March 31, 2016 | by Taylor Stuck |The Herald-Dispatch
HUNTINGTON, WV – Huntington High School students were sent home Thursday with a letter alerting parents bed bugs were found in the school.
Jedd Flowers, Cabell County Schools communications director, said one or two bugs were found, probably “hitchhiking” in on a student.
“It’s pretty common these days,” he said. “It’s not an infestation of the building.”
Flowers said every student was sent home with a letter because the high school students travel throughout the school for classes, so it would be impossible to determine who came in contact.
The school will follow state protocol, calling in an exterminator to assess the building. Flowers said they will check for bugs and vacuum. If that does not rid the building of the problem, chemicals will be used.
Flowers said they just want to make sure parents and guardians are aware, and to ask them to let the school know if bed bugs are in their home. Cabell County Schools will help families who need assistance ridding their homes of bed bugs.
Residential bed bugs have been on the rise across the country, said Stan Mills, program manager at the Cabell-Huntington Health Department.
Mills said a couple bed bugs at the high school is as common as the school having a cricket, and the chance of a bed bug being taken home by a student is about the same chance of that student winning the lottery.
Mills said the health department worries more about people overdosing on chemicals to remove bed bugs than people having bed bugs in the first place.
“Chemicals are not the only treatment,” he said.
Bed bugs are small, oval, brownish insects that live on the blood of animals or humans. Adult bed bugs have flat bodies about the size of an apple seed.
Initial hiding places are typically in mattresses, box springs, bed frames and headboards. Bed bugs bite in the night, and a spot of blood can also be seen on sheets.