Pests can pose serious threats to any healthcare environment – it only takes visible pest activity to degrade your reputation and potentially compromise the health and safety of your patients, employees and visitors.
While Integrated Pest Management (IPM) has become the healthcare industry standard for pest control, the programs can look different in practice depending on the facility. Pests types can vary as well, and each poses unique threats (read the Fundamentals of Healthcare Pest Control to help you understand why your healthcare environment is prone to certain pests and where they could be hiding.)
Working with a pest management professional can also help safeguard your environments with both specialized procedures and protocols designed specifically for hospitals, nursing homes, physicians’ offices and many other healthcare environments.
Armed with the knowledge of why your healthcare setting is susceptible to pest problems and where the potential hot spots are, it’s important to know what to look for. Correctly identifying pests and signs of their presence is a crucial step in addressing them. Stay ahead by being vigilant about inspecting for red flags.
Looking for the telltale signs of pests? Here are just a few indicators of a potential pest infestation in progress.
- If You See: Inky or rust-colored stains or dead bugs in sheets
- You May Have: Bed bugs. After a bed bug feeds, they often leave behind fecal smears. And as they grow or die, they can leave behind cast skins.
- If You See: Droppings
- You May Have: Rodents. Rodents leave behind as many as 50 pellets per day. These droppings, which tend to be capsule-shaped, are most commonly found in areas with high rodent activity like drawers, cupboards and other hidden areas.
- If You See: Patients complaining of bites
- You May Have: Bed bugs or mosquitoes. Bed bugs feed on the blood of humans and can leave behind itchy or irritating bites on the skin. Unlike bed bug bites, mosquitoes can transmit harmful diseases like West Nile virus, dengue fever and malaria with their bites.
All staff should be educated on recognizing and reporting signs of pest activity, no matter how miniscule a problem may seem. Whether it’s noticing rodent droppings or one cockroach in the kitchen, these red flags could symbolize an underlying or potentially growing pest problem, so report them immediately.
On the lookout for even more pest symptoms? Download our authoritative guide, Fundamentals of Healthcare Pest Control, to help manage bed bugs, cockroaches and other pests that could infest your healthcare environment.
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