Start scratching now... The number bedbugs found in New York City's public schools TRIPLES in a year
Daily Mail (UK)
Friday, July 22, 2011
The number of bedbugs found in New York City's public schools
has tripled since last year.
The city's Department of Education confirmed some 3,590 reports
of bedbugs at schools over the past year, up from just 1,019 a year
And officials are preparing for for even more reports of the
pests when classes resume this autumn.
Bloodsucker: A common bedbug is engorged
with blood after feeding on a human arm. The number of the pests
discovered in New York City schools has tripled
According to New York state laws, public schools must tell
parents when bedbugs are found, even if just a single bloodsucker
In most cases just one or two of the creatures was discovered,
but the measures taken to exterminate the pests can have severe
consequences for schools and students.
Bedbugs, or cimicidae, are small parasitic insects that feed on
Reddish-brown, flattened, oval shaped and wingless, adult bed
bugs grow to 4-5mm in length and 1.5-3mm wide.
To feed, the pests pierce the skin of their hosts with two
hollow feeding tubes shaped like tongues.
With one tube it injects its saliva, which contains
anticoagulants and anaesthetics, while with the other it sucks the
blood of its host.
It takes between five to ten minutes for a bed bug to become
completely engorged, after which it usually returns to its hiding
Bedbugs can cause a number of health effects including skin
rashes and allergic symptoms. Worryingly, they have been found with
methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus MRSA.
The creatures were largely eradicated in the developed world in
the early Forties, but since 1995 they have enjoyed an unwelcome
resurgence, the reasons for which are unclear.
Elusive and usually nocturnal, bedbugs can be hard to
spot. Aside from bite symptoms, signs include fecal spots,
blood smears on sheets, and molts. They can be found singly, but
often congregate once established.
Bedbugs were discovered on nine separate occasions at PS107 last
The school is still struggling to replace classroom libraries
and other teaching materials ruined by the chemicals used to
'It's been disruptive for the kids,' added Ms Mauro.
In February, the education department issued a warning that
bedbugs were invading New York City's schools at an alarming
Spokesman Marge Feinberg said at the time that the increase in
cases was being caused by individual students coming to school with
bedbugs, and not by full-scale infestations.
'It is important to know that schools are not hospitable places
for bedbugs,' Miss Feinberg said.
'They are brought into schools from the clothing.'
Officials in New York, where there are 1.1 million students and
100,000 teachers, last year admitted the bedbug scourge had reached
'an unprecedented rate of spread.'
A protocol for dealing with cases was introduced in schools,
along with the aim of more communication between schools and
Those measures seem to have failed because so many homes are
Private homes continue to be the source of most infestations,
with bedbugs travelling on the clothes and bags of their hosts to
'Bedbugs need to be where people are,' Missy Henrickson, of the
National Pest Management Association, told NBC New York.
'So when you have homes infested with bedbugs, students who live
there are bringing them into schools.'
Last month it emerged that the parasitic insects had invaded
Manhattan's upmarket Reebok Sports Club/NY where celebrities such
as Chris Rock, Antonio 'L.A.' Reid and Taye Diggs work out.