Officials close Redford High School gym for bedbugs

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

Redford Union School District has shut down its high school’s gym because of bedbugs, officials said Wednesday.

They also said the critters have not infested the school.

Bedbugs can survive extreme heat and cold.

“There were two bedbug sightings in the gymnasium at Redford Union High School,” Adrienne Lenhoff, a spokeswoman for the school system, said in a statement. “The gym was treated twice and will remain closed until further notice.”

An extermination company hired by the district has recommended the gym remain closed for up to five days, she also said.

The high school is near Beech Daly and Six Mile in Redford.

Bedbugs are oval-shaped insects with flat bodies that are reddish-brown in color. They typically don’t get bigger than about a quarter-inch in length and can hide in clothing, luggage, bedding and mattresses.

The insects have piercing, sucking mouth parts to feed on the blood of humans. Most are unaware when bedbugs feed on them since their saliva has agents that desensitize the skin around bites. Their bites can turn into itchy welts.

They have sensors that detect heat and carbon dioxide to find meals and use antennae and mouths to smell hosts.

Bedbugs can survive in temperatures as high as 120 degrees or as low as 32 degrees, or freezing. They’ve also been known to live for up to a year without feeding and are resistant to the most common pesticides.

Lenhoff said the district is committed to safeguarding its students’ health and safety.

She said it is also working with the Wayne County Health Department to address the problem.

Maureen Franklin, the department’s environmental health director, praised the district for its actions to combat bedbugs.

“The Redford Union School District has taken a proactive approach to educate families on how to eliminate bedbugs and prevent introduction into school buildings,” she said in a statement. “They have reacted promptly to address areas where insects are thought to have been observed. They have communicated with families when reports of suspected activity were received and have a Certified Pest Control company that specializes in bedbug elimination working within District to effectively treat areas.

“At this point, the Wayne County HVCW Environmental Wellness is satisfied that there is no bedbug infestation at Redford Union High School.”