CONCORD — Camp Spaulding, a co-ed residential summer camp operated by Child and Family Service, is closing today for the season, so the entire camp can be treated to get rid of bed bugs.
Child and Family Services spokesperson Kat Strange said bed bugs were found in two cabins last week and boys in those cabins were relocated and the cabins treated at the 55-acre camp off Bog Road in the Penacook section of the city.
But, after consulting with pest control experts and the Concord Health Department, Strange said: “We had to make a difficult decision.”
That decision was to cancel the remaining three session and do a thorough treatment of the camp, sealing floors and walls, steam cleaning surfaces and replacing bed frames and mattresses.
“We know how much camp means to these kids,” said Strange. “It’s heartbreaking.”
She said today is the last day of the first session, so parents were notified of the situation, by phone, mail and email, and told they could pick up their children early if they so desired.
Strange said when the word went out, administrators at other camps called and asked what they could do to help and everyone, especially the counselors, are working to find slots at other camps for the children who were scheduled to attend Camp Spaulding’s remaining three sessions.
About 300 youngsters are affected by the decision.
Strange said parents will be reimbursed for the canceled sessions and said the organization understands that the cancelation may cause child care and other problems for families and will try to help with those issues.
Strange said pest control companies have told her organization that they are used to treating summer camps during the camping season, as bed bug infestations are a growing problem in housing and hotels, and, now camps, as the insects have developed immunities to insecticides.
A spokesperson for Freedom Pest Control, in Topsfield, Mass., said the company does treat camps as well as homes and other sites, but said Child and Family Services’ decision to cancel the rest of the sessions might not have been necessary to allow for effective treatment. But if this was a first experience with an infestation, she could appreciate the concern.