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BED BUGS IN THE WORKPLACE!! DON’T PANIC

By Chris Williams on June 18, 2018.

We occasionally get an anxious call when someone has seen a bed bug in an office setting or other workplace. As you would expect, word travels fast among employees. Soon everyone is itching or finding “bites” on their bodies. Sometimes they are able to capture the suspect bed bug for verification, but more often we only have rumor to go on.

The initial impression by staff when bed bugs show up in offices is that it’s going to result in a huge, uncontrollable infestation with all of the people available for bugs to feed on. That really never happens. It’s important to remember that bed bugs emerge from hiding at night to feed on people that are asleep and are not aware of their presence. There can be lots of people in an office but there is also lots of light and lots of activity, and presumably very few sleepers. Bed bugs are mostly confused and in hiding while offices are up and running.

BREEDING POPULATIONS CAN’T DEVELOP

Bed Bug Life Cycle. Shutterstock.

Unless there are people who spend the night in the office space, bed bugs are pretty much out of luck when it comes to a blood meal. That doesn’t mean that a desperate bed bug might not try a daytime bite, but it’s not normal behavior. Even if a bed bug did find someone to feed on in an office environment, it wouldn’t happen often enough for any bugs present to reproduce (the female needs blood to lay eggs), and for those offspring to feed and grow, find mates, and continue the life cycle. For that reason, when bed bugs show up in offices, we refer to it as an “introduction,” not an “infestation.” Bed bugs are not able to develop a breeding population, so it’s usually a temporary situation.

HOW DO YOU FIND BED BUGS IN AN OFFICE?

The toughest thing about bed bugs in offices (after convincing those present that they are not going to be regularly bitten) is finding the stray bug or bugs. Often we’re talking about a single bug that was seen on a desk. If an employee is carrying hitchhiking bed bugs into the office from home, there may be additional introductions over time. Because office bed bugs are out of their normal environment and can’t find hosts, they tend to wander more and can become more active during the daytime.

To reassure employees, a pest management professional needs to conduct an inspection of the workplace looking for bed bugs. The good news is that there are probably only one or a few bugs. The bad news is that an office is full of hiding places and when there are not beds to concentrate on, bed bugs can be anywhere. Detection can involve visual inspections, monitoring traps, even trained detection dogs in some cases.

GOT BED BUGS? CALL COLONIAL

It may be impossible to determine how the bed bugs got there in the first place since they will hitchhike on briefcases, purses, deliveries, files, equipment, you name it. Depending on what the inspection finds, infested or susceptible areas may be treated, or recommendations may be made for changes in certain office procedures to prevent re-introductions

If there have been bed bug sightings in your workplace or if you think you might have bed bugs in your home, call Colonial Pest. Bed bugs are one pest that you can’t control on your own, professional expertise is required if you truly want to eliminate these bugs from your life.

For more, see: A Bed Bug in an Office Does Not Mean an Infestation

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