For schools, bed bugs a growing problem - Metro US

For schools, bed bugs a growing problem

You won’t believe what your child’s teacher has to do if they suspect bed bugs in the classroom.

Teachers must “capture a specimen” in a plastic bag — no live critters, please — and mail it, including a “specimen data submission form,” to the Department of Education.

The number of bed bug incidents in city schools is skyrocketing, according to new data obtained by Metro. This past November, December and January averaged 458 confirmed incidents per month at roughly 300 schools — the highest ever, according to the DOE.

“It’s getting ugly out there,” said Michael Mulgrew, president of the teachers’ union. “We’re getting more and more reports on this.”

It takes one to two weeks to confirm the specimen is indeed a bed bug, said a DOE spokeswoman, but Mulgrew said that can actually stretch into two to three months.

Exterminator Jeffrey Eisenberg said he has to keep coming back to some schools up to eight times a year, as the pests continually resurface: “Five years ago, I did maybe a few schools a year. Now I do 100 a year — private, public and charter. It’s an ongoing, pervasive thing.”

He said he gets many more calls from private and charter schools than from the city.

“The public schools ignore it; they have their heads in the sand,” he said. “I think now they’re trying to change their ways, but when I get calls from public schools it’s always the same impasse: ‘My hands are tied, it’s a budget issue.’”

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