Signs of bedbugs were discovered in a cabin several Lake County Middle School eighth-grade students were staying in during a trip to the Keystone Science School.

One bedbug was discovered sometime on Wednesday, April 16, as the students were preparing to leave the school and head back to Leadville.

Annemarie Duel, an eighth-grader at the middle school, said the students had all piled their luggage together as they prepared to leave the school. Then, she said, several science-school staff members separated the luggage of four students and sealed them in plastic.

The sealed luggage belonged to four students who had roomed together during the trip. Annemarie said the students were not told why the luggage was separated and sealed away.

Overall, just a single bedbug was found in the cabin, Ellen Reid, executive director of the Keystone Science School, said.

The bedbug was discovered because a few of the students received bedbug bites during the trips.

While bedbug bites can be irritating, they don’t pose a risk to health because the bugs don’t carry diseases.

“They’re just annoying,” Lake County Director of Public Health Colleen Nielsen said.

The Lake County Public Health Agency will not be conducting an investigation into the incident. Bedbug outbreaks are not generally investigated because they are not considered a risk to public health, Lake County Health Director Colleen Nielsen said.

Bedbugs can be found pretty much wherever there is blood and are not a sign of dirty conditions, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Parents were notified via an automated phone message at about 4:30 p.m. that day, Stephanie Duel, Annemarie’s mother, said. Duel expressed concern about the way the situation was handled because students carried their bags around the school and to home without knowing about the bedbug situation.

Another parent, LeAnn Martinez, also expressed concern about the bus the students were riding on. Her son was not on the field trip because he is a seventh-grader, but he rides that bus to and from school, she said.

“I’m not sending my son back to school until this is cleaned up,” she said on Thursday.

Lake County School District Superintendent Wendy Wyman said the district did not learn about the bed bug issue until it received a call from the science school near the end of the day.

“As soon as we found out, we sent a call out,” Wyman said. An email with information about bedbugs was also sent out to eighth-grade families, Wyman said.

Reid told the Herald that the science school moved as quickly as it could once the bites were discovered. A pest-control company was on site within four hours and had made a conclusion in another 30 minutes. Within 20 minutes of the conclusion, the science school had contacted the school district.

The district called Orkin Pest Control and had the school inspected Thursday after school, Wyman said on Friday.

(2) comments

Andrea Steiner

And kudos to the mom who is not sending her son back until this is resolved - she might be the only bright bulb there!

And Ms. Nielsen..."While bedbug bites can be irritating, they don’t pose a risk to health because the bugs don’t carry diseases." and you're the Director of Public Health? How would you like a few bedbug bites on your body?

Andrea Steiner

For the Exec. Dir. of Keystone School Ms. Reed to make a statement that there was "just a single bedbug was found in the cabin", is so misleading and unprofessional never mind those four 8th grade students that were singled out. There is NO such thing as "just a single bedbug". DOES Ms. Reed and the School District have any idea of the stigma that is attached to bed bugs and the pain and suffering those four students will have throughout their life?

If “just” one female bedbug lays 3 egss per day – with 90% mortality – after 6 months there will be more than 16,000 bedbugs. So don’t dare say “just one” and down play this. This is an open case.

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