroom as opposed to finding bed bugs in the environment (usually classroom), even if the student’s jacket or backpack may contain more than one stage of the bed bug life cycle.  

  • It is important for a school nurse or other school health professional to do the inspection of the child.
  • If bed bugs are found on a student, then the parents of that student should be notified.
  • If the bed bugs are found infesting the classroom, the parents of the students in the class should be notified. Our special edition Tips for Parents can be printed and sent home or mailed to parents. It can also be emailed or attached to your electronic newsletters or added as a link on your school webpage.
  • At the time the parent is contacted, request a clean change of clothes, sealed in a plastic bag.  (Putting clothes dryers on site and using heat as a method to kill bed bugs that came in on clothing, back packs, etc. is another management possibility.)

A final recommendation is to adjust your expectation of what control means where bed bugs are concerned.  There are no quick fixes to this issue.

Bed Bug PMU LogoFor basic biology information on bed bugs we recommend this publication developed by the University of Florida.

Bed bug management in schools developed by Pest Management University at the University of Florida will be available soon. Please check back.

Additional information:


The Florida Bed Bug Workgroup Website was created to develop bed bug awareness for Florida consumers that includes information on effective and legal control methods.

The Virginia Dept. of Agriculture received US EPA funds to develop a series of fact sheets.  Dr. Dini Miller of VPI was tasked with producing the fact sheets which are nationally applicable. Bed Bug Prevention Methods.  This fact sheet may be helpful to school staff and students as they prepare to travel. Non-chemical Bed Bug Management, Bed Bug Treatment Using Insecticides.

As bed bugs infest more and more homes, they may find their way into schools. When this happens, the school needs to take proactive action to prevent infestation and stop them from spreading in the school setting. The Michigan flow chart on page 4 is very helpful.

More resources are available on the eXtension Bed Bug News page.



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