Commercial Pest Control: Healthcare Facilities

  • Written by: Killingsworth Environmental
  • January 09, 2019

Why Your Healthcare Facility Needs Pest Control

Hospitals and other healthcare facilities are among the cleanest facilities you can find–or so we hope! A facility where people go to recover from injuries, fight off diseases and to regain strength should be held to an incredibly high standard of cleanliness. That means no pests!

Without proper sanitation and careful maintenance, healthcare facilities like hospitals, nursing homes and doctor’s offices could be in big trouble when it comes to pest infestation. We’re here to share everything there is to know about pest control from the common pests found in healthcare facilities to prevention and control tips. Let’s get started!

Entry Points for Pests in Healthcare Facilities

Because hospitals and healthcare facilities are typically large areas with lots of foot traffic, there are many ways that pests can find their way in:

From immediate surroundings people who come in and out of the facility, and through clothing, food, flowers, etc.

Doorways that open and close all day

Poorly functioning plumbing and ventilation systems

Small holes in the roof or around the exterior

Pests That Pose a Threat to Healthcare Facilities

The biggest, and certainly most obvious, reason that your healthcare facility needs pest control is simply that pests are dirty. And not just dirt and mud dirty–disease-ridden dirty. People go to the hospital to be cared for and to heal–not to get sick. Let’s take a look at the most common types of pests found in hospitals and healthcare facilities.

It’s no secret that all different types of pests carry all different types of diseases.

Cockroaches

Cockroaches are the clutter-loving, moisture seeking pests that we all love to hate. They carry 33 different kinds of bacteria, six types of parasitic worms and seven other human pathogens. Exactly the type of stuff you don’t want in a hospital or doctor’s office. In healthcare facilities, these pests are typically found in break rooms, janitor closets, food service and vending machine areas, and drainage areas.

What’s more–cockroaches also multiply like crazy. A female will produce, on average, around 150 eggs in her lifetime. So if you spot one cockroach roaming around your facility, you can be sure that there’s more where he came from! In addition to their extreme reproduction rates and abundance of potential diseases, cockroaches are also known to agitate asthma and indoor allergy symptoms, so it’s best to prevent them long before they find their way in.

Rodents

Rodents, such as mice, squirrels and rats, are some of the most disease-ridden pests you can find. Because they’re larger than other pests, rodents tend to eat a lot more. They’ll gnaw through things like packaging, walls, products and equipment to any and all food sources. And because healthcare facilities tend to be high-traffic areas, rodents can easily enter through doors that are constantly opening and closing.

Though rodents carry many diseases such as rabbis, lassa fever, and hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, their diseases aren’t the only thing that poses a threat to healthcare facilities. Rodents can also cause significant structural damage. And what’s more–they also leave behind some significant (and highly unsanitary) droppings. Yuck!

Ants

A specific species of ants that are the most common (and the most threatening) to healthcare facilities are Pharaoh ants. Pharaoh ants are segmented, yellowish brown pests that carry diseases like salmonella and Streptococcus Pyogenes.

These ants can gnaw through anything from silk, rayon, rubber goods like doctors gloves. These ants are also extremely persistent and attracted to anything sweet. In hospitals, these ants have been found in I.V. glucose solutions, sealed packs of sterile dressing, soft drinks, water pitchers and even surgical wounds.

Flies

Flies are a fairly common pest for any facility, home, restaurant, etc. And although they seem harmless, they can actually be very dangerous to humans–especially sick ones. Flies carry more than 100 kinds of disease-causing pathogens. These pathogens can be spread when a fly lands or defecates on any surface.

Fly diseases include E. Coli, Anthrax, Food Poisoning, Cholera, Conjunctivitis, and Typhoid fever. In healthcare facilities, these diseases can be spread through one of two ways: feces/vomit and bites. When flies come into direct contact with surfaces they excrete bodily fluids that leave behind pathogens.

Otherwise, flies are known to bite humans, breaking the skin and transferring those pathogens transdermally. Whichever way you look at it, flies are a no-no for hospital sanitation.

Birds

Healthcare facilities, especially hospitals, typically have large, flat roofs that make the perfect home for birds. Though birds probably don’t immediately come to mind when we think of annoying pests, they pose quite a large threat to healthcare facilities. Nesting materials and droppings that birds leave on top of buildings are what makes these pests a threat to the safety and sanitation of hospitals. Even their feathers carry some nasty diseases, so it’s best to keep these guys away from your facilities as best you can.

Pest Prevention Tips for Hospitals

Close and monitor entrances wherever possible

A high traffic environment means lots of opening and closing doors. Try to monitor this by keeping doors closed as much as possible and designing them to keep out flying insects like flies. Likewise, be sure to put screens on windows..

Inspect the building’s exterior routinely.

Small cracks and holes on the roof or the exterior are great entry points for pests. Be sure to get your facility inspected by a professional at least once a year.

Keep an eye on your trash

Pests feed on food and other matter of trash. Any access to food is enough to invite these guys in, so be sure to empty trash cans daily and keep them closed at all times.

Keep surfaces clean

Not only do the dirt and germs on surfaces attract pests, they also allow diseases to spread. If a pest makes its way to a dirty surface, you can be sure it’s picking up those germs and spreading them throughout the rest of your facility.

Healthcare facilities are meant to cure diseases and sicknesses, not spread them. It’s easy to overlook pest control in places like hospitals and doctors offices but it’s imperative that to remain vigilant. Just one tiny entry point could end up being responsible for a full-blown pest infestation.

If you’re in need of commercial pest control for your facility, look no further than Killingsworth Environmental. At Killingsworth, we use an environmentally friendly approach to manage the pests that can pose a danger to your facility through very specific service protocols. Once we have determined which services provide the greatest protection for your facility, we implement them with documentation and trend reporting for your records. Our response time is minimal and effective in addressing your concerns.

To learn more about our unique approach to pest and wildlife control download our free guide, The Killingsworth Way, today.

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