That’s right. It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Back-To-School season is upon us, as the last dog days of summer are squeezed in amongst barbeques and school supply shopping.
Cooler fall weather is right around the corner, with the expectation that with it, many summer pests that plagued our picnics and homes will soon disappear. In part, that is true. However, Back-To-School season brings its own variety of pesky insects to watch out for. And for good reason…
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1. Bed Bugs
Many folks associate bed bugs with filth and poor living conditions. However, the reality is bed bugs do not care how clean or dirty their environment is. They do, however, go where people tend to congregate and rest. Known as the “hitchhiker” of the bug world, they hide in cracks and crevices. Sneaking onto luggage, back packs, clothing and other items. Making schools a prime location for an infestation to occur.
While bed bugs do not actually transmit disease. They do often create psychological stress, due both to the stigma of an infestation and factors like loss of sleep and itching from bites.
TIPS: If you suspect your child might bring home bed bugs, carefully inspect their items for evidence. Here are more suggestions on how to prevent your kids from bringing bed bugs back home.
Ticks remain active throughout the fall and have even been known to be found in the winter if the conditions are mild. Often, weather permitting, children will be sent outside for recess during the school day. Which makes the likelihood that they may encounter ticks still quite high. Lyme disease and other tick-borne illness have been on the rise in recent years, making it necessary to take precautions against tick bites.
TIPS: Performing daily tick checks is the first line of defense. You should check the entire body, being extra careful to inspect the hair, ears, armpits, groin and belly button. Find more tips on preventing Lyme Disease.
Often mosquitoes are considered more of a nuisance than a threat. However, mosquitoes are known carriers of serious diseases such as West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis or EEE (Triple E). Even though the cooler fall temps, mean you are likely to see fewer mosquitoes. Early fall still brings many warm days, where children playing outside may encounter them.
TIPS: Your best line of defense is preventing mosquito bites. Some common approaches are to wear light-colored clothing, long-sleeves/pants and the use of repellents. Learn more on how to protect yourself from the dangers of mosquito bites.
4. Fruit Flies
These annoying, barely visible, little buggers are far from top of mind as a back-to-school pest. However, they can quickly develop in overripe fruit, various foods, dirty mops, vegetable bins, floor drains or the bottoms of trash cans. Which means, they could easily end up inside your child’s lunch bag. The concern with fruit flies is they also can transmit disease, bacteria, and viruses.
TIPS: You can refrigerate or throw away ripened /damaged fruit. Clean drains, trash cans, and lunch boxes regularly. You can also encourage your child to throw away any leftover snack or food, rather than bring it home. Or make sure that it comes back sealed in an airtight container. Find out why we think flies are the grossest.
We saved this one for last. Probably one of the most well known back-to-school pests that all parents dread. Lice. Understandably so. They are highly contagious and can spread quickly. Especially in school settings. Like the bed bug, they are not known to spread disease. Also, lice do not have a preference on how clean or dirty you or your environment is either. Regardless the stigma, annoyance and itch factors associated with them, place them very high on many folks radar.
TIPS: Definitely perform regular head checks, because an outbreak can easily pop up even in the most elite school setting. Discourage your child from sharing hats, helmets, hair accessories, hair brushes, clothing or other personal items with classmates. Click here for more on detecting and preventing a head lice infestation.
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