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Bed bugs cut short trip for Old Westbury students

A case of bed bugs cut short a Pennsylvania camping trip for 40 students and five teachers of The Wheatley School, camp and school officials said Friday.

Superintendent Lorna Lewis of the East Williston School District said the group returned from the Trail's End Camp in Beach Lake, Pa., on Friday after students in two camp dormitory rooms said they were bitten by bed bugs. A camp spokesman said only one case was confirmed.

The small insects do not transmit disease, but their bites can cause sores, which when scratched can become infected, according to health experts.

Lewis said the decision to leave early was made jointly with school principals and teachers. The students, part of the school's School Within a School program, annually have a trip early in the school year that allows them to bond, Lewis said.

She described the incident as not serious but "we believe we needed to be proactive and bring all the students home."

The group left Thursday and was scheduled to return Saturday evening, Lewis said. The group spent one night at the camp.

Marc Honigfeld, a camp spokesman, called the incident unfortunate. "We work in an environment where kids and families spend weekends with us," he said, "so we are very mindful of the situation."

Honigfeld stressed the camp has been aware of the recent increase of bed bug cases nationally and has an exterminator that treats rooms between visits. He said the camp had one other bed bug case this summer.

The most recent case, he said, was in a room in a dormitory setting.

Honigfeld said the camp, in operation since 1947, is a family-run business with an office in Wantagh. It is located north of Interstate 84 in northwest Pennsylvania, near the New York State border.

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