Bed Bug Infestations On The Rise In Hospitals & Other Healthcare Facilities

Dealing with a bed bug infestation is already a total drag. It’s inconvenient. It’s itchy. And it can be very expensive and time-consuming to treat.

However, when you are laid up in a hospital, you’re already dealing with discomfort. You’re stuck with an IV, you’re eating awful food, the beds feel like they’re made of nails, and presumably, you’re sick or injured. The only thing that could really make your stay at the hospital worse, would be to discover that your room has a bed bug infestation. The very place that is supposed to be most hygienic and safe, is actually crawling with bed bugs that have latched onto you and your stuff, ready to follow you home.

Sadly, this is the reality for thousands leaving hospitals every day. Across North America, bed bug infestations have been steadily on the rise, and they likely won’t be disappearing any time soon.

Bed Bugs By The Numbers

A study by the National Pest Management Association found a staggering jump in bed bug infestations contaminating healthcare facilities between 2013 and 2015. There was a 12% increase in bed bug infestations in nursing homes, a 3% increase in hospitals, and a 7% increase in doctor’s offices.

Another study done by a pest control provider found an even larger increase, at a shocking 388% in the number of bed bug services conducted in healthcare facilities between 2013 and 2016.

While this report was conducted a while ago, it’s likely these figures have just continued to increase, based on the previous pattern.

Bed Bug Infestations At Hospitals In Canada

Back in 2012, Hamilton, Ontario dealt with 10 cases of bed bugs at their Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) hospital network. Three cases were also reported at St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton.1

These discoveries really aren’t shocking when you consider the fact that bed bugs seem to exist just about everywhere. College dorms, movie theatres, taxis, libraries and more.

However, treating bed bug infestations in a hospital or healthcare facility can be more complex than when treating infestations in a residence. Unfortunately, a bed bug infestation can cause financial losses and permanently damage public reputation. Any business that is dealing with a pest infestation is seen as dirty or unhygienic by many, and having your hospital seen as unhygienic is never a good thing. Therefore, bed bug infestations can harm hospitals far beyond the simple annoyance of itchy bed bug bites.

What’s Causing The Increase In Healthcare-Related Bed Bug Infestations?

Bed bugs normally get into hospitals through three different routes: emergency situations where people are brought to the hospital by ambulance, from patients’ clothes or from patient’s visitors.

Higher patient turnover means that the chance for bed bugs to enter the hospital grows. It’s a simple numbers game. The more patients and visitors that come in and out of the hospital, the more likely it is that one of those people is currently dealing with a bed bug infestation, knowingly or unknowingly.

Interestingly, there are more service calls to treat hospitals and other healthcare facilities in December, coinciding with a higher number of inpatients due to seasonal illnesses. This further proves that higher patient turnover raises the rate of bed bug infestations.

Signs Of Bed Bugs In A Hospital:

  • Bed bug feces looks like marker stains. They can be found on mattresses, box springs, bedding, or other soft furniture.
  • You’ll find dead bed bugs or cast skins in mattress seams and box springs.
  • Keep an eye out for tiny-but-still-visible bed bug eggs. They are white with a pearly sheen and found in clusters.
  • Bed bugs are found in a hospital’s sleeping or resting areas.
  • Break rooms, lounges, reception areas, and lobbies with soft furniture are welcome homes to bed bugs because of each area’s high foot traffic.

5 Tips To Prevent Bed Bug Infestations At Your Healthcare Facility

1. Properly Train Triage Nurses & Receptionists

Triage nurses and receptionists are present in every point of entry. Therefore, training them to recognize the signs of bed bugs or bed bug bites is a good idea. This will help prevent an infestation from literally walking through your doors. However, it’s important to note that you cannot deny treatment to someone with bed bugs. You just need to quickly isolate the patient and their belongings.

2. Choose Furniture That Doesn’t Help An Infestation To Spread

Avoid wood furniture in lobbies, waiting rooms and cafeterias. Additionally, using plastic encasements for pillows and mattresses will lessen the chance of potential outbreaks. Healthcare facilities should remove all fabric-based chairs, especially in emergency rooms, rest areas, lobbies and the cafeteria, since these spaces have a high turnover of people.

3. Assign A Team To Deal With An Infestation

Gather a team or committee that is well versed on what to do when bed bugs are discovered. This team will be in charge of terminating bed bugs quickly, to prevent infestations. Hire a pest control expert to train this team on what they should look out for and proper protocols. If bed bugs are spotted anywhere on the property, make this team the first call. The second call should be to professional bed bug exterminators should you have any doubt that the bed bugs had a chance to spread.  

4. Book Scheduled Bed Bug Inspections

Organizing regular inspections from pest control services is a proactive measure that can squash a bedbug outbreak in its tracks. Quickly discover and terminate bed bug infestations by getting regular inspections done. This mitigates the damage it can do to your business, reputation and patrons.

5. Obtain A Comprehensive Guide From Your Bed Bug Inspector

When your bed bug inspector comes to check out your business, ask them for advice. This allows you to implement proper daily bed bug protocols. Therefore, limiting your chances of experiencing a full-on bed bug infestation.  

How Terminix Canada Helps Keep Your Business Free From Bed Bug Infestations

Terminix Canada’s team of professional bed bug exterminators can help you stop a bed bug infestation in its tracks. We offer bed bug removal, control and prevention services to both residential homes and businesses. Whether you’re in Vancouver, Toronto, Nova Scotia or anywhere in between, we can help! Our pest control experts service medical facilities, office buildings, restaurants, shopping malls and more. If you need pest control in your healthcare building, it’s time to call in the experts at Terminix Canada.

Find your local Terminix Canada branch here. Give us a call today to treat your pest infestation, whether it’s bed bugs, ants, or cockroaches.