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Heat Treatment for Bed Bug Elimination in Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities

When you think of bed bugs, you often think of college dorms, campsites and lodging, and of course the at-home cases. However, one of the industries most commonly affected by bed bug infestations is nursing homes and assisted living facilities (ALFs). 

In 2021, bed bug infestations were reported in all 50 states. They can thrive in reputable and clean housing as well as slums. Even many large hotel chains are impacted by bed bugs infestations at some point or another. 

With the constant occupancy of nursing and assisted living facilities, getting a quick and effective treatment set-up is crucial in preventing further spread of an infestation. 

Nursing Homes Are Prime Bed Bug Targets

There are many factors for why nursing homes and ALFs are primary targets for bed bugs. For one, the large concentration of people within one area makes person to person transmission much easier for the pests. 

Nursing homes are also at a severe preventative disadvantage. While hotels and dormitories have periods of mass exodus, allowing for deep cleans of the facilities, nursing homes and ALFs are rarely unoccupied for long periods of time. In fact, many of these facilities have long waiting lists for the next person to move in rapidly.

Because of these quick transactions, a deeper clean of the room and entire facility is often not feasible. These facilities house great potential for bed bug meals from a large number of hosts.    

Bed Bugs, Lawsuits On The Rise

When placing a loved one into a nursing home or assisted living center, the families want to be assured that they will be taken care of and not have to worry about outside factors, such as bed bugs. 

The reality, though, is that bed bug numbers across all living spaces and housing have increased and continue to do so. In fact, the issue has become so apparent that law firms are advertising themselves specifically as “bed bug lawyers” pursuing cases of alleged negligence in hotels, dorms, and nursing homes and ALFs. 

While there are many ways to be proactive, and it does help, there are still going to be unavoidable bed bug issues when operating in this industry. 

Hiring professional exterminators and bed bug experts is key. The primary method they use to treat bed bug problems? Heat treatment. 

How To Prep A Nursing Home For Heat Treatment

Since many nursing and care centers do not have trained pest experts on staff, most of the pest control remediation is hired out. However, there are benefits to conducting heat treatment in-house that may not be so apparent.

Not only will you save money in the long run ($5,000 +), but you can often operate much faster and remedy the pest issue in a much more timely manner with your own or even rented equipment. 

Building materials are a key factor when considering having heat treatment performed for bed bugs. The right materials are necessary to accommodate for a high temperature heat range.

  • Drywall walls/ceiling
  • Indoor/outdoor carpet
  • No exposed concrete
  • Standard 8’ ceiling height
  • Manageable room size – recommend 300 sqft or smaller

How Much Power Is Needed for Heat Treatment Equipment?

The amount of power required is based upon the type of heater the exterminators plan to use.  A simple rule of thumb is that the higher the capacity of the heater, the more power is required.

You can compare the power requirement from Thermal Flow’s line of Bed Bug Remediation Heaters:

180 packagePower requirements = (4) 15 amp circuit breakers/standard wall outlets

300 packagePower Requirements = (5) 15 amp circuit breakers, or (3) 15 amp and (2) 20 amp circuit breakers.

400 package – Power Requirements = (4) 15 amp circuit breakers or (2) 20 amp circuit breakers and (1) 230V outlet

800 package – Power Requirements = 15 Amps/Circuit, (1) total / 120vac

Prep The Area and Residents

While heat treatment is being performed, residents will need to be displaced temporarily. It is always good to have extra unoccupied rooms for occasions such as this. 

Place items and furnishings within the treatment room, spreading them out throughout the space to allow for proper air circulation. Make sure there is no loose clutter that can be subject to air movement. 

The best practice for treating mattresses or box springs would be to separate them and lean up against the wall. Extend recliners and remove cushions from chairs or couches if possible.

The experts at Thermal Flow have also created a Preparation Checklist, that again will help you and your facility to know what to expect with heat treatment.

Preventative maintenance is the best way to control bed bugs and other pest infestations. Being diligent and educating your staff about early warning signs of bed bugs will help your facilities see less issues in the future. 

Planning for Long-Term Bed Bug Prevention

The experts at Thermal Flow have helped many nursing homes and assisted living facilities to create custom treatment solutions to maintain the cleanliness and safety of their buildings. Call or chat with us today to learn more about how to care for your facility and the residents who live there.

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