Pests can have harmful effects upon human health and property. Here is a detailed overview of the pests that are commonly found in large facilities, as well as the risks associated with each.  

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs have made a serious comeback in the last decade. A 2013 survey conducted by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) and the University of Kentucky found that 99 percent of U.S. pest management professionals encountered a bed bug infestation in the past year. Prior to 2000, only 25 percent of U.S. survey respondents encountered a bed bug infestation.

While bed bugs, at this time, are not considered vectors of disease, their bites can leave itchy, red welts and their presence can cause anxiety and sleeplessness. Because bed bugs and their eggs “hitchhike” in bags, shoes and on people, they can easily be brought into a school, hospital, office — any environment where people gather and reside.


The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) reported that 1-in-5 children have severe sensitivities to cockroach allergens, which increase the severity of asthma symptoms. These allergens are most commonly introduced through cockroach saliva, droppings and the decomposing bodies of these pests. Further, cockroaches spread nearly 33 different kinds of bacteria, six kinds of parasitic worms and at least seven other kinds of human pathogens.

As vectors for disease, cockroaches often carry bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella on their bodies, which can not only contaminate food and cooking equipment in a school, hospital or office kitchen, but also compromise the sterile environment of an operating room or a school health office. 


Rodents can enter buildings through almost any opening or crack. Once inside, these pests can cause severe damage as they are able to chew through wallboards, cardboard, wood and plaster. They can also chew through electrical wiring, increasing the potential risk of fire. 

Pest professionals will work with custodial staff and management to educate them on more subtle signs such as gnaw marks and tracks, in addition to more obvious ones like droppings — especially in cafeteria pantries, under baseboards and along walls.

Rodent droppings most often cause allergic reactions in people, but can also cause disease. 


Flies have been known to carry over 100 different kinds of disease-causing germs. They contaminate food and surfaces by spreading organisms picked up on their bodies and through their saliva. And if that’s not enough, they defecate constantly.

Keeping trash receptacles closed and as clean as possible, removing trash frequently and keeping food areas clean and free of food debris goes a long way in keeping these filthy pests at bay.


Ants are social insects.  Therefore, spotting one ant unfortunately signifies that many more may be close behind.

These pests are not simply unsightly — they can also contaminate food. And considering that large quantities of food is served daily in facilities with cafeterias, contamination is an issue that should be addressed with urgency. Facility managers and custodial staffs must be proactive in preventing and treating ants.

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