Only a few years ago, bed bugs seemed like the kind of problem that you only encountered in the slums of major metropolitan cities.  New York and Los Angeles, for example.  These days, however, they seem to be everywhere, including our rural Maine towns!

Now, even one of our small town schools is dealing with an infestation of the pests.

According to a report on the WGME website, Hartford-Sumner Elementary School, in Oxford County, has been dealing with the bugs for the last few weeks.

The first bed bugs were discovered about two weeks ago.  As soon as the bugs were discovered, the school staff went to work dealing with the problem.

Earlier this week, a second bed bug was discovered in another classroom.

Clearly, this has parents concerned.  Some have even gone as far as keeping their children home over concerns that the bugs may hitch a ride home with their kids.  According to the article, other parents have expressed concerns that, because all the kids ride the same buses, some of high school students may pick up the pests from the elementary kids.

According to WebMD, bed bugs are small, oval, insects that live off the blood of humans or animals.

The site describes them as having:

flat bodies about the size of an apple seed. After feeding, however, their bodies swell and are a reddish color.

While the bugs do not fly, they can move fast over the ground or walls.  And, because the eggs of the insect are tiny, it is very difficult to get rid of them.

A nocturnal insect, they often feed while their victims are asleep.

According to the WebMD site, some of the tricks for getting rid of them including washing bedding and clothing.  You should also vacuum the area around your bed and immediately get rid of the vacuum bag.  And, because the bed bugs can live up to a year without feeding, you should seal up your mattress (in a tightly woven bag) for at least a year.

With regard to the infestation at the school, the RSU administration plans to deep clean the school during the winter break.

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