Bed bugs – the first time you hear of it, you’ll often think of a mattress, or couches, or even a hotel room infested with these tiny pests. But what if you learn that bed bugs are not just confined to the home?
Don’t be fooled by its name – bed bugs can also lurk in the office, unbeknownst to you and your colleagues.
Based on a 2015 study made by the National Pest Management Association, shockingly 99% of pest professionals had to tackle bed bug infestations – with 45% of those inside office buildings.
These pests have been hard at work making their way into offices, wreaking havoc and causing disruption to your workspace.
Why Do Offices Get Infested with Bed Bugs?
There are many reasons why offices can get infested with bed bugs.
Because bed bugs are such excellent hitchhikers, it doesn’t take much for them to hitch a ride in someone’s purse, clothes, shoes, or even in a package delivered to the office.
While the chances of you finding them in your body are very slim to none, they do hitch a ride until they arrive at a place where they can find their next blood meal.
What better place can they feed on than the office, where people are mostly always seated and not moving around? Unfortunately, offices aren’t the first ones suspecting bed bugs and that’s why they are often left to spread.
What are the Common Warning Signs and Precautions That Your Office is Bedbug-Infested?
Don’t panic – while the thought of a bed bug infestation in an office might seem pretty alarming, there are ways to tell if you have a bed bug problem.
Check Your Office Chairs
Similar to those mattresses you have at home, or the sofa and couches, bed bugs are often found in office chairs when they’re infesting an office.
Why? Similar to mattresses, office chairs provide the perfect breeding and hiding spot for them.
So, when you’re checking if you have bed bugs in your office, make sure to check the chairs first – look out for rashes or red spots on the surface and keep an eye out for small black dots that might be their droppings.
Check Around Your Desks and Drawers
Where else do bed bugs love to hide? Around desks and drawers. They can easily move around the office, thanks to their small size, so make sure to check these places out when you’re looking for signs of an infestation
It could be that they have already made a home inside your desk drawers, or even around the edges of your desk.
You’re Itching Like Crazy – And All Your Officemates Too!
If you’ve suddenly noticed that you and your officemates are suddenly itching like crazy, it’s a good sign that you might be having bed bugs in the office.
While it’s good to eliminate all other possibilities first, bed bug bites are usually itchy and can leave you with rashes. They just don’t bute during the night either.
Whenever you, or any of your colleagues, are experiencing these symptoms, and after having confirmed that you have bed bug bites, it’s time to hire pest control professionals right away.
Bed Bug Pest Control in the Office vs. Home Treatments
What makes office treatments different from those that are performed at home? When you’re dealing with an office infestation, especially a large one, pest control professionals often use larger-scale treatments and preventive measures to keep bed bugs away.
Most home treatments and DIY solutions can keep these bed bugs away, given that they’re caught early on.
For offices, however, since it’s one of those places where a lot of people come and go and it’s not easy to implement preventive measures, bed bug pest control professionals often use stronger chemicals and treatments to get rid of them.
Listed below are some of the most common treatment methods used by pest control professionals:
Fumigation and Heat Control
Unfortunately, there’s no way to proceed with the bed bug treatment without having to suspend office operations for a while.
Fumigation and heat control treatments require offices to be shut down while they’re being carried out so that the fumes, or heated air, are properly contained.
Heat is an effective treatment for bed bugs since they can’t survive in high temperatures. However, it’s also one of the most expensive treatments, since they require large amounts of electricity and specialized equipment to be used.
Sometimes, when fumigation and heat treatment aren’t enough to completely rid an office of bed bugs, pest control professionals also use chemical treatments.
Large-scale chemical treatments are often used in large office buildings and still require evacuation while they’re being implemented.
It’s important to remember that chemical treatments should be done with utmost caution and only performed by professionals, as these chemicals can be toxic if not used properly.
Most of the time, the entire treatment may take anywhere between a few weeks to months, depending on the size and type of infestation.
This doesn’t mean, however, that the office will be unusable during this period. The entire chemical treatment procedure would only take a couple of hours, and the office can be reopened afterward.
There are some cases that items are required to be disposed of, or placed in a dryer with high heat temperature. This, of course, will depend on the extent of the infestation and the size of the items.
Bed bugs can survive on objects such as furniture, carpets, rugs, etc., If there are too many bugs and it’s not cost-effective to treat them, it’s best to just get rid of the items instead.
Final Thoughts: Bed Bugs in the Office
Just like with any other pest infestation, even when we’re talking about office infestations, prevention plays a huge role in the overall process.
If you’re running an office, regular inspections can help identify an infestation before it spreads. If you’re a regular worker, on the other hand, look out for signs, like itchy bites or odd stains on furniture and carpets and immediately report them to your superiors.
Bed bug pest control can be a tedious process and it’s best to leave it to the experts. If you’ve confirmed that your office has an infestation, don’t hesitate to hire a professional pest control service as soon as possible.
The quicker you take action, the better chances you have of ridding your office of these pesky bugs.