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Ensure bed bugs don’t have a place in your community

Posted by Dude Solutions Canada, Inc. | Thursday, October 22, 2015

Ensure bed bugs don't have a place in your community For you and your staff, your primary goal is to facilitate the health, well-being, comfort and satisfaction of your residents. However, this simple goal can be utterly foiled by the introduction of unwanted pests into your retirement community.

Pest control is an important part of any facility, but when you're the administrator of a residential community housing dozens of seniors, it takes on a whole new level of importance. Fortunately, with the right knowledge, keeping unwanted visitors out of your residence doesn't have to be challenging. Bed bugs in particular can create maintenance and health hazards, and they tend to be frustratingly resilient to boot. Here are some tips for identifying, eliminating and controlling these pests.

Identifying bed bugs

Out of all the pests that you may have to worry about in your assisted living community, bed bugs may be among the peskiest. While not large or imposing, these tiny blood-suckers can be difficult to detect and even harder to get rid of. Even worse, they're common in hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living facilities due to the high traffic and turnover rates in these types of buildings.

You may suspect a bedbug infestation if you notice staff or residents itching more frequently. If this is the case, inspect affected residents' rooms for telltale signs of the tiny pests. Small black shell casings and dried blood spots on sheets are dead giveaways. While you're not likely to see a bedbug in the flesh, knowing what to look for can help. According to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, bedbugs are brown in color and tend to be about one-quarter-inch long - about the size and general appearance of an apple seed.

Getting rid of the pests

The suggested response to a bed bug infestation may seem overkill, but keep in mind that not only are these pests tough to root out and kill, they can leave eggs behind. If you aren't thorough, these eggs can hatch and undo all of your work.

As soon as you've identified the source of the infestation, seal the area off as much as possible to prevent any spread. Strip down the bedding and wash it in hot water, drying it at a high temperature to kill any bugs caught inside. Afterward, place the linens and pillows in a sealed plastic bag overnight to suffocate any residual bugs that managed to survive the first wave. As for the room itself, anything that you can't wash should be vacuumed extensively. Don't forget to throw the vacuum bag out as soon as you're done vacuuming - eggs that get sucked up can still hatch, leading to another infestation if the bag is sitting around inside your building.

Keeping them out

Getting rid of bed bugs is a pain, so prevention plays an important role in your pest management strategy. ActiveGuard noted that assisted living communities have an easier time with prevention than other types of buildings because resident and staff turnover tends to be lower than in hospitals. However, it's still possible for these unwanted guests to hitchhike their way in on visiting relatives, social workers or other visitors.

Vigilance is likely to be the primary fork in your prevention strategy. Have your skilled nursing staff inspect rooms regularly for signs of these pests. Also pay close attention to residents who display some of the symptoms associated with an infestation. However, keep in mind that around 30 percent of seniors may not react at all to bed bug bites due to issues with their immune systems.

Most importantly, don't overlook key areas. Despite the name, bed bugs don't restrict themselves. Be sure to have your staff check headboards, baseboards, carpeting, blinds, ceiling fans and upholstered furniture for these elusive pests.