Bed Bugs in the Office

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( — October 4, 2016) — Bed bugs have been an increasingly severe problem in urban areas over the last few years, but what happens when these pests make the move from the bedroom to the boardroom? That’s right – bed bugs have been showing up in offices and other public spaces as of late, and that means adjusting our extermination strategies to include the workplace.

If bed bugs have made a home in your offices, these four steps can help you eliminate them. Don’t let pests stand in the way of your business.

Know the Signs

It can be hard to know for certain if there are bed bugs in your office, largely because they are hard to see. That’s why it’s important to know the primary indicators of a bed bug infestation. While at home, you might notice small brown stains on your sheets from bed bug bites, but you’re unlikely to notice such marks on a black desk chair, for example.

Instead, when looking for bed bugs in the office, you should check near the baseboards and in any soft furniture where they may be hiding. Also, be attentive to the appearance of any type of rash or small bug bites. Bed bugs are rarely the first thought when people notice skin irritation, but if you see three small bites in a row, they may be what you’re dealing with.

Sniff Them Out

Another way to determine whether your office is housing bed bugs is by bringing in a bed bug sniffing dog. Yes, it’s true – trained hounds can detect this urban plague, just like police dogs can detect drugs or service dogs can detect a troubling drop in insulin levels. Some areas even use the dogs on a regular basis to check public buildings for bed bugs. The only thing about bringing a bed bug sniffing dog into the office is that you’ll need to tell your employees why the dog is there.

Report the Problem

Telling employees about a bed bug problem is an important part of dealing with the issue for several reasons. First of all, if employees don’t know about the problem, they won’t be aware that they could be taking the pests home with them. Companies have even had bed bug-related lawsuits brought against them for exposing employees to these parasites without warning them.

Another reason it’s important to tell your employees about bed bugs is that they had to come from somewhere – just like employees can bring bed bugs home with them from the office, someone with a problem at home may be bringing them to work. Employees need to get their homes checked for bed bugs and resolve problems there to avoid ongoing cross-contamination.

 Exterminate and Eliminate

Finally, once you’ve determined that your office has a bed bug problem, you’ll need to bring in a professional treatment team. Often, this means shutting down for a day or more – the chemicals used to eliminate bed bugs are hazardous to human health – but there are also some alternative treatments. Spreading diatomaceous earth near the baseboards and along office pathways can dehydrate the pests and cause them to die.

You’ll also want to take a look at any policies your office has that may contribute to the spread of bed bugs. When the pests cropped up in a Maine Boys and Girls Club, for example, the center had to stop taking clothing donations that could carry bed bugs. If your lounge area contains any couches or blankets brought from individual homes, ditch them and replace them with new items, and ask employees to do the same in their cubicles. Bed bugs can’t fly, so stop serving as a ferry for them.

The revelation that there are bed bugs in the office can be startling and upsetting to employees, but if you act quickly and comprehensively to eliminate them, they shouldn’t pose too great of a problem for your staff. Be vigilant and include employees in the extermination process and then move forward – bed bugs have been around a long time, but you don’t need to be held at their mercy in your office.