Explore - Summer 2013 - (Page 6)
t of your facility
Keeping bed bugs o
By Ron Harrison, Ph.D.
hicago and the Midwest have received a lot of attention lately for bed bug activity, but the Windy City isn’t
the only city under attack from these bloodsuckers.
Earlier this year, Orkin released its rankings of the
top bed-bug infested U.S. cities in order of the number of bedbug treatments performed. Chicago took
the top spot, followed by Detroit, Los Angeles, Denver, Cincinnati,
and Columbus, Ohio, but bed bugs are on the rise nationwide. In
fact, at Orkin we saw our bed bug treatments increase a third from
2011 to 2012.
After surveying the entire country, we found that bed bugs are
certainly active in the Midwest and Northeast—cities in these areas
6 www.ahe.org I EXPLORE I Summer 2013
claim 14 of the top 20 spots on our list—and
that trend has continued so far this year. Colder
temperatures and different climates may be factors,
but there is no hard scientific answer as to why many bed
bugs are targeting areas above the Mason-Dixon Line east
of the Mississippi River. Some feel that the core temperature
and humidity inside a building play a role, and in different
areas of the country, interior temperatures vary depending
on the climate outside.
Nevertheless, we do know a lot about these resurgent creatures.
Like many pests, they are nocturnal, prolific breeders that can
spread through a facility fast and travel along with humans to
new destinations. But unlike other insects such as cockroaches,
which survive and thrive in locations with poor sanitation, bed
bugs can overrun facilities from hotels to hospitals that have
the most stringent sanitation practices. No matter how clean
or well-maintained your facility is, it can still be at risk.
Bed bugs seeking a blood meal are attracted to their human
hosts at night and then disappear into cracks and crevices,
behind picture frames, bed frames, baseboards, and other
areas during the day. Once inside, bed bugs can spread
quickly from room to room on hospital beds and environmental services equipment such as laundry carts.
Treating bed bugs can be a real challenge with dire consequences if the wrong materials and methods are used. As a result,
the healthcare industry must be vigilant in the defense against this
pest and partner with an experienced and knowledgeable pest
management professional to regularly monitor for bed bugs, selecting the appropriate treatment options should an infestation arise.
Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
advised the public of the misuse of pesticides to treat bed bug
infestations. According to the advisory, some pesticides being
applied indoors have been approved only for outdoor use. Even
pesticides that are approved for indoor use must be used by trained
and licensed professionals according to the product label.
The CDC, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the
Association for the Healthcare Environment recommend an
Integrated Pest Management plan to help beat bed bugs. If you
haven’t already done so, talk with your pest management provider
about implementing a proactive monitoring program and putting
together an appropriate action plan to respond to any bed bug
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Explore - Summer 2013
Managing the Engagement Driver
The Crucial Role of the Environment
HCAHPS: Ways to Improve on the Environment Question
AHE News & Updates
Explore - Summer 2013