Dear PoP – Bed Bugs in Day Care

Photo by PoPville flickr user fromcaliw/love

“Dear PoP,

My nephews were sent home from Day Care Monday because they may or may not have seen a bite on one of them last week. They will not be allowed back to day care until we get an exterminator out to check our home for bed bugs. The kids have no strange bites and we have not seen any bed bugs in the house. They also didn’t mention this last week when they may have seen the bite.

The exterminators we have called will not come out to the house until we can verify that we have bed bugs so that they can treat the problem. One of the companies mentioned that if the Day Care had no proof that one of the kids had a bite, they can not legally send them home or bar them from going back. They also said that the day care can’t request documentation that exterminators can not legally provide (letter of proof of no bed bugs).

Should I spend $500 for an exterminator to come and treat 1 room in order to have documentation that we have been treated?”

Wow, this sounds like hysteria. Not that I would minimize the fear of bed bugs [we spoke about their stigma and difficulty in exterminating here] but how could the Day Care even tell that the bite was a bed bug bite rather than say a mosquito? What do you guys think – is this absurd or is the day care just being cautious? What should the writer of this letter do?

22 Comment

  • Bed bugs are a huge problem. I worked in housing law this summer and had a number of clients with issues relating to bed bugs. The problem is that they are very easy to spread, even if houses are kept extremely clean, and they are very difficult to get rid of. they can live for up to four months at times without a host, but they feed off human blood. The day care takes it so seriously because of how easy they are to spread and how expensive it can be to exterminate.

    And I hate to be a bearer of bad news, but if you discover bed bugs in one room of the house, they are very likely in all rooms. remove your sheets and check in the corners of the mattress. also check the corners of the cushions on your couch. they are oftentimes very small but can get big enough to notice from some distance away.

    Also check wooden areas like bed posts or bed frames or closets or bureaus, as they will often live and burrow in those wooden areas and then feed on blood at night while people sleep (that’s how they live).

    I haven’t heard about it being a problem in the DC area yet, but in the Pittsburgh area this summer it was getting worse. in New york City it’s basically an epidemic. so it’s only a matter of time.

  • My friend has bedbugs a few months ago and he told me that every reputable company comes out to your house for a free inspection to determine what pests (if any) have invaded your house.

  • Many exterminators are not allowed to treat for bed bugs without evidence, however they will still come out for free to do the inspection (at least that was my experience). Try, they have a dog trained to sniff them out.

  • Reminds me of when I was a little boy suffering from undiagnosed eczema 35-odd years ago. The schools back then were in a frenzy about lice and scabies. I was branded a “scabies risk” due to a small rash and forced to walk my 5 year old ass home about a dozen times. Also, I was called “Itchy” for some time afterwards. My parents couldn’t afford to take me to a doctor and I suffered for months until some older (wiser) lady on the block gave them a jar of lotion for my ass.

    I imagine it’s the same for tots these days. Ain’t nothing like a panic to make Americans as happy as pigs in shit. I expect a whole raft of youngin’s with nicknames like “Bugs” coming up in the next few years.

  • Interesting that one of the exterminator companies felt free to offer legal advice. DC…

    • In DC it’s possible that your exterminator went to one of the approximately 49 law schools in town or is one of the approximately 3 billion lawyers in this area.

      After all this is a city where you can get a cake baked with love (with appropriate caveats) by a lawyer:

      • Bear

        I wonder if one of those 3 billion lawyers would like to comment on the legality of the daycare banning the kid because of an alleged bug bite? We all know that bed bugs are bad, but this seems wrong to me.

        • Well, if it is a place of public accomodation, they cannot discriminate based on disability or medical conidtion, but 1) this is not either and 2) they have a duty to protect the other children and the public health, so yes, they can ask a child to stay home.

  • No bedbug stories to recount — except a close encounter (my sisters’ room, not mine) when we visited a great-grandmother in rural Louisiana many years ago.

    I just wanted to thank the posters here for the early workday laughs. 😉

  • Out yourself, submitter. I need to make sure never to invite you over and stigmatize you as much as possible.

  • kind of alarming and probably futile. my kids are constantly covered in mosquito bites, which turn into giant red welts. and according to even dermatologists often can not identify a bedbug bite or distinguish it from other bites.

    plus by the time they send the kid home for having unidentified welts the school contamination has probably already happened.

  • schools / day cares have no interested in having any kid there that might, possibly, have some condition that could be contagious (or might be transmitted to another person, like lice or bed bugs). In my experience, they set the bar way WAY low. It’s usually some 19 y/o worker who thinks she see’s something, and then you’re out. Often times, they don’t even know what they’re looking for.

    I’d get a free inspection (with report that says no treatment needed) and discuss it with the day care manager.

  • From what I’ve heard bed bug bites are pretty distinctive.

  • I think this is Vincent Gray’s fault.

  • This makes me want to get rid of all of my belongings.

  • UPDATE: Since none of the 5 exterminators we contacted would check the house for bed bugs and give us the documentation the day care requested, we contacted the day care and they gave us their exterminator’s number. For $75, someone came out this afternoon and did NOT find any bed bugs.

    I know bed bugs are a reality in this city, but it was just upsetting that the day care wouldn’t even tell us what part of the body they think they may have seen the bite last week and that they didn’t mention it last week. The exterminator did review the child in question and laughed at the idea that someone thought his bumps were bed bug bites.

  • Wow – best con I’ve heard of in a long time! Actually sorry for all your hassle, worry and expense, but you have to kind of admire such an effective scam! Any idea what the daycare’s cut was?

  • Bed Bugs in schools?! omg. that’s no good. please get that taken care of. try these guys out, I’ve used them for my office buildings and they’re really good, non-toxic and very professional.

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