How Common Are Bedbugs In Assisted Living Facilities?

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional

A common problem in assisted living facilities is the presence of bedbugs. Taking immediate action to get rid of the bedbugs not only protects your loved ones but also other residents within the same facility. Keep on reading to learn how common are bedbugs in assisted living facilities and what are some of the steps you can do to prevent the problem from getting worse.

How Common Are Bedbugs In Assisted Living Facilities
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Is bedbug infestation common in assisted living? What should you or a loved one do when you notice bedbugs in an assisted living facility?

Bedbugs are a common problem in assisted living, nursing homes, and other living facilities for the elderly. It may be hard for seniors to detect that they have bedbugs in their rooms. 

A Hearts PSM report shows that 30% of humans do not respond to bedbug bites. If a senior does not react to bedbug bites, it may take time to discover they have bedbugs in their room.

Bedbugs can quickly spread from one location to the next, and it can be challenging to stop them after they take hold. If one individual in the assisted living facility has bedbugs in their room and visits another resident’s room, they can track bedbugs in the other resident’s room.

If you or a loved one notices bedbugs in their room at an assisted living facility, it is essential to take immediate action. Taking action to get rid of the bedbugs protects everyone in the assisted living facility.

bedbugs in assisted living facilities pest control
Assisted living facilities need to prioritize pest control for a healthy living environment.

Who Is Responsible For Pest Control In A Resident’s Room At An Assisted Living Facility?

Pest infestations are a common problem in assisted living facilities. It is worth mentioning that these infestations can happen even in the cleanest facility. When an assisted living facility gets a pest infestation, they are responsible for pest control. 

The operator or owner of the assisted living facility has to ensure they offer seniors a healthy living environment. Getting rid of pests can be expensive and is not easy.

Assisted living facilities need to create pest prevention protocols and implement valuable management systems that allow them to detect issues before they become health hazards. 

There is no easy way to exterminate bedbugs in an assisted living facility. The effectiveness of pest prevention and the facility’s ability to treat infestation can be affected by pesticide sensitivity, treatment preparation, and patient mobility.

Hiring an experienced exterminator and taking other measures like training and educating your staff to avoid future pest infestations is vital.

Signs Of A Bedbug Problem

No one wants to believe that their loved ones live in a facility infested with bedbugs. Unfortunately, bedbug infestations in assisted living facilities have become a problem.

In 2012, the Triangle Pest Control study showed that assisted living facilities had a 223% increase in bedbugs. Bedbugs infestations keep growing each year, so it is essential to look out for bedbugs.

So, what signs indicate a bedbug problem in an assisted living facility? Here are the signs of a bedbug problem:

  • The smell of rotten raspberries
  • The facility’s residents complained of itchy red rashes
  • Bedbug egg casings and shell castings
  • Presence of bedbugs (they are pretty small, and their color may vary from black to bright red to brown. Usually, the red and black colored bedbugs have just been fed)
  • Dark spots or fecal matter on the edges of the bed

Other Pests And Bugs You Should Be On The Look Out For

While bedbugs are the common type of pests that can infest an assisted living facility, there are multiple other types of pests you should be on the lookout for.

Here are other pests you should watch out for in assisted living:


Flies often appear harmless, but they carry bacteria and can cause illnesses like salmonella, cholera, typhoid, and specific types of flies bite. Seniors are at a higher risk of carrying diseases caused by flies. Flies come in different colors, sizes, and shapes but typically have wings and a hairy body

A fly infestation can occur when flies enter a room through open doors or windows, then create breeding areas where they lay eggs. These eggs hatch into flies worsening the infestation. Flies are usually attracted to garbage and food.


Fleas can carry different diseases, including tularemia, murine typhus, and bubonic plague. They are red-brown and can infest an assisted living facility even if the residents have no pets.

Fleas feast on blood; signs of infestation include seeing small and dark droppings on rugs, carpets, and bedding. Flea bites often cause red itchy bumps on the skin.


While most ants are a nuisance, some ants bite, which may result in you going into anaphylactic shock. Ants carry diseases and cause illnesses among seniors should they infest an assisted living facility. You can easily spot ants as they have segmented bodies and big heads. 

What signs indicate an ant infestation? Ants are attracted to food sources; you can tell there is an infestation by noticing them crawl to an area with food.


While cockroaches are typically attracted to an unsanitary or dirty place, they can also infest clean rooms. Most of them crawl around, hide in vents, cracks, crevices, and skewers, and are usually reddish-brown. 

When two or more cockroaches inhabit a room, they can reproduce and cause an infestation. Egg capsules next to food sources and cockroach droppings in dim areas are signs that indicate a cockroach infestation.


Scabies are mites that burrow in the upper layer of animal or human skin. When they infect you, an itchy pimple rash appears on your skin.

Scabies can rapidly spread in an assisted living facility when not handled immediately. Scabies is often invisible to the human eye, but you can detect an infestation easily since an intense rash will appear on your skin if you are infected.

Scabies can be transferred by sharing bedding, clothing, towels, and prolonged skin-to-skin contact.

bedbugs in assisted living facilities measures pest problem
Ensure that the affected room is thoroughly cleaned, including linen and clothes, in case of a pest problem.

What Measures Can You Take When You Suspect A Pest Problem In The Assisted Living Facility?

Dealing with a pest problem in an assisted living facility can be difficult. It is vital to handle pest issues with sensitivity and get a professional exterminator.

For instance, in the case of bedbugs, about 95% of pest control companies use pyrethroid pesticides that bedbugs are resistant to.

Here is what you can do if you suspect an assisted living facility has a pest problem:

  • Vacate the affected room, have it thoroughly cleaned, and ensure the linen and clothes are also cleaned
  • Reduce the clutter in the room
  • Cover all box springs and mattresses using a plastic cover that you can seal to permanently trap any pests in there and prevent new ones from getting in
  • Consider choosing another assisted living facility

What You Can Do To Minimize The Risks Of Pests And Bedbugs In An Assisted Living Facility

No matter how clean, any facility can be a victim of pest infestation. In 2010, a survey of 4,500 pest management professionals revealed a 46% bedbug infestation in living facilities for seniors.

Here are a few steps to employ to minimize the risk of pest infestations in assisted living facilities:

  • Assisted living facilities should cover their box springs and mattresses using bed liners that can kill pests like bedbugs.
  • Assisted living facilities should regularly inspect the target and surrounding pest-infested areas, especially if they have had a pest infestation problem.
  • The facility’s staff should be trained to identify signs of a pest infestation, and they should also be keen on checking residents for any apparent signs of pest activity.
  • The management should closely work with a professional and experienced pest management firm to educate them on how pest infections can happen and how they can be prevented.

Final Thoughts

Bedbugs and other pest infestations are problems that most facilities for seniors encounter. They do not always indicate that the facility is unsanitary, as pests can also infest clean buildings. The management of an assisted living facility will typically handle and eliminate any pests that infest the facility.


Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional

Scott Grant has spent more than 20 years serving seniors and the elderly in the home medical equipment industry. He has worked as a manufacturer's rep for the top medical equipment companies and a custom wheelchair specialist at a durable medical equipment (DME) provider in WV. He is father to 4 beautiful daughters and has three terrific grandkids. When not promoting better living for older adults, he enjoys outdoor activities including hiking and kayaking and early morning runs.

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