You may know that kids can bring bed bugs home from school or a friend's house—but did you know you or your partner could pick up bed bugs at work?
Bed bugs are light-to-reddish brown, oval-shaped, about the size of an apple seed, and don't have wings. They mainly feed on human blood but will also feed on other animals such as dogs or cats. While bed bugs aren't known to transmit diseases, their bites can cause significant discomfort.
Bed bugs are most active at night, so it is unusual for them to be spotted in an office. However, if an individual has an infestation in their home, a bed bug, larvae, or eggs can hitch a ride on a coat, briefcase, or purse into the office and transfer to other sites once in the building.
So, how do you spot bed bugs?
Carpet beetles can be easily mistaken for bed bugs and bed bug bites can look like bites from mosquitoes, and even resemble rashes like eczema or hives. It can be difficult to tell if you have a bed bug problem if you can't see them. Keep these tips in mind to help tell if you have bed bugs in your office.
- Be aware –Knowing bed bugs can be in offices and other places of employment is the first step in correctly identifying their presence and getting rid of them.
- Seeing spots - Look for rust-colored spots on carpeting, office chairs, sofas, and other fabric materials which are created when bed bugs are squashed or they leave behind blood from a past feeding.
- Tiny dots - Keep an eye open for dark dots the size of the point of a pencil—which is what bed bug excrement looks like.
- Clusters of eggs – Bed bug eggs are about 1mm, pale yellow, and usually found in groups. Eggs can signal an infestation.
- Crawling around – If you see a live bed bug crawling in the office, immediately notify management personnel.
What can you do to prevent bedbugs?
Educating employees on identifying and quickly treating bed bugs at home and being observant in the office are the best measures to prevent a bed bug infestation in the workplace. Following these suggestions can also help prevent bed bugs in the office and transfer between the office and home.
- Inspect furniture - Be careful when bringing used furniture, pillows, or blankets into an office space. Carefully inspect each item to ensure there are no bugs hiding within it.
- Tidy up – Bed bugs are about as narrow as the width of a credit card, so if a credit card can fit into a space, so can a bed bug. Keeping workspaces free from clutter eliminates places for bedbugs to hide.
- Store items separately – Keeping your coat and bag in a personal desk drawer or separate from a group of coats and bags cuts reduces the chances of a bed bug moving from one coat to the next.
- Change of clothes - Consider changing into fresh clothes when you arrive at home and washing the clothing you wore to work.
Treating bed bugs in the office
When people are concerned about bringing home germs from work, they take precautions like regularly washing their hands and limiting contact with ill co-workers. What can be done when there are concerns about bed bugs in the office?
Acting fast will make a significant difference in the magnitude of a bed bug infestation and the number of people affected. As soon as you suspect the presence of bed bugs, notify management personnel and have the office professionally inspected by a licensed pest-control company.
Heat fumigation is one approach to killing bed bugs, but it is not the most effective.
Gas fumigation is 99.9% effective and A-1 Able Pest Doctors is the only pest control company in the region that offers this service. Gas gumugations requires a short, 36-hour window and then it is completely safe for employees to return to the office—without any worry of bed bugs still hanging around.
Gas fumigation is 99.9% effective and A-1 Able Pest Doctors is the ONLY PEST CONTROL COMPANY in the region that offers this service.
Electing to have your office in a routine pest prevention program can help ensure bed bugs or other pests don't become a problem. Regularly and proactively inspecting and treating the workspace is the best plan to avoid an infestation.
To learn more about treating bed bugs in the office or at home, or about a pest prevention system, call A-1 Able Pest Doctors at (800) 737-8189.