Skip to main content
Skip to page content
Skip Navigation LinksPennsylvania Department of Health > My Health > School Health > Pests


Aimed at helping people deal with pests safely and effectively, the fact sheets contain information on how to identify pests. Topics include cockroaches, ants, bed bugs, head lice, mice and more, what to do to prevent them, and how to manage them safely using IPM.
Information on school IPM is now easier than ever to access, regardless of the type of electronic device being used, including tablets and smartphones. The website focuses on providing vital information in the school setting for parents,school administrators, staff and pest management professionals.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) does NOT recommend students with bedbugs be removed from school. Bedbugs do not transmit disease and are considered a pest not a health risk. Launder bedding and clothing at high temperatures (at least 113 degrees F for at least one hour) to kill bed bugs. The higher the temperature, the shorter the time needed to kill bed bugs at all life stages. Cold treatments (below zero degrees F for at least four days) can eliminate some infestations. The cold treatment is not commonly recommended in the United States due to lack of research. Use mattress, box spring, and pillow encasements to trap bed bugs and help detect infestations.
Bed Bugs: A Healthy Homes and Integrated Pest Management Perspective for Primary Care Providers This webinar has been developed by the Pennsylvania IPM Program and the National Nursing Centers Consortium. This webinar is eligible for one CME through the American Academy of Family Physicians.
Head Lice
Department of Health regulations (28 PA Code, Chapter 27 Communicable and Non-Communicable Diseases, Section 27.71 Exclusion of children, and staff having contact with children, for specified diseases and infectious conditions) requires that students be excluded if suspected of having live lice. They are to be readmitted to school immediately following the first treatment. A second treatment about a week after the first treatment may be advised. These regulations do not specify that the student is to be excluded immediately.
Following recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the National Association of School Nurses (NASN), "No Nit" policies are not recommended. It is recommended that students with live lice be sent home at the end of the day and contact the parents and provide instruction to treat the student, any affected family members and the home environment. "Because a child with an active head lice infestation had had the infestation for one month or more by the time it is discovered and poses little risk to others from the infestation, he or she should remain in class but be discouraged from close direct head contact with others." (AAP) 
This resource provides an overview of types of lice along with prevention and treatment options. However, it recommends head checks for all students when lice are found in a classroom. This is contradictory to the AAP's clinical guidelines and not current best practice.
Updated: January 2018