As the back-to-school season approaches, it’s not just new school supplies and routines that parents need to think about. This time of year also brings an increased risk of pests like bed bugs and ants hitching a ride home with your kids.

To keep your home safe and pest-free, we’ve put together essential back to school pest prevention tips that will help you tackle these unwelcome visitors head-on.

Understanding Common School-Related Pests

Before we delve into the promised back-to-school pest prevention tips, let’s first identify the most common pests you’ll encounter and why schools are unique environments for them.

What Types of Pests Infest Schools and Childcare Buildings?

Schools and childcare buildings can become breeding grounds for various pests due to the high traffic of students, the presence of food, and numerous hiding spots. Understanding the specific pests that infest these environments is crucial for effective school pest control.

Bed bug crawling on a bed - Back to School Pest Prevention

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are notorious for traveling on students’ items like backpacks and clothing. These pests can easily transfer from one child to another, leading to infestations in both classrooms and homes.

Small and reddish-brown, bed bugs feed on human blood, which results in itchy bites and general discomfort.

Cockroach on school grounds


Cockroaches find schools, especially kitchens and cafeterias, very inviting due to the ample supply of food and water. These pests can transfer bacteria to food and surfaces, which can cause health issues for both students and staff.

Their knack for hiding in tiny, hard-to-reach places makes them particularly challenging to eradicate.

Carpenter Ant crawling on a leaf


Ants are common invaders in schools, especially those with accessible food sources. They can infiltrate classrooms, cafeterias, and playgrounds, creating trails as they search for food.

While most ants are harmless, some species can bite or sting, causing discomfort to children. Their presence can also be a sign of larger hygiene issues within the school environment.

Mouse on school grounds


Mice and rats are drawn to schools because they offer ample food, water, and shelter. These rodents can inflict serious damage by chewing through wires, books, and structural materials.

Additionally, they carry diseases and can contaminate food and surfaces with their droppings, creating significant health hazards.

Head Lice Crawling

Head Lice

Though not a traditional pest, head lice are a common issue in schools. These tiny, parasitic insects live on the scalp and feed on human blood. They spread easily through direct contact or by sharing personal items like hats and hairbrushes.

While head lice do not transmit diseases, they can cause itching and irritation, leading to distractions and discomfort for affected children.

Understanding these pests is crucial. Now, let’s explore why schools are particularly vulnerable environments for these unwelcome visitors.

Why Schools are a Unique Pest Environment

Schools are particularly prone to pest infestations due to several unique factors.

  • Firstly, the constant movement of students and staff creates numerous opportunities for pests to be introduced and spread. High traffic areas, like hallways, cafeterias, and classrooms, see a lot of activity, making it easy for pests to move around unnoticed.

  • Secondly, schools offer a variety of hiding spots that make pest control challenging. Locker rooms, storage areas, and cluttered classrooms provide ample nooks and crannies where pests can thrive without detection. The diverse use of spaces means that maintaining a pest-free environment requires constant vigilance and regular inspections.

  • Additionally, the communal nature of schools, where students share desks, lockers, and other personal items, facilitates the spread of pests like head lice and bed bugs. Shared spaces like gyms and libraries are hotspots for pest activity, as they bring together large groups of people in close proximity.

  • Lastly, schools often have limitations in their cleaning and maintenance routines, especially over weekends and holidays, allowing pests to establish themselves during these periods. The challenge of keeping such a large environment clean and free of food scraps further exacerbates the problem.

Understanding these unique characteristics of school environments helps in developing more effective pest prevention and control strategies tailored specifically for these settings.

Essential Pest Control Tips for Parents

With a clear understanding of the common pests found in schools and why these environments are susceptible to infestations, let’s now explore practical tips for parents to keep these pests at bay and ensure a healthy home environment. Implementing these back to school pest control measures can make a significant difference.

Keep Backpacks Clean and Properly Stored

  • Backpacks can be a major carrier of pests like bed bugs and lice. To minimize the risk, make sure to regularly clean and inspect your child’s backpack.

    Empty the backpack daily, shake it out, and vacuum inside to remove any hidden pests. Store backpacks in a designated area away from bedrooms and living spaces to prevent pests from spreading throughout your home.

Regularly Change and Inspect Bedding for Bed Bugs

  • Maintaining a clean sleeping area is crucial to preventing bed bugs. Ensure your child’s sheets and pillowcases are washed and changed weekly.

    While doing so, thoroughly check the mattress and bed frame for any signs of these pests, such as small dark spots or shed skins. Using encasements for mattresses and pillows can provide an extra layer of protection.

Launder School Clothes Immediately After Returning Home

  • Clothing can be a hidden carrier for pests. When your child gets home from school, it’s best to have them change out of their school attire right away and put those clothes directly into the laundry.

