Why Pest Control Maintenance Is Crucial for Care Homes

All care homes need a robust and reliable pest control service. This is absolutely vital and it’s not because care homes are more attractive to pest species than any other type of building or establishment. Rather, it is because they are home to already-vulnerable people – often with pre-existing health problems – who have increased susceptibility to the stress caused and the diseases spread by the presence of pests.

All care home proprietors have a duty of care to ensure the health and well being of residents. Many pest species – including rodents and cockroaches – are carriers of a number of seriously infectious bacteria and diseases. This poses a serious threat to care homes where people who are ill or infirm reside.

To eliminate the health risks imposed by pests, care home proprietors need to enlist pest control service professionals to ensure their establishments are kept pest-free at all times.

Pest Species that Threaten Care Homes

Healthcare facilities have a statutory responsibility to take appropriate pest control measures to prevent infestations. There are three main types of pests that pose an ongoing threat to such establishments. These are mice and rats, cockroaches and bed bugs. Below, we consider each in turn and the health risks and problems they cause.

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Rats and Mice

Both rats and mice carry a wide range of bacteria and viruses, as well as parasites. Should an infestation of either species take hold in your care home, they present a serious health hazard.

The dangerous diseases associated with rats and mice include salmonellosis, Weil’s disease and hantavirus.

A new study last year found that house mice also carry potentially fatal antibiotic-resistant diseases – including E.coli and C. difficile – which could be passed onto humans. The bugs identified in the study were found to be capable of causing gastro-intestinal infections which, in severe cases, can be life-threatening.

The Telegraph quotes Simon Williams, lead author of the research. “Our study raises the possibility that serious infections, including those resistant to antibiotics, may be passed from mice to humans.”

Co-author Professor Ian Lipkin added that although people tend to be more concerned about the health risks associated with rats, mice often pose an even greater risk to environments where people live due to their behaviours and habits. “From a public health vantage point, mice are more worrisome because they live indoors and are more likely to contaminate our environment, even if we don’t see them.”

Signs of infestations include droppings, gnaw marks on food, packaging and building structure, greasy smudge marks along walls and skirting boards, shredded soft materials (paper, cardboard, etc.) and live or dead animals.

Pest control service professionals must be called immediately should any resident, visitor or member of staff spot any of these signs in your care home.


Cockroaches are also carriers of dangerous bacteria, including E. coli and salmonella. They can aggravate the symptoms of those who suffer with asthma.

In addition, cockroaches can pose other health risks to care home residents. Food poisoning is one such risk. Cockroaches eat rotten food and decaying matter. They also crawl around in unsanitary places such as toilets and sewers where they will pick up germs on their bodies and legs. They will then track these germs across food and food preparation surfaces which can lead to food poisoning.

Cockroach droppings and shed skins can also attract various fungi that affect the lungs and eyes. The insects are also known to carry a number of viruses, as well as parasitic organisms such as tapeworms and roundworms.

These all amount to serious health hazards that care home proprietors must deal with through a professional pest control service. Signs of cockroaches include shed skins, faecal pellets, live or dead insects and a lingering, unpleasant odour – often noticeable in store cupboards, behind appliances or under sinks.

Bed Bugs

Although they are not known to carry diseases that pose a direct threat to humans, bed bugs are nonetheless a serious care home pest that can have a detrimental effect on the health and well being of residents.

Bed bugs live in or around beds, emerging at night to bite and feed on the blood of the people sleeping in them. These bites can cause severe itching and irritation, making for uncomfortable nights and a high amount of stress for residents. Bite wounds also carry the risk of secondary infection and even more severe reactions can occur if the person bitten suffers an allergic reaction.

Bed bug infestations can spread quickly in care homes and spiral out of control. This is due to the very nature of such establishments where visitors and care workers regularly walk in and out of rooms. Bed bugs are notoriously good hitchhikers and will cling to clothes, linen and other fabrics and travel from room to room, spreading the infestation.

Tell-tale signs of bed bugs in your care home include reports from residents that they are being bitten in the night. Staff should look for small dark stains on bed linen and mattresses, as well as shed skins and egg casings. Pest control service professionals must be called in immediately should any such signs be detected, to prevent further spread of the infestation.

Care Home Pest Control Service

Professional pest control service contracts are essential for all care home proprietors. The health risks associated with all pest species are severe and must be mitigated to protect the vulnerable people in your care.

At Baroque Pest Services part of Safeguard, we have over 30 years’ experience designing and implementing affordable pest control service solutions for care homes. Our pest control service begins with a free consultation and risk assessment. We will then tailor a contract that suits your care home establishment’s precise needs.

Baroque Pest Services serves all kinds of industries including: Bars, Pubs, Cafés, Restaurants, Hotels and B&Bs, as well as Nursing Homes, Factories, Warehouses and Organic Farms.

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