Question of the Week: How Can I Prevent Bed Bugs In My Facility?

workplace-productivityBy Chuck Nelson

You have deadlines to meet, an endless to-do list and plenty of stress at work already. The last thing you want to worry about is a bed bug infestation in the office, but unfortunately, it is becoming more common.

Many people assume bed bugs are confined to the bedroom, but the truth is they can nest almost anywhere, including the boardroom and office cubicles. Because bed bugs are expert hitchhikers and survivalists, they can – and will – adapt to any environment.

Need an example? Bed bugs typically feed at night while you are asleep in your bed, but if they live in your office they will learn to feed on you during the day while you hammer away on that assignment at your desk. Since there is no bed or headboard for them to hide, they typically nest in the walls, holes in the floor, and in the crevices of chair arms and legs.

While your skin may be crawling at the thought of it, the good news is bed bugs in the workplace are avoidable.

How Bed Bugs Enter the Office

The developmental stages of bed bugs. (Credit: University of California)

The most common culprit for introducing bed bugs to the workplace is foot traffic in and out of the building. With a constant revolving door of employees, clients, and shipments, they can easily catch a ride into the office on purses, briefcases, boxes or clothing.

Some industries are more vulnerable to bed bug infestations than others. Any job that requires employees to visit people’s homes is at high risk. Not because the home or homeowner is dirty, but because bed bugs can easily travel home with someone when they are returning from a business trip or vacation.

Even if your employees are more stationary, your office could be at risk if it’s furnished with rented or used furniture. While rental centers have inspection policies, some bed bugs can still slip through the cracks, leaving your workplace vulnerable to unwanted guests.

Always Be Prepared

While there are certain industries at higher risk, the reality is that any workplace could fall victim to bed bugs. That’s why it’s important to be prepared for an infestation long before it happens. One of the best ways to prevent bed bugs is to schedule regular, proactive canine or pest-control inspections. This will catch a bed bug contamination before it snowballs into a full-blown infestation that will cost you a lot of time and money.

Take it a step further and introduce employees to policies on what to do in the event of an infestation. If you are not in a high-risk industry, it’s possible the source of bed bugs is someone on your staff, so appoint a contact person with whom the employee can speak to confidentially. If the employee is aware of an infestation at home, consider including a policy that requires said employee to stay home until the bed bug problem has been eradicated to prevent any more bugs from entering the workplace.

Bed bugs are prolific breeders. They spread easily and can be difficult to exterminate. With the stress your employees carry already, the last thing they need is to fear a possible bed bug infestation. If you take proactive measures to prevent such an issue, you will not only save time and money, but you will also gift your employees with a peace of mind that is priceless.

bed-bugs-chuck-nelsonChuck Nelson is the owner of Dog Inspectors, the first company in Tennessee to utilize trained, certified detection dogs to find bed bugs in commercial and residential buildings. For more information about the company’s services, contact 1-855-BUG-DOG1 (1-855-284-3641).

Have you had to deal with pest infestations in your facility? Which solutions worked, and which ones didn’t? Please share your thoughts in the Comments section below.