Bug woes continue at McDowell

Added: Wed, 06/07/2017 - 11:00pm
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Jamie Cameron & Allyson Beauregard

SHAWVILLE – After closing and exterminating the school on May 3 and then conducting a massive clean-up over the May long weekend, the bug infestation problems at McDowell Elementary School are persisting. Several more bites were reported the week of May 29.
After a meeting on June 1 between Jennifer Dubeau, Continuing Education Centre Director, the school's governing board chair, the principal of the school, school board representatives, and representatives from public health, red mites were determined to be the culprit of the problem after an inspection revealed the mites on some window sills and the outside brick of the school.
“These bugs were possibly present in large numbers in the larvae stage and are now actually visible to the eye, although still very miniscule; we have been able to find a few in room 36.  We also collected a soil sample from the ground outside of room 36, which contained mites. Many of the bites are occurring near or around the windows, so we believe this is how the mites are entering the school,” said Dubeau in a newsletter sent to parents.
The Institut national de santé publique approved two products to treat the problem over the weekend of June 3. The first product was diatomaceous earth; a powder-like natural product that was applied in controlled areas around the school.  An insecticidal soap was applied outside the building.
The infestation has taken its toll on school attendance; about a third of students didn't attend classes from May 17-19 after a number of insect bites were reported again after the school was closed and exterminated.
However, Mike Dubeau, Western Quebec School Board Director General, believes the end of the problem is in sight: “I think we are making progress. Our goal is certainly to apply all the controlled measures necessary to solve this problem.”