Bed bugs found in two Norfolk classrooms

Posted at 10:37 AM, Mar 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-24 17:46:38-04

NORFOLK, Va. - School officials say "a single bed bug" forced them to bring in pest control teams to two separate schools after bed bugs were spotted on Thursday.

A spokesperson for Norfolk Public Schools tells News 3 "a single bed bug" was found in a classroom at both Ruffner Academy and Lake Taylor High School.

Bed bugs are known for spreading rapidly and experts say they are difficult to treat. We wanted to know if was possible to find only on bed bug during a decontamination search.

"There is a 50/50 chance," said Charlie Church, a pest control expert with over 40 years of experience. Church owns Getem Services based in Norfolk, and he has seen his fair share of bed bugs.

"One of the worst cases we saw was 10,000 bed bugs on a wheel chair. The chair looked like it was movie," Church told News 3's Merris Badcock.

He says while it is possible to only find one bed bug during a search at school, it is even more likely that the bed bug was brought in from a student or teacher.

“They are hitchhikers," said Church. "There is a possibility you could have one child bring one in to one class, and one child bring one in to another class.”

Church says bed bugs can survive up to two months without a blood meal, and love to hide in dark places, like under bed sheets, under couch cushions and inside backpacks or luggage.

Click here to read the letter that was sent to parents of Ruffner Academy students.

School officials say students were not sent home because of the bed bugs. Instead, officials sent home a letter to Ruffner Academy parents, and sent out an automated phone call to Lake Taylor High School parents.

The schools followed the appropriate bed bug protocols and each school's custodian, along with a certified pest control specialist, inspected and treated the areas.

"We are working with each school and the community to be vigilant in keeping unwanted pests from entering the building," the Norfolk Public Schools spokesperson said.

The school made no mention on how to contain the bed bugs, but Church says there is one thing parents can do with their students to make sure bed bugs are not brought into their homes.

“The backpack, whatever the child takes to school, son or daughter, this is what needs to be inspected when they come home," said Church. "Go through it, make sure there is no insects, and these insects are small.”

Adults are about the size of a tick, and babies are as small as the width of a piece of pepper.