Can My Child Bring Bed Bugs Home from School?

child-backpackBed bugs are one of the growing nightmares that many U.S. residents. Even though they were once nearly eradicated in the United States they have made a huge comeback in the United States in the last twenty years. Most people associate bed bugs with travel, but that is only one of the places you can pick up bed bugs.

Schools have actually become one of the places where you can pick up bed bugs. Children who have a bed bug infestation at home will inadvertently bring the bed bugs to school inside of their backpacks. Once the bed bugs get to school, they will spread out throughout the school. They can also move from one backpack to another. If they ride home in another child’s backpack, they will begin an infestation at that home.  Bed bug eggs can hatch in just six days and begin feeding right away.

How Can I Stop Bed Bugs from Coming Home with My Child?

This is a difficult situation because it is not overly common. However, once it starts at a school it can quickly become a problem. Schools have banned backpacks at school while they are trying to deal with an infestation and to stop it from spreading. If you hear someone mention bed bugs in the carpool line or at a school event, you may want to consider not using a backpack.

What Should I Do If My Child’s School Reports an Issues with Bed Bugs?

The first thing is to not to panic. If the school has an issue with bed bugs there will be a plan in place to identify the source of the issue and to stop the spread. Be sure to follow any instructions that the school gives. You will likely want to stop sending a backpack to school. Bed bug infestations need to be severe to have your child bring bed bugs home in their clothes, but you can check them when they come home. Drying the clothing on high heat will kill any bugs that may be in them.

Do I Need to Worry About Bed Bugs for My Child at Boarding School or in the Dorm?

This is actually a growing problem in dorms. The schools should have a protocol in place, but you need to be careful when your children come home for breaks or for the summer. Check their suitcases and consider treating them and all their clothing, either by freezing them for several days or running everything through on high heat.

How Do I Prevent Mice from Getting in My House?

ratsAt one time or another, mice may be a problem that most homeowners may have to deal with. There are steps that you can take to prevent rodents from getting into your home. If you have recently noticed rodents in your home, you may want to take these steps. However, it is a good idea to complete these steps every year to stop any problems before they start.

Make Sure Mice Are Not Attracted to Your Home

According to the article What Attracts Mice to Your Home?, mice come into your home looking for food and shelter. They want an easy source of water and food. If you can store your food in your sealed containers, it is less likely that the mice will get into your home. Taking the garbage out on a regular basis will also eliminate the things that attract the mice to your home. Clearing out any clutter will also help prevent mice since it will be more difficult for people to hide.

Do an Inspection of the Exterior of Your Home

In addition to clearing out your home of things that may attract mice, you should take the time inspect the exterior or your home at least once a year. There are several areas that you need to check to make sure that rodents and other animals cannot get in.

  • Check the foundation of your home. As you walk around the exterior of your home, check where the foundation meets the siding of your home. Look for any weakened or rotted areas that would be easy for a rodent to chew a hole into. Repair any of these areas. Mice and other animals may take advantage of weakness caused by termites, and you will need to repair that to avoid future issues.
  • Check your crawl space if you have one. In addition to the foundation, you should visually check your crawl space if possible. The rodents may be making nests under your home and then crawling up inside of your home in search of food. Some crawl spaces make it easy to check, while others are more difficult. If you can check, you may be able to quickly identify the problem.
  • Check pipes leading into your home. If there have been any leaks, it weakens the wood and makes it easy for the animals to get in. Repair the wood around the pipes and install deterrents like steel wool or traps to prevent the animals from getting in again.
  • Look at your roof. If branches are hanging over the roof, you should trim them back. Be sure that each vent has a grate or screen over it that will keep rodents and other insects out. If you can see holes under your eaves protect them. Repairing any loose shingles will also protect your home.

Schedule a Professional Inspection

If you have completed this inspection and you are still having troubles, you may want to call a professional to have another set of eyes that can identify where the mice are getting in. An exterminator can help you clear up the problem and install exclusion barriers to prevent rodents getting in again.

 

Diseases that Rodents Carry

ratsThere are many issues that rodents can cause when they invade your home. They can damage your property, but according to the article Dangers of a Rodent Infestation, one of the biggest issues is the diseases that rodents can spread either through their feces or through direct contact. Here are some of the most common diseases and their symptoms.

  1. Hantavirus

Hantavirus is a deadly disease. It is found in the urine and feces that mice leave behind. People catch this disease when they inhale the dried urine. This usually happens when cleaning up after a rodent infestation which is why it is important to wear a mask and gloves when cleaning up after rodents. Symptoms include tiredness and muscle aches in the hips and backs. After the initial symptoms, the patient will have trouble breathing as their lungs fill with fluid. This has a mortality rate of nearly forty percent.

