News8 viewers in Waterbury have reported their concerns to us ever since a picture of a bed bug found at Waterbury Career Academy made its way around the high school. The district felt it was safe for the school to be open on Thursday and they are working with the Waterbury Health Department to clean the effected areas of the school.
News8 sought out a professional who gets rid of bed bugs for a living to give viewers a glimpse into what it takes to get rid of bed bugs.
Billy Braun owns NuAge Detection and Pest Elimination in Beacon Falls. He says there are two ways to get rid of bed bugs — either blasting pesticides or heat through large plastic tubes. For safety reasons, when it comes to treating schools, only the heat method is used.
Braun says the key is to make the entire room hot enough for bed bugs not to be able to move or function or lay their eggs.
His immediate goal is to get the heat turned up to 110 degrees. That’s when bed bugs start to go into shock. That also keeps them from spreading.
“So, the tempearture to kill is going to be 122 to 125 degrees maintained for 4 straight hours,” he said.
Billy says once an inspection on a school is done, the entire process to rid a school of bed bugs could be done in a day, depending on the size of the school and how many areas are effected.
He also knows many parents are concerned that the bed bugs may latch themselves onto students’ clothing and backpacks and “hitch hike” a ride home with them. He has this advice for keeping bed bugs out of your homes.
“What you should do immediately when you get (the student) home is strip down and launder the clothes,” he said. “You can throw them in the dryer. Dry air on high heat timed dry for 45 minutes will kill any life cycle of the bug.”
He also suggests using a smooth, plastic storage bin to catch any bed bugs that might have attached themselves to a backpack: “Anything that’s smooth, bed bugs physically have to be able to hold onto something in order to climb up or hold onto. They don’t have the same follicles as ants or roaches that help them cling. So, if you put the bookbags in large, slippery plastic storage bins, any bug that’s trying to climb out of the bag will get trapped inside the bin and not be able to infest your house.”
News8 tried repeatedly to contact anyone from the school district to comment on the clean up effort. News8’s calls were not returned. There’s no word on how much cleaning Waterbury Career Academy will cost, but Billy estimates charges for cleaning a school could be somewhere in the neighborhood of $450-$650 per room. The estimate cost to clean a house for bed bugs is $1,250-$1,500 with the heat treatment.