A movement is sweeping across Florida right now, and it’s not a good one. The epidemic of bedbugs continues to grow in some unlikely places, including senior living communities. This surge of creepy crawly activity has revealed that the bed bug, a small, brown, parasitic bug that feasts on human blood, has now developed a taste for senior living centers across Florida, leaving residents at a loss for what to do.
Bedbugs need to be introduced into an environment, and once they have had a point of entry, it becomes very difficult to eradicate them without the help of professionals. Hitchhiking on items such as clothing, furniture, bedding, and other personal items, they take up residence in homes, apartment complexes, and senior living communities. Seniors, in particular, have a difficult time coexisting with these pests for even a short time, due to the fact that many are homebound and bedridden.
What makes senior living facilities so attractive to the bedbug?
Bedbug infestations have grown in senior living communities for several reasons:
1. Close living quarters--In many senior living communities, neighbors are just doors from each other, and bugs are easily transported from place to place as seniors travel from room to room, hit up common areas, and do activities together.
2. Increased resistance to bites--Many seniors do not realize that there is a problem due to their increased resistance to bites, poor eyesight, and diminished response to bites because of medications that they are taking. In many cases, a full-blown infestation has been in place for months before other residents realize that there is a problem.
3. Seniors are more social---in many senior living communities, there is an advocacy for increased socialization; seniors are encouraged to connect and interact with one another through book circles, movie nights, card games, and other activities. In these interactions, it is quite easy for bugs to travel from host to host, infecting new environments with each activity.
Anytime that people live in close quarters with one another, there is potential for large scale infestation to occur. Keeping track of bedbug activity before small problems become whole community issues is key to making sure that apartment buildings, community centers, and senior living facilities stay clean and unscathed.
How do we know if we’ve been infested?
There are telltale signs that a bedbug infestation has taken over your living community, but you must be vigilant about looking out for these signs before the problem becomes too big:
● If you wake up with itchy areas of skin that weren’t a problem when you went to sleep, you may have bedbugs. Look for red welts and small bite marks on the skin in these areas; report any suspicious skin issues to senior living employees to make sure they can assess the problem correctly.
● Blood stains on clothing, sheets, and pillowcases are an indicator of bedbug activity.
● The presence of dark, rust-colored excrement on the walls, furniture, and bedding of your living space means that you are sharing quarters with these pests.
● Eggshell residue, bug skins, and other things left behind indicating bedbug activity are a dead giveaway that you have an infestation on your hands.
● The presence of an offensive, musty odor put off by the bugs is proof that you need to call an exterminator for a professional assessment.
If you have any combination of the above symptoms, or if you have neighbors complaining of similar issues, it’s important to call an exterminator to help you correctly deal with your pest problem.
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