Ryan Scott Ottney
PDT Staff Writer
Portsmouth City Schools Superintendent Scott Dutey said Thursday that the school has found bed bugs in Portsmouth Elementary School this week and taken quick action to eradicate them. Portsmouth is the second school district in Scioto County to report finding bed bugs this year.
“They were seen Tuesday, and we had everything sprayed (Tuesday and Wednesday nights) and we’re going to be spraying again this weekend. It’s just right there in the office area,” Dutey said.
He said they aren’t sure how they were brought into the school. They only found one or two bugs, but where there’s one or two there could be more, so the school maintenance staff sprayed the building after school hours. To make sure they’ve completely eradicated the problem, the school is having a professional extermination company spray the building again this weekend.
“We went back in this morning (Thursday) and didn’t see any, but we want to make sure we address the issue and we don’t want to do it when kids are around,” Dutey said.
He said this is the first time the school district has ever found bed bugs in any of their buildings.
New Boston School has reportedly been battling bed bugs all year, and in March reported its third outbreak since first discovering them in January. According to the Scioto County Health Department, the entire village of New Boston has been especially hard-hit.
Brent Rawlins, from the Scioto County Health Department, said the state of Ohio does not consider bed bugs a nuisance because their bites do cause itching, but don’t spread any diseases. Because of that, the health department can’t treat for bed bugs, they can only identify them and offer information about how to get rid of them.
“Pull back the sheet to the bare mattress, and along the sheets you’ll see little black dots that look like it’s been sprinkled by pepper. That will actually be feces or egg carcases. It’s pretty noticeable to see,” Rawlins said. “They can be transmitted by laying eggs or crawling into a bag.”
Heat treatment remains the most effective way to kill bed bugs, he said. Cold treatments and chemical treatments are also available, and might be easier to afford, but won’t always kill the eggs. Bugs and eggs on clothing can easily be heat-killed by washing them in hot water and a hot dry cycle.
Ryan Scott Ottney may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Ryan on Twitter @PDTwriter.