MARGATE — Almost two dozen parents and teachers attended a school board meeting Wednesday to discuss an item not on the agenda.

A bedbug and several eggs were detected by a staff member of William H. Ross Elementary School at the end of April, and parents were notified of the issue.

Representatives of the pest-control companies Ehrlich and Rentokil North America were at Wednesday’s meeting and explained the situation and how it was remedied.

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Melvin Washington, of Rentokil, said there are multiple ways to address bed bug extermination, including inspection, canine detection, steam remediation and fumigation.

“Bed bugs have been aroud since caveman days,” Washington said, but a resurgence has been seen in their populations in the past six to eight years.

“It’s not about being dirty,” Washington said, adding that it could come from items bought second-hand or at flea markets, which tend to be stored in old warehouses.

The bedbugs, though naturally nocturnal, are attracted to body heat and will come out when they detect it, Washington said. Their bodies are very flat, allowing them to hide in the tiniest of crevices.

They can also last several months without any food.

An ideal climate for bedbugs is 83 to 90 degrees.

Washington said remedies found online can be misleading and false, such as the idea that dryer sheets repel the bugs.

Superintendent Theresa DeFranco said though the issue has been resolved, the district is not taking any chances.

A bedbug-detecting dog will be brought into the school May 17 to further inspect the building. Officials say that if they do discover more bedbugs, they will be exterminated through a heating process, and that no chemicals will be used in the school.

Contact Anjalee Khemlani:


@AnjKhem on Twitter

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Senior copy editor for the Press of Atlantic City. Have worked as a reporter, copy editor and news editor with the paper since 1985. A graduate of the University of Delaware.

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