  1. Lassa Fever

Lassa fever is also spread by inhaling the dried urine and feces of mice. It can be passed from person to person. Signs of the disease include tired ness and a mild fever. However, it can become more serious and lead to hemorrhaging, vomiting and difficulty breathing. Some people will go deaf after contracting the disease. Women who contract this when pregnant have a much higher mortality rate with the disease.

  1. Plague

The plague can be spread through a flea that is infected or from direct contact with the infected animal. Symptoms of the plague vary by the type that you contract. There may be large swelling of the lymph nodes, or the hands or feet may turn black or the patient may have trouble breathing. There are medications that can treat the disease. This is not a disease that you wait to see if it will get better, you should seek medical treatment right away.

  1. Salmonellosis

This is a common illness that is spread by rodents and other pests. This is an illness that can give you abdominal pain, fever, and diarrhea. You may also vomit. There may be blood in the diarrhea. Usually it will develop within three days of exposure and it can last up to a week.  It can lead to typhoid fever and other issues. This often resolves on its own, but it is important to make sure the patient stays hydrated while they are suffering from it.

  1. Tularemia

Tularemia is a bacterium that can be spread by handling the animals or by ingesting contaminated food or water. The disease may act differently depending on how you were exposed to it. It can cause a sore throat and swollen lymph nodes or even pneumonia with difficulty breathing and chest pains. It can also cause ulcers on your hands if you caught it by touching an animal or being bitten.

 

3 Common Termites in the United States

termitesThere are three basic types of termites in the United States. Termites can destroy a home as they eat their way through the wood inside of it. The type of termites you need to worry about may be based on the area of the country that you live. Here are the three basic types found in the United States.

Subterranean Termite

The Eastern subterranean termites are termites that are found primarily underground in the Eastern part of the United States, According to “Eastern Subterranean Termites,” these termites will make their nests outside underground. They will tunnel from their nests to the food source or into your house. When crawling up your foundation to the wood in your home, they will create mud tubes to protect themselves. They will only eat spring wood or along the grain. As the food runs out the entire colony may move onto another area and build a new nest. Other types of subterranean termites can be found throughout the United States.

Dampwood Termites

Dampwood termites are commonly found along the Pacific coast, but they are also found throughout the United States. They can also cause problems in the southwest deserts and in Florida. The dampwood termites tend to make their homes in damp and decaying wood that can be found on the ground. They tend to eat across the grain and the wood looks neat and clean after they have eaten it. They need damp wood to thrive and so addressing leaks and plumbing issues can help you avoid issues with this type of termite.

Drywood Termites

Drywood termites do not live in the soil. They will make their nests directly in the wood. They do not need damp wood to make their homes. Drywood nests are often found in the attics of homes. The main way people identify them is by noticing the fecal pellets which are about a 1 millimeter in length and hexagonal in shape. These termites can be found throughout the United States. Since these termites live in dry wood, it can be more difficult to find an infestation, unless you are regularly check your attic and other areas where they may make their home.

The best way to protect yourself from termites is to schedule annual inspections. An exterminator can quickly identify the different signs of termites and especially for the ones that are common where you are living.  Termites are a very common issue for most homeowners, but if you treat for them and repair any damages that they cause, your home value should stay the same.

Dealing with a Bed Bug Infestation

bed-bugsBed bugs can quickly multiply and bringing one or two home from a hotel can quickly turn into an infestation. Bed bugs are difficult to kill because they are resistant to many insecticides. There are a few steps that you must take when dealing with a bed bug infestation.

Identify the Problem

The first step is identifying where you have bed bugs or if you are dealing with something else like fleas. You can look for signs in your bedding and around your bed. There may be blood stains on your sheets or droppings in your bedding. It is also important to find where the nest is. They may make their nest in a very small crack.

Contact the Professionals

The easiest way to get rid of bed bugs is to call in a professional. The exterminator will be able to determine if you do have bed bugs and find any nests they bed bugs may have created. Since the bed bugs are resistant to many types of insecticide, they may choose to use heat remediation to take care of the bed bugs.

Prepare Your Home for a Treatment

You will need to take steps to prepare your home. One of the biggest steps you will need to complete is washing all of your bedding in hot water and drying them in a high heat dryer. This will kill the adult bugs, the larvae and the eggs. You may also want to check your luggage and other areas that may have been affected.

Prevent Future Infestations

Since it takes so much work to clear up a bed bug infestation, it makes sense to take what steps you can to avoid bringing them home. In the article “5 Steps to Prevent Bringing Bed Bugs Home on Your Next Trip”, it recommends checking your hotel room when you first check in and then to take the time to check your luggage when you come home. Be careful when you buy second hand furniture since this can also bring in bed bugs.