Bed Bugs, Ants Top List of Healthcare Facility Pest Control Concerns

Survey results released by pest control company Orkin, LLC and the Association for the Healthcare Environment (AHE) reveal that bed bugs are still finding their way into healthcare facilities.

Bed bugs are gifted hitchhikers, explains Greg Baumann, Orkins vice president of training and technical services. It doesnt matter how clean a hospital is, bed bugs can find their way in by hitching a ride on clothing, luggage, inside purses you name it. With that in mind, the focus for healthcare providers has to be vigilant monitoring and early detection.

More than 1 in 4 respondents noted they had experienced bed begs in their facilities. Ants have topped the list for the past three years as the most common problem in healthcare facilities, followed by flies and cockroaches.

Now in its third year, the survey asked more than 150 AHE members about sustainability practices, pest management challenges and job responsibilities weighing most on their minds. The healthcare professionals who responded primarily directors or managers of environmental services indicated an increase of pest problems at their facilities due to the unseasonably warm winter and early onset of spring and summer this year. Specifically an increase in ants, flies and cockroaches were linked to the warm weather.

Respondents indicated a shift in how they see the impact of sustainability, with 92 percent indicating that sustainability in their pest management program was extremely important or important. In 2010, sustainability was least likely to be ranked of high importance when considering pest management providers.

ES professionals are becoming increasingly aware of the advantages that an environmentally-friendly approach like Integrated Pest Management offers, says AHE executive director Patti Costello. IPMs proactive methods focus on sanitation and facility maintenance rather than chemical treatments, offering an increased level of protection for patients and staff.