In May, many schools are dealing with various bugs as the spring season gets warmer. So, for this month’s Ask Nancy, we look at questions about Pest Control for Schools and how to handle Bee Stings.


Our schools wants to deal with pesky bugs like ants and spiders while staying beneficial to the environment. Does DOH had any info about things schools can do to address these pests safely?  


Nancy says:

Schools should learn about Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

The Urban Pesticide Education Strategy Team (UPEST) provides information and resources on the WSU School IPM website ( There are links to management of numerous pests, available workshops and trainings, model school IPM programs in Washington State, information on obtaining IPM STAR Certification, WA law on pesticide notification for schools and daycares, and guidance for hiring a pest management professional. 

The Pest Press are an excellent resource for teachers and staff, articles are archived on the site and have editions on Bees, Bed Bugs, Rats and Mice in Schools; Bees, Wasps and Yellowjackets; “Sugar” Ants, Drain Flies, Nuisance Birds, Spiders, Mosquitoes, Food in the Classroom, Pest-Proofing (Before School Break), etc.

The Pest Press are the best source of information on bees and ants. Each one has a “what you can do” piece that you can use.


What can schools do to stop ants and fruit flies from getting into our classrooms?

Nancy says:

The key to pest control is to eliminate harborage, food, and water and to use caulking and screening to keep pests out. Quarter inch hardware cloth should cover all vent opening where birds and rodents could enter. Door sweeps are critical! Keep vegetation off of buildings. Clutter control is important to good cleaning and pest control.

Using good IPM will reduce the need for pesticides that can cause harm to students and staff.



What is the best way to handle bee stings – especially if someone doesn’t think they have been stun before?

Nancy says:

For bites or stings from Bees, Insects, Spiders, Ticks, the DOH outlines the following:

*Call 911 if you know the bite is from a black widow or brown recluse spider. Call 911 if the student struggles to breathe or if the student is known to have severe allergic reactions. Students with severe allergies should have an emergency care plan for taking medications and dealing with severe symptoms. Follow the plan. Have someone notify the school nurse, if available.

First Aid:

• Move the student to a safe area.

• If insects are on or in the clothing, remove clothing to prevent additional stings or bites.

• Watch the student carefully for allergic reactions to insect stings.

• Keep the student calm and quiet and keep the student from moving around.

• Put on non-latex disposable gloves.

• Remove the body and stinger of an insect, but do not squeeze.

• Scrape it out with a credit card, driver’s license or similar stiff card.

• Caterpillar spines can be removed using the sticky side of tape.

• If possible, capture the spider, tick or insect for identification.

• Use tweezers to pull out a tick. Grasp the tick’s body as close to the student’s skin as possible with the tweezers and lift it in the direction it entered making a “tent” in the skin’s surface. Hold it there until the tick lets go. This may take several seconds. Do not twist or jerk it out.

• Wash the bitten area with soap and water.

• Apply a sterile dressing or band-aid as needed.

• To reduce pain and swelling, place a cold pack wrapped in a cloth over the bitten area.

• Keep area elevated above the heart.

• If the student becomes unresponsive and stops breathing, begin CPR and call 911.

• Inform the student’s parent or legal guardian. Advise them to consult with their healthcare provider.