Can Bed Bugs Spread at School?

Bed bugs are little vampires that can be found everywhere, and can travel between a bed bug-infested building and a non-infested building through clothing, luggage, bags, furniture, or used beds and second-hand goods.

They can be transmitted through movie theaters, Ubers, and even just being in other people’s houses. But what about schools?

Can bed bugs spread at school? Unfortunately, bed bugs can infest schools, which can be a big problem that can spread to homes.

The infestation of bed bugs in a school can lead to some severe issues:

  • It may cause severe skin conditions such as dermatitis or eczema in the host
  • In extreme cases, bed bug bites may lead to anemia in students due to blood loss
  • Bed bug bites cause illness, discomfort, and frustration among students, teachers, and staff members

This article will discuss how bed bugs can spread at school and proven prevention methods.

Bed Bugs 101

Bed bugs are small, blood-sucking insects that feed exclusively on human and animal blood. Nocturnal pests like bed bugs are usually active at night and sleep during the day. They are found in homes, hotels, dormitories, and offices. 

Bed bugs have flat and oval-shaped body which is wide at the front and narrow at the back. They have six legs and a pair of antennae with no eyes or wings. Both male and female bed bugs feed on human blood by puncturing their skin with two hollow tubes called proboscis inserted into their victim’s skin.

Then it’s a blood feast, Dracula-style.

Bed bug bites often cause itchy red welts on the skin, which can last for days or weeks. Unfortunately, their bites may also lead to localized allergic reactions such as swelling around the bitten area, itching, or hives.

In addition, when bed bugs feed on human blood, they leave their fecal matter behind, which is a major cause of allergic reactions in humans.

Bed Bug Spread

Bed bugs cannot fly or jump, but they can hitch a ride on your clothes, belongings, and even pets. They are also capable of crawling from one place to another; that’s how they spread quickly and easily. 

Hence, it is important to be careful when you purchase used furniture or clothes from thrift stores or secondhand shops. You should also regularly inspect your home, workplace, and schools for bed bug infestations as they reproduce once they have found a suitable place to live.

Can Bed Bugs Spread At School?

A survey of school administrators from the National Pest Management Association found that bed bugs were the third most commonly reported pest problem at schools, with rodents coming first and cockroaches second. 

The EPA has guidance on bed bugs at school, which can be seen here.

There are many recent cases where bed bugs have been found in schools. It is usually due to the proximity between homes and schools. Students may unknowingly bring bed bugs into a school, carrying them from home and not realizing they’re there until it’s too late. 

They’re sneaky buggers!

In addition, bed bugs can hide in a student’s personal belongings, such as their bag or jacket. Bed bugs are also brought onto the school premises through students’ clothing or shoes.

Bed bugs are also brought onto the school premises through students’ clothing or shoes.

Another way bed bugs can enter the school is if you have someone who is already infested with bed bugs visit your school, they may spread them to other areas of the building that they visit while at school or while visiting other classrooms. 

Bed bugs are very small and can easily go undetected. Moreover, they can also infect school busses and vans, which means they can be transported to and from schools.

Bed bugs may also enter classrooms through open windows or gaps around pipes and heating ducts. 

How to Prevent Bed Bug Infestation in School

Bed bug infestation is hard to spot in schools, as these insects are nocturnal and hide during the day. They are found in school furniture like desks and chairs, as well as cracks in floorboards, walls, etc. Mostly, Bed bugs hide in the seams of seats and upholstery. 

Since bed bugs spread so easily, it can be hard to know how to prevent them from infesting a school.

Here are the steps schools should be taking to minimize their risk of getting bed bugs.

1. Clean Regularly 

One of the most common ways to prevent bed bugs from infesting your school is by keeping it clean and tidy. Ultimately, cleaning the school will ensure that there are no food sources for these pests in your school. 

2. Inspect the Items

Regularly inspecting all incoming items in the school and the furniture for signs of bed bugs is significant. Remember, female bed bugs can lay up to 200 eggs after mating with a male bed bug.

Further, eggs hatch quickly into nymphs after a week, molting regularly before they become adults. Hence, it is necessary to break the lifecycle of bed bugs to prevent their growth. 

3. Avoid Placing School Bags on the Ground

Students should be aware of the concerns with leaving their bags on chairs or the ground. The reason is bed bugs are attracted to warmth, darkness, and places with higher carbon dioxide levels.

They crawl into these bags and then enter the school building.

4. Take Care with Upholstered Chairs, Rugs, etc.

Sitting on padded chairs can create a conducive environment for bed bugs, as they love dark and moist places. They are also more likely to go unnoticed because they blend in with the chair’s fabric.

Circle time on the rug can also be a concern, as kids often congregate in one large carpet for story time. Bed bugs in the carpet can easily spread in this fashion.

5. Spread Awareness

Educate students about bed bugs as they are at a higher risk for infestation due to their constant contact with other people in school. Indeed, their lack of knowledge about bed bug prevention techniques are a concern.

Educating students will help them avoid being bitten by bed bugs or spreading them around the school environment.

6. Use Pesticides

Pesticides are one way to prevent bed bug infestation at schools and other public places with a high population density. They are chemical substances that kill pests.

They are used to reduce the population of pests in an area. It is a very effective way to kill bed bugs, cockroaches, and other insects in school buildings. 


Unfortunately, schools can be the source of spread of bed bugs in a community. Cities and high density areas will naturally be places more likely to get infested with bed bugs.

Schools (particularly urban ones) must take precautionary measures against bed bug infestation. Unexpectedly, bed bugs have become a major problem in the past few years as they have developed resistance to pesticides.

School administration should keep an eye out for signs of bed bug infestation in schools, such as droppings, eggs, or husks. It will help to determine the severity of the infestation. If found, they can further apply the prevention methods accordingly.