Insight Series: How we handle bugs in shelter

Posted on July 27, 2023 in Current News

Life in shelter can be messy. It’s part of the work of helping to get people through difficult times. Sometimes we get questions about how we handle some of the challenges. We’ve started a series, to give some real insight about what happens in shelter.

We work hand at YES to keep our buildings clean and bug-free, but it can be challenging at times to completely prevent bugs.

The reality

The unfortunate reality of any location that has a high turnover of people is that the risk of bugs being brought in is high. This is no one’s fault, but it is an ongoing issue. 
But even though we may be at a higher risk of having bugs, it does not mean there is nothing we can do. In fact, there has been lots of work completed or that is ongoing to address issues around bugs.

Ongoing work to avoid bugs

Firstly, when ever someone new comes into shelter, we put their belongings in a bed-bug tent. This tool heats items up to a temperature that bedbugs cannot withstand, and renders the bags of clothes and other things bed-bug free.

Secondly, we’ve made sure that all of the furniture in shelter rooms is easy to clean and sanitize.

Thirdly, we hire a pest control company to come into shelter and check for bugs once a month. They will set traps, clear out traps if needed, record any bug activity they see, and make recommendations which we follow closely.

This includes:

  • Daily thorough clean of the kitchen and common spaces
  • Regular work to keep client rooms clean
  • Regularly cleaning floor drains
  • Daily check to make sure client rooms are free from food

Should we have ongoing issues with a specific room, we hire the pest control company come in to treat the room. But when client rooms are kept clean, clients are very unlikely to spot a bug.

Better together! Working with Peterborough Public Health

Like all shelters, we work closely with Peterborough Public Health (PPH) to ensure our facility is clean and safe. In a very recent tour with PPH, we received a positive report with one additional recommendation to be proactive with any bugs – which we immediately had our pest control company put into place.

Bugs are a risk in congregate living settings. But at YES, we actively manage the issue to ensure that clients are safe and comfortable.