Bed Bugs in the Workplace? Here’s What To Do

  • Written by: Killingsworth Environmental
  • December 20, 2019

What To Do When Bed Bugs Bite At Work 

Did you know that bed bugs can infest the workplace? It’s true! Many people commonly assume that bed bugs only inhabit beds, however, they can survive just about anywhere as long as there’s a food source nearby — your office included! 

While we hope you never come across bed bugs in the workplace (like BuzzFeed did), we want to prepare you with actionable steps to make sure your office remains bed bug-free. Continue reading to learn how bed bugs get into the workplace and what to do if you find a bed bug infestation in the office. 

All About Bed Bugs

Have you ever seen a bed bug? They’re incredibly tiny, even smaller in size than an apple seed. These wingless insects look similar to a tick or flea, with an oval-shaped body that grows larger after a blood meal. 

Since bed bugs are nocturnal, they’re great at hiding during the day and can be very difficult to spot. Actually, you don’t usually see the bug itself, just the mark it leaves behind. Typically, the only traces of bed bugs you’ll find are rust-colored stains from your blood or dark-colored stains from their feces. 

It’s also important to note that bed bugs can’t be identified by their bite marks. The rashes they can cause look similar to bites from fleas, mosquitos or chiggers. Sometimes, the bites can even be confused with dermatological issues like hives or eczema

Watch this video of our extermination specialists investigating a bed bug infestation to get an idea of just how small these pests really are!

How To Get Rid of Bed Bugs in the Workplace

1. Locate and Identify 

First, you should determine if the signs you’re finding are actually bed bugs and not some other type of pest. Thoroughly inspect every fabric surface in your office and look for the blood or feces stains we mentioned earlier. This way, you can confirm your bed bug suspicion and begin taking steps toward exterminating them altogether. 

Next, determine the size of the bed bug infestation in your building. This will help you gauge how long the pests have been living in your office since they’re slow at reproducing compared to other insects. 

From there, put away and disinfect all furniture or objects that are potential hiding spots. Always be sure to check small cracks and crevices, peeling wallpaper, and cubicle dividers, too. 

2. Clean Infected Areas

Take the time to thoroughly clean and vacuum all of the infected areas. Use the wand feature of the vacuum to clean hard-to-reach areas like baseboards and desktop surfaces. Afterward, wipe hard surfaces with rubbing alcohol or bleach. This makes certain any bed bug that hasn’t been collected by the vacuum doesn’t survive. You will most likely have to repeat this process once a week for approximately a month. 

For small items with crevices such as power strips and keyboards, try tackling extermination methods yourself, like creating a kill chamber. Do this by placing all of these hard-to-clean items in a sealed bin with a pesticide strip. Leave the bag alone for several days to kill off pests that may still be living. Carefully read the directions listed on the pesticide label and follow them closely. 

Keep in mind, while pesticides may do the trick, it may not be the safest option for your office and its employees. Read our blog, 10 Natural Remedies to Eliminate Bed Bugs, for safe and environmentally friendly alternatives.

Ultimately, if a bed bug infestation is suspected, promptly contact a commercial pest control company. The local health department can also be an excellent resource for additional information and assistance on how to handle the situation. 

3. Prevent Further Infestation

Bed bugs usually make their way into the workplace by attaching themselves to an employee with a bed bug infestation at their home. These bugs travel from human to human by hitchhiking on items like purses, briefcases, clothing, shoes and books, allowing them to quickly spread between locations. 

While it’s important to determine the source of the bed bugs, remember to handle the situation with care — especially if the source is an infested employee. To avoid alienating a likely embarrassed employee, we recommend educating all employees and custodial staff with tips to avoid further spreading by regularly monitoring for pest infestations. Ask employees to minimize clutter at their workspaces, routinely wipe down surfaces and vacuum all carpeted areas. To go one step further, you can also offer sealed bags for employees to store items like coats and bags while they’re at work. Perhaps ask employees to work from home during the extermination period to prevent further spreading as well. 

A key component to getting rid of pests is prevention. Creating an Integrated Pest Management system will help with the spreading of bed bugs, and any other pest for that matter. Learn more about IPM, here

How To Professionally Eliminate Bed Bugs

Here at Killingsworth, we offer a unique method for handling bed bugs. We use a K-9 Detection team to identify these pests and Thermal Remediation to remove them. Our highly-trained Jack Russell Terriers have a 98% success rate in detecting bed bugs, compared to the 30% success rate of humans. 

Upon arrival, our dogs will be able to confirm the presence of bed bugs in your office. If bed bugs are present, we’ll use electric heaters to raise air temperatures to 135 degrees Fahrenheit to exterminate any bugs. Additionally, we will use sensors for on-site monitoring to ensure the high temperatures don’t damage your office. After the remediation treatment, our specialists return with our K-9 team for a second time to double-check all of the bed bugs have been fully eliminated. 

If you think you’ve detected bed bugs in your workplace, contact us for a free pest inspection. We’ll eliminate bed bugs once and for all — just like we’ve been doing for the past 26 years.  

Pest management is just one of the many jobs you’re responsible for at your company. Download our free Guide to Commercial Property Management to assist you in making sure your building is taken care of whether it be pest management, air quality, preventative maintenance and more. 

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