The common areas of high-rise developments can be a social hub. Nowhere is this more evident than in senior housing. These areas are a double-edged sword for property managers. On one side there is a sense of community spirit and evidence of sharing, on the other hand there is potential for pest introduction and spread. Education, early detection, and rapid response will help you maintain these spaces in a way that’s good for your community and bad for the pests.
It’s unrealistic to ask low-income
residents to avoid used items. Rather, advise them to look the items over for
signs of pests before bringing them home. Some communities have a staff member
who will to take a look before the item gets brought into the building. We
commend these individuals for going above the call of duty.
Resource: Bed bug identification
Encourage people in your community to
use a hot clothes dryer for 30 minutes to get rid of bed bugs on fabric items
like blankets and pillows that they bring into the building.
Resource: Laundering items to kill bed bugs
Ask people who use the common areas to set their coats, bags, and purses down in provided plastic containers rather than setting them on couches or upholstered chairs.
Place each piece of furniture so that it’s five inches away from the wall. This takes away some hiding spots and makes inspection much easier.
Install bed bug interception devices under the legs of any upholstered furniture. These monitors are pretty good at showing you if an infestation is present. They don't have to be placed under the legs of the furniture. Researchers have been simply putting them near baseboards and catching bugs.
Set up a monthly cleaning schedule
where someone vacuums the common area (paying special attention around the furniture)
and inspects these areas with a flashlight. This is a good time to check those
interception devices too.
Resource: Common area template poster/log
Management may consider purchasing a
commercial steamer. Steam kills bed bug and their eggs. Housing staff could
steam the furniture and at-risk areas of the common room routinely.
Resource: Using steamers to kill bed bugs
If you see signs of bed bugs, call a professional. Leave pesticide application to licensed professionals. In many states it is illegal for unlicensed staff to apply any pesticide at work.
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Help Protect Our Community from Bed Bugs
Do your part to prevent pests by following the steps:
- Look before you bring it home
Look for black spots or bed bugs in any crack where you could fit a credit card. Don’t get items that have signs of bed bugs.
- Use a dryer to kill bugs
Put fabric items (pillows, blankets, stuffed animals, etc.) in a hot dryer for 30 minutes before donating them to this space.
- Don’t put your belongings on chairs
Don’t set your stuff on chairs. Bed bugs can travel on coats and purses. Use plastic bins, coat hooks, or leave your stuff at home.