Group Living Facilities – Bed Bug Solutions

Group living arrangements present a very difficult bed bug treatment scenario. Examples of group living situations considered here include both voluntary and involuntary housing. Voluntary Involuntary Sleep-away camps Prisons Nursing homes Jails Hospitals Parole Housing Assisted Living Residential Treatment Programs Group homes Half-Way Houses Dormitories Treatment Programs The list of facilities that could acquire bed bugs from one single resident is astounding. Bed bugs, to the best of our knowledge, aren’t fussy. Your blood and your house-mate’s blood is equally tasty. Bed bugs are fast movers and excellent hitch-hikers. In group living arrangements, it is not simply the number of residents that compounds the likelihood of infestation. It is the nature of these facilities that group interaction is often recommended, encouraged or even required as a form of therapy or as a measure of success. Therefore, residents of unit A are often in unit B. The furniture from unit A often is moved to unit B. Residents of unit A and B often come together in common areas for dining, entertainment, therapy, cleaning, recreation, visitation. Speaking of visitation, even if none of the residents introduced a bed bug problem, the next visitor may be the culprit. Additionally, these facilities have a high turn-over rate. It would not be uncommon for an alcohol or drug treatment facility with 50 beds to actually treat 250 clients during the year. A alcohol or drug detoxification center might have different occupants every night! Liability is a special concern when managing group living facilities. Please refer to the legal information provided on this website and definitely consult your attorney. Briefly, there is tremendous potential for liability should residents go home with an infestation. Imagine the ramifications should wealthy doctors and lawyers send their children to an exclusive summer camp and come home to infest their estates with bed bugs! In this day and age, it is impossible to guarantee that an infestation will not occur. But what you can guarantee as a facility manager is that:
    1. you are well informed
    1. you have educated your residents and their families
    1. you have a pro-active plan for handling bed bugs
    1. you have a working relationship with a pest control company that specializes in bed bugs
  1. you act quickly and execute your plan when a problem arises
Your plan should include sections dealing with:
    1. residents and their responsibilities
    1. family members and visitors
    1. common use areas
    1. room arrangements
    1. shared furniture
    1. staff training
    1. in-take procedures, inspection of belongings, questionnaires
    1. instructions for residents to avoid acquiring an infestation while away from the facility
    1. pest control company � duties and responsibilities, product and MSDS information
    1. response to statutory requirements
    1. budgeting ahead for bed bug services
    1. insurance requirements
  1. disposal
This list is not exhaustive, but rather suggestive. If you are working or managing a group living facility, welcome to the world of public health. Your residents and the general public rely on you to be well educated, trained and prepared for all emergencies. Be aware that rules and regulations are now being promulgated that set bed bug prevent and treatment standards for group living facilities. See our government section for examples. While bed bugs can hide in extremely unlikely places, a well trained and hard working pest control technician can solve the problem with the timely coordinated cooperation of all parties. Each resident or client will need to supply the pest control inspector with a clear and full accounting of his or her activities that perhaps led to the infestation. The technician will want to know:
    • Have you been traveling and do you plan to travel again? If so, what methods of transportation do you use and where do you stay?
    • Have you had visitors, who stopped along the way at a hotel or motel or used public transportation?
    • Have you been living in any other group homes or group settings?
    • Have any members of your family been in heavily trafficked facilities or public venues?
    • When did the infestation start? What was happening at that time? How long has the infestation continued?
    • Have you been self-treating with non-chemical approaches or with pesticides?
    • Does your family have any special needs or accommodations that would have to be made, particularly for any medical or health problems?
  • Have you switched rooms within the building?
