Bed Bugs in Nursing Homes, a Growing Concern

bed bugs in nursing homesBed bugs are on the rise in the US, and with a high instance of bed bugs being found in nursing homes, this is becoming a growing concern. According to a survey released last spring by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), the percentage of exterminators dealing with bed bugs in nursing homes has also almost doubled since 2010, to 46 percent.

Assisted living facilities, along with other overnight facilities such as Hotels and Hospitals, are prime targets for bed bugs. The more people sleeping under one roof, the greater chance there is for these pests to spread. While bed bugs can make themselves at home in an assisted living facility, anyone who enters the building, including staff and visitors, run the risk of bedbugs hitchhiking home on them.

There are several steps nursing home facilities can take to help reduce the risks of an infestation. Education, prevention and customized action plans are the keys to helping avoid a potential infestation and being able to quickly and effectively eradicate an infestation if it occurs.

The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) offers some valuable tips for nursing facilities.

Be Proactive

  • Develop a written “bed bug action plan” in advance of problems being identified with specific procedures and responsibilities for responding to a bed bug incident.
  •  Institute bed bug prevention measures, particularly in higher-risk areas.
  • Implement a bed bug awareness and education program for all staff and residents

Things to avoid

  • Do not overreact. If bed bugs are discovered, there is rarely the need to close down a facility or even a portion of the facility beyond the immediate area of concern.
  • Do not allow untrained staff to apply insecticides to control bed bugs.
  • Widespread insecticide applications are usually not necessary.
  • Avoid stigmatizing patients, family, or staff, whom you suspect may have brought bed bugs to the site.

Bed Bug Prevention

To avoid new introductions of bed bugs into assisted living facilities and long-term care consider:

  • A bed bug information sheet including information on how to avoid bringing bed bugs into the facility.
  • A prohibition on used or secondhand furniture.
  • A requirement that furniture, luggage, and other personal items be inspected by a professional (or a certified canine bed bug detection dog scent detection team) and declared free of bed bugs, or heat treated or fumigated before coming into the facility.
  • In long-term care and assisted living facilities, regularly vacuum or steam clean areas prone to bed bugs (under and around beds, upholstered furniture, luggage racks, wall/floor junction, etc.)
  • Reduce clutter, seal cracks, crevices and holes near beds, repair or replace peeling wallpaper or paint, and take other actions to reduce bed bug hiding places.
  • Follow good laundry handling practices to prevent the dispersal of bed bugs

Bed Bugs and Beyond Consulting is taking a true proactive approach in protecting nursing facilities against the rising bed bug epidemic with its custom-tailored Beyond Bed Bug Certification.

Our custom program is created to achieve the prevention and/or elimination outcome that business owners and victims have desired since the reintroduction of bed bugs in the United States in early 2004.

Beyond Bed Bug Certification addresses the specific industry challenges/concerns for businesses, while providing them with proactive best practices and custom policy runs books, to be able to promote their business or facility as “Beyond Bed Bugs”.

Beyond Bed Bug Training and Certification includes:  bed bug consulting, employer/employee/resident education and training, best practices, custom policy run book, post treatment prevention and elimination information.

For more information on dealing with bed bugs in Assisted Living Facilities, or to sign up for our Beyond Bed Bug Certification program, contact Bed Bugs and Beyond at 888-410-1333 or visit our website:

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