PANAMA CITY, FLA. (WMBB) — A bus in the Bay District School system was found crawling with cockroaches, by a maintenance worker. Once the worker entered the bus, there was an empty soda bottle in the trash, that school administrators said was likely in the trash since school ended.
“One of the things that happen with roaches is they produce a pheromone,” Michael Carter, the Bay Districts Transportation Director said. “And if they find food, and produce that pheromone then it basically alerts other roaches hey here’s some dinner lets go. And so we wound up with quite a few roaches in there.”
Cockroaches are a regular occurrence on school buses, Carter said. Due to the warm climate, roaches can quickly flock to a school bus if there is food or drinks left on the bus.
“Let’s say over the weekend maybe a backpack is left on the bus,” Carter said. “And maybe that backpack contains some food items. Yeah you could have roaches show up over the weekend. The protocol in that case is, we call for a spare bus.”
To prevent infestations, BDS expects bus drivers to empty trash cans at the end of each day. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Bay District Schools has implemented further cleaning of buses, Josh Balkom, Executive Director of Operational Support Services said.
“Drivers and professionals that work on our buses are human and make mistakes and forget to do that,” Balkom said. “And sometimes that creates issues that we have to resolve.”
However, Bay District Schools has plans in place if a bus is infested with insects like roaches.
Once the insects are discovered, a spare bus is used to bus students to and from school, while the infested bus is ‘cockroach bombed’. It takes about 24 hours to completely rid the bus of cockroaches, Carter said.