This summer, campers hoping to attend Camp Spaulding in Penacook, New Hampshire will be disappointed to hear that all future sessions have been cancelled owing to a bed bug infestation.
During the camp’s first two week session, which started June 30, boys in one cabin immediately began complaining about itchy skin. Counselors were able to fairly quickly identify the perpetrators as bed bugs.
Staff moved the boys out of the infected bunk, sanitized their bedding and other belongings, and moved to clean the cabin. However, the next day bed bugs were found in yet another bunk. The camp repeated the moving out process, and called in a pest control service.
It then became clear that the problem was larger than just one cabin. The pest control service found that “active bugs or evidence of eggs or past bugs” were present in 10 different cabins. The Concord Health Department was brought in, and their recommendations led Camp Spaulding to make the choice to cancel future sessions.
Although parents of the current session were allowed to pick up their children early if they chose, no one took up the offer, according to Child and Family Services of New Hampshire COO Maria Gagnon. CFS runs the camp. The camp realizes that the change can be inconveniencing to parents, but thought it was in the best interest, ultimately, of attending children and their families.
“Bed bugs thrive in the summer heat — and in some of the most unlikely places, too,” explains Richard Halbach, President of Thermination Technology, a company that specializes in bedbug elimination. “Once there’s a sizable population established, they’re almost impossible to get rid of without professional assistance.”
Bed bugs are a nuisance, but pose no real danger — unlike mosquitoes, they don’t carry disease. This year, Camp Spaulding had a new pest control service, JP Chemical Pest Management Services. JP Services told them that the bugs were present for several years, and that the facilities were not “pest free” as the last company had promised.
The cost of eliminating the pests could be as high as $10,000 since the cabins and bunk beds are wooden — an environment especially appealing to bed bugs.
“Heat treatment of bed bugs is usually the most effective method to kill all be bugs within a room. If done properly it not only treats the room but all of its contents,” recommends Halbach.