    Washing and drying the clothes on a high heat setting can effectively kill any pests that may have attached themselves. This step is particularly crucial after events like field trips or activities where children have close interactions.

Never Buy or Pick-Up Used Furniture

  • While second-hand furniture can be a cost-effective option, it can also be a source of pest infestations. Avoid buying used furniture, especially items like mattresses, sofas, and upholstered chairs, which can harbor bed bugs and other pests.

    If you must bring second-hand items into your home, thoroughly inspect and clean them before use, and consider treating them with a pest control solution.

Keep a Close Watch for Pests at Home

  • Staying vigilant is crucial to stopping pest problems before they escalate. Regularly check your home, focusing on typical hiding places like baseboards, cracks, and small crevices.

    Use a flashlight to spot any signs of pests, such as droppings, shed skins, or nests. By detecting issues early, you can address them before they turn into serious infestations.

By following these pest control tips, you can maintain a pest-free home and protect your family. It’s equally important to focus on pest prevention in schools and daycares, where children spend much of their time. Next, we’ll discuss strategies to prevent infestations in these environments.

Steps to Prevent Pest Infestation in Schools and Daycares

Maintaining a pest-free environment in schools and daycares is crucial for children’s health. Effective pest control for schools requires collaboration between parents and school authorities. Here are actionable steps parents can take to support this goal.

Implementing Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) combines different approaches to effectively control pests. Parents can support IPM by:

  • Learning about the school’s pest control methods: Find out how the school currently handles pest management and look for ways to suggest improvements in their pest control for schools program.

  • Participating in health and safety committees: Work together with other parents and school staff to address pest-related issues.

  • Promoting training for staff: Encourage the school to provide regular IPM training for teachers and maintenance personnel to ensure they are well-prepared to manage and prevent pest problems.

Collaborating with School Authorities

Effective pest control requires teamwork between parents and school authorities. Parents can:

  • Stay informed and involved: Attend meetings and share concerns about pest control efforts.

  • Engage in discussions and awareness sessions: Participate in meetings and arrange sessions to discuss pest issues and solutions.

  • Volunteer for cleanliness initiatives: Help organize or join cleanup days to reduce pest risks.

Educating Children on Pest Prevention

Teaching children about pest prevention can greatly reduce the chances of infestations. Parents can:

  • Emphasize personal item care and cleanliness: Advise children to avoid sharing personal items like hats or hairbrushes and to keep their belongings tidy.

  • Teach them to recognize pests: Help children learn how to spot signs of pests, such as droppings or bite marks, and encourage them to report these to an adult right away.

By taking these proactive steps, parents can significantly contribute to maintaining a pest-free environment in schools and daycares, ensuring the health and safety of all children.

However, sometimes professional intervention is necessary to handle persistent or severe pest problems. Let’s explore how Bobcat Pest Control can provide expert assistance to keep your child’s environment completely pest-free.

Get Professional Help from Bobcat Wildlife & Pest Control

When it comes to keeping your home and school environments completely pest-free, professional intervention can make a significant difference. At Bobcat Pest Control, we offer comprehensive services to tackle all types of pest issues efficiently and effectively.

Why Choose Bobcat Pest Control?

  • Bobcat Pest Control has been a reliable presence in the Des Moines Metro area for over ten years. Our team is experienced in humane pest and wildlife management.

    We offer personalized services to address the specific needs of your home or school, ensuring a safe environment. By focusing on customer satisfaction and employing advanced techniques, we ensure your space remains pest-free and secure.

Services Offered by Bobcat Pest Control

Bobcat Pest Control provides a variety of services to tackle different pest problems:

  • Residential and Commercial Services: Customized pest control solutions for homes and businesses to maintain a pest-free environment.

  • Wildlife Removal: Humane and effective removal of nuisance wildlife like raccoons, squirrels, and bats.

  • Rodent Control: Comprehensive methods to eliminate mice, rats, and other rodents while preventing future infestations.

  • Insect Removal: Treatments for various insects, including ants, cockroaches, fleas, and more.

  • Bird Control: Solutions for managing bird issues, such as pigeons and sparrows, to keep them from disrupting your property.

Contact Bobcat Pest Control Today for a Pest-Free Home

Don’t let pests take over your home or your child’s school. Reach out to us today to schedule a service. Our team is prepared to deliver fast, effective, and reliable pest management solutions customized to your needs. Visit our website or give us a call to start ensuring a safe and pest-free environment for your family and community.

About the Author

Bobcat Wildlife & Pest Management, established over 12 years ago in Des Moines, IA, specializes in resolving wildlife and pest issues. Emphasizing “Your Property, Our Priority,” we are licensed by the Iowa Department of Fish and Game and the Department of Agriculture. Our team, committed to superior service, offers both one-time and yearly management programs across Des Moines and its environs, ensuring effective solutions and customer satisfaction.