With all the attention paid to sanitation and hygiene in healthcare facilities, you might wonder how pests get inside in the first place. While cleanliness does play a role in keeping pests at bay, it isn’t the only factor. Pests can be present in clean environments, and even the most spotless healthcare facilities aren’t immune to infestations.
One of the most effective methods used to control pests is to keep them from entering your facility in the first place. Knowing how pests might sneak into your healthcare facility and what steps you can take to help keep them out can help you stop infestations before they start.
The Ins And Outs of Pests
How pests can get in: Through open doors and windows.
How you can help keep pests out: Keep exterior doors closed as much as possible, and consider installing doors that automatically shut after people enter and exit buildings. Do not allow exterior doors to be propped open. Check window and door weather stripping for cracks and deterioration and install door sweeps. Make sure all windows have well-fitted screens that are in good condition. Have grass mowed, trees trimmed and shrubbery moved away from entrances and buildings, and keep landscape mulch under 2 inches in thickness and 12 inches away from structure foundations. Garbage containers should be tightly sealed and stored well away from buildings and doorways.
How pests can get in: Through cracks, crevices and holes. Arthropods such as spiders and other insects can get in tiny cracks and crevices. Mice can enter holes as small as a dime and rats can get in holes as small as a quarter.
How you can help keep pests out: Regularly inspect structures and foundations for openings. Seal all cracks and crevices, including openings for plumbing pipes and electrical connections. Cover vents, and close any gaps in walls and roof surfaces. Have all plumbing, drainage and roof leaks repaired immediately. Have all building voids, such as attics, basements and crawl spaces checked for moisture that can attract and harbor pests. Eliminate or minimize places where exterior wood meets soil.
How pests can get in: On and in deliveries
How you can help keep pests out: Inspect all deliveries as soon as they arrive for pests or pest damage. If delivered packages are damaged when they arrive, send them back to the vendor immediately. Pay special attention to packages containing food items and to cardboard boxes. Store all food items or containers on shelves that are off the floor. Regularly inspect food products and packaging for stored product pests.
How pests can get in: On patient’s belongings
How you can help keep pests out: Be alert to the possibility of pests coming in on patient clothing and belongings. If patients change into gowns, bag and seal personal items if pest activity is suspected. It’s recommended that your facility has a program in place to address how to handle items that may have pests to limit this possibility.
How they can get in: On flowers and plants
How you can help keep them out: Inspect floral deliveries and decorative plants for active pests or signs of pests. Look on the underside of plants, flowers, leaves and their containers for pests. Ask your pest control provider to help you train your staff to be alert to early signs of pest infestations in patient rooms.
How to Control Pests That Get in Anyway
In spite of your best efforts, pests may already be in your healthcare facility. That’s one reason why it’s important to have a commercial pest control partner on your side. Terminix® Commercial understands the special needs and requirements of healthcare facilities, including federal regulations and health code compliance. To find out more about helping protect your facility and your patients from pests with a commercial pest control plan, request a free estimate today.