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Bed bugs brought in to ACJC Alternative Learning Program

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) — Imagine your child bringing home a letter saying bed bugs were found at school.

That’s exactly what’s happened at the Allen County Learning Academy.

Since bed bugs can easily travel from place to place, there are some things you should look for at home.

“During the process of turning in some paperwork, one of our teachers identified some dead bed bugs,” says the director of the Allen County Juvenile Detention Center, Shane Armstrong.

The student in the Alternative Learning Program at the Allen County Juvenile Center was immediately given a change of clothing, and all students’ coats and book bags were isolated in separate plastic bags.

“We sent out a letter to all the families to make them aware we were doing some preventative measures. We contacted our exterminator,” Armstrong says.

Armstrong says when he called the original student’s family, they were already taking steps at home to eradicate bed bugs, since the insects like to live in fabrics and carpeting.

“We’re fortunate at this facility, we’re concrete, we’re plastic in our classrooms, as well. So we don’t have a lot of host in our alternative school. However, it’s hard to be preventative with someone bringing it from the outside in,” he says.

“I would rather have cockroaches in my home than bed bugs,” David Fiess tells us.

Fiess is the Health Department’s pest expert.

“Bed bugs are a lot harder to get rid of. They squeeze into very tight spaces. Usually they’re only coming out at night to feed on you when you’re in bed or if you’re laying on the couch,” he says.

He says the bites will be like mosquito bites, so if you get them in the winter, you know you have bed bugs.

Use a flashlight and if you see black marks on your mattress and box springs, that’s the bed bugs’ excrement.

Take apart your headboard and shine the light into the holes for the screws to see if bed bugs are hiding there or behind the switch plates on your outlets.

“What we recommend if you’re doing your inspection is use a hot air dryer and blow hot air on all those cracks and crevices, and see if any of them kind of scurry out. You can take a Kleenex and grab them and then flush them down the toilet,” Fiess says.

He says calling an exterminator is best, but you can also carefully use silica dust to try to dry them out.

Corinne Rose

Corinne Rose is a reporter for WPTA.

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