Bed Bugs Found In Adams County Schools
Wednesday, January 18, 2012

PEEBLES - Two bed bugs were identified in each of the Peebles attendance area schools on Jan. 11. Another bug was found Tuesday in West Union Elementary.

This is the second school year bed bugs have been found in Adams County/Ohio Valley District schools, according to Superintendent Rodney Wallace.

"The bugs were each found on a student at Peebles," Wallace said. "Through last week, in the 2011-2012 school year, we had seven reported bed bugs. The others were found in West Union Elementary, the Career and Technical Center and North Adams High School. The ones found Wednesday were the first to be found at Peebles.

"Last year was the first year any bed bugs were confirmed in the schools," Wallace continued. "A protocol was developed as soon as the first bed bug was found. The protocol was developed with input from the Adams County Health Department and the Ohio Department of Health.

"Based on fact, bed bugs are a nuisance, not a health issue, so we do not exclude students from school or close the school for bed bugs," said Wallace. "We have trained our personnel on what to look for and what to do if found. The students' parents are called."

Wallace said all the parents of students in the schools were notified through School Messenger. An informational letter about bed bugs was also sent home to parents.

"Bed bugs are really easy to pick up," said Jason Work, of the Adams County Health Department. "If you go to someone's house and sit on their couch for a long time, they can crawl on you. They can crawl into your pockets or your purse.

"They are more active at night," Work explained. "They don't like a lot of activity, which is why they get on people while they sleep. That's why they're called bed bugs. They like it when it's calm and quiet and they do prefer darker areas."

Bed bugs can be found lurking in seams of matresses, baseboards, dresser drawers, bed frames, and the night stand, according to Work. About the size of an apple seed, three-eigths to one fourth of an inch, a mature adult is visible moving around. It will be a dark red or brownish color after a blood meal from its victim. Fecal spots, red spots, can be found on bed sheets.

The ACHD averages 10 calls a week about bed bugs. They are throughout the county, according to Work. He recommended calling in a professional exterminator to get rid of them.

According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, acute illnesses, usually mild, can occur from insecticides used to control bed bugs. Data was collected from seven states from 2003-2010. In the study, 93 percent of the cases occurred in private residences. Among cases, 39 percent of pesticide applications were performed by occupants of the residence who were not certified to apply pesticides. Some of the cases of illness occurred because the person wasn't aware of the use of the pesticide, including medical emergency personnel. Other cases involved overuse of the pesticide.

The most frequently reported health outcomes from the pesticide exposure, according to the CDCP report, were neurologic symptoms, including headache and dizziness; respiratory symptoms, including upper respiratory tract pain and irritation and dyspnea; and gastrointestinal symptoms, including nausea and vomiting.

Adams County is not alone in dealing with bed bugs. Last year, seminars were held for school districts in four areas of the state, Wallace said.

ACOVSD Facilities Manager Steve Wolfe said at the southern Ohio maintenance meetings he attends, 11 out of 12 school districts have had incidents with bed bugs.

"In our district, the number of bed bugs is very low with the number of students that we have," he said. "The school is not a common environment for bed bugs. When we find them, they have simply been carried in by a student. We call an exterminator to spray the area where the bug was found and where the students belongings were. Sometimes they're found on a desk or the floor."

"We also spray the school bus," Wallace added.

Information about bed bugs is available on the ACOVSD Web site at under health - bed bugs. There is also a link to the Ohio Department of Health site.