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Fact Sheet: Guidelines for Handling Bed Bugs in a School

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Guidelines for Handling Bed Bugs in a School

Public Health scientific evidence does not show that bed bugs directly spread disease. Students should not be excluded from the school due to bed bugs. If a student has bed bugs, privately and with dignity, follow these guidelines:

If bed bugs are found on a child:

  1. Discretely remove the child from the classroom so the school nurse or a qualified individual can perform an inspection of child’s clothing and other belongings (including but not limited to shoes, jackets, hats, books, backpacks, school supplies, etc.). Place any of the child’s unneeded items, such as book bags, into a large bag and tightly seal the bag.
  2. Check areas where student or affected belongings may have had a chance to sit for extended periods of time.
  3. Remove bugs by use of gloves, tweezers, tissue, paper towel, etc. Place bugs in a sealed bag, destroy the bug, and dispose the bag.
  4. Belongings showing a presence of bed bugs need to be bagged, sealed, and sent home with child at the end of the day. If the school has a washer/dryer available, school may wish to wash and dry clothing on a high heat setting.
  5. Contact the parents or guardian to inform them of the bed bug presence on their child.
    • Require a clean, freshly laundered and sealed change of clothes be sent to the school. Clothes should be laundered on high heat.
    • Send only essential items to school with the student and inspect items upon arrival. If possible, the school could offer to keep nonessential items overnight to help ensure the items are bed bug free.
  6. Give parents or guardian a copy of Hamilton County Public Health’s Bed Bug Fact Sheet (included). Refer parents to Hamilton County Public Health for home consultation if necessary.


General Guidelines:
It is recommended that schools separate children’s belongings to prevent the spread of bed bugs. It is essential that all staff be trained to identify bed bugs, skins, eggs, and feces. Schools should add bed bugs to the Integrated Pest Management Plan.


If bed bugs are found in a school room:

  1.  Check any students/belongings that may have been in the affected area.
  2.  If students are found to have bed bugs on them, follow above guidelines.
  3.  Distribute letter to affected student/staff households describing bed bugs, their control, and how to check their own homes and children. Follow Hamilton County Public Health’s guidelines located on the Bed Bug Fact Sheet.
  4.  Refer parents to Hamilton County Public Health for home consultation if necessary.
  5.  Vacuum the affected area during normal after school cleaning schedule. Dispose of the vacuum bag in its own sealed garbage bag.
  6.  Contact a licensed pest control operator for any treatment to be performed inside a school building. According to Ohio Law, it is illegal for anyone other than a licensed pest control applicator to apply pesticide in any public building.


Guidance for Observing Bed bugs on School Buses:

  • Work with the parents to ensure that bed bugs are not brought onto bus. Parents should visually check their children prior to going to school.
  • Train bus drivers on bed bug identification and signs of their presence. Drivers and employees shall sweep and vacuum bus when necessary.
  • Drivers and employees shall inspect their belongings and person after getting off and on the bus.
  • Do not bring unnecessary items (bags, clothing items) onto bus.
  • For staff, if items are needed, protect them in plastic sealed, unbroken bags. Ensure the bus is inspected by a professional and treated if needed.
  • Report all observances to the school administration.



For more information about bed bugs, contact the Environmental Health Division at 513-946-7800.


Download a printable version of this fact sheet here.


250 William Howard Taft Road
2nd Floor, Cincinnati, OH 45219
Phone 513.946.7800 Fax 513.946.7890