You will need to review your belongings against a list of items to keep or to dispose of according to set procedures so as not to spread the infestation. Are you willing to follow a very detailed protocol in preparation for the treatment? The process is much like packing up and moving, but in this case, you will be making the walls and floors accessible and bagging up anything that will be removed. Items for disposal must be clearly marked as bed bug infested, so that there is no possibility that they will be picked up for second hand use. If you will be disposing of the mattress and box spring, these items must be clearly marked as bed bug infested and not for use. These items will certainly need to be covered and sealed before disposal. It is imperative that they not be removed in a manner that might spread the infestation, such as by dragging. Clothing will need to be bagged and taken to the laundromat at time of treatment and washed in a hot cycle for an extended period of time. Place you clothing directly in the washer. Do not let your clothing linger on the counter. The timing of these activities must coincide with that of the pest service and with all other residents having treatments. If your units are not completely prepared for the treatment, it is unlikely that the pest control technician will provide the service. To do so would invite futility. You should ask and receive a detailed plan of attack by the pest control company. Management must be equally as honest and forthcoming as residents when providing background information regarding the infestation. Has there been other pest control companies treating the infestation? If so, complete information must be provided regarding the time of treatments, the extent of the treatment and materials used. You should review why prior treatments failed. Has staff or residents been self-treating? If so, explain? What manual methods have been used? Has bedding been moved from unit to unit. What has been the process for disposal of infested furniture? Be sure to address how common areas are utilized. Have them inspected. Special prevention and treatment procedures will likely be required for common areas, such as laundry rooms. Management has the arduous task of being sure that all residents are properly informed and prepared for treatment. Clearly, in group living facilities, such as homes for those with mental impairments, there is an extra level of due diligence required for staff. There is no one right way to do a bed bug treatment, but there certainly are wrong ways. First, the work must be extremely thorough. It is wise for the technician to combine different methods and/or tools to accomplish the job. If you do not receive a preparation work sheet, you are contracting with the wrong company. Often more than one service is required and you should be prepared for this likelihood. There are skilled technicians who, though not always, are able to have success in one treatment. A follow up service is highly advisable, if only to monitor the results. Techniques used may involve both chemical and non-chemical treatment methods. Vacuums have been used successfully to remove bed bugs and bed bug egg casings manually. Steamers and more recently freezing devices (Cryonite) have been used effectively to kill bed bugs and bed bug egg casings manually. The difficulty with vacuums, steamers and freezing devices is that direct contact or very close contact is required. That is simply not always possible. Often the bed bug casings adhere so tightly to a surface that vacuums will not remove them or they may be so recessed in a location as to be concealed and inaccessible to treatment. Bed bug treatments tend to utilize large quantities of pesticides, so these non-chemical methods can go a long way to resolving the problem and if not eliminating pesticides, certainly reducing the need. These manual methods are similar to non-residual chemical pyrethroids in that they have no lasting impact against any surviving bedbugs. Among chemical methods, there are a limited but growing number of products labeled for use with bed bugs or for the sites where bed bugs reside. Currently recommended products include Suspend or Cykick for general spray treatment, Gentrol as an insect growth regulator to stop the maturation and reproductive cycle of the insect and PB-300 or PB Fogger to act as a chemical mist that can penetrate the deepest cracks and crevices where bed bugs hide. Dust treatments are excellent around electrical outlets and wall voids. New products with lower toxicities and unique mode of attack such as “non-repellents” are becoming available. Some of the older products used for bed bug treatments are gradually going out of use due to increased pesticide resistance. The combination of chemical products can be a very effective “one-two-three , You�re Out” for bed bugs:
    1. non-residual pervasive immediate kill application, combined with
    1. the insect growth regulator, and
  1. long lasting residual topical spray,
with both latter products having extended capability to eliminate those insects that survive the initial treatment. Whole structure treatments such as fumigation or heat are very effective if the correct amount of gas or heat is applied for the correct length of time, provided that there are also localized and manual methods within the plan to ensure that the infestation does not return. The best bed bug killing fumigation will be pointless if tenants re-infest the building with improperly treated or untreated possessions. Especially in group living facilities, where bedding is often shared, it is highly recommended (and may be legally required) that mattresses and box springs are encased with encasements specially manufactured to prevent bed bugs from escaping. These encasements should not give one a false sense of security. Bed bugs often hide beyond the mattress and box spring. They can be found in the bed frame, under rugs, in a couch or chair, a wall hanging, electrical outlet, a fire sprinkler, really just about anywhere. There are many contradictions, oddities and much creativity that goes into providing a bed bug service. Normally, when you contract for a service, you would go with a company that provides the longest warranty. This may not be recommended. Companies that offer long bed bug warranties may actually be the least educated and the least trained companies for this type of service. Companies that have been working with bed bugs for a long time know how easy it is for living spaces to be re-infested through no fault of their own. If they offer any warranty at all, the terms of the warranty will be very tightly constructed and will require precise participation by the client to achieve good results. Preventative maintenance services for bed bugs are emerging. While these services cannot or should not warranty that there will never be bed bugs, it is possible to pro-actively monitor or treat buildings susceptible to infestations. This could greatly reduce the expense and frequency of remedial treatments for bed bugs. The old adage that you get what you pay for is very true in bed bug service. While the volume of bed bug services and efficiencies rendered may allow for somewhat lower prices, generally speaking, you would be advised to contract with a higher price service, with the proviso that they disclose their protocol for treatment. Low priced services simply will shortcut the treatment, leaving you frustrated by a bill that did not accomplish the task. Do be patient with your contracting pest control service. Do your part. Work together for the best results. There are many professional resources available on the web from reputable organizations. Become informed. Be an educated consumer. Call today at 1-800-986-1006 for help with a bed bug infestation. You’re also welcome to complete the form below and a caring Hearts Pest Management representative will contact you shortly.
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