Once upon a time, it was thought that bed bugs were all but extinct. The widespread use of pesticides such as DDT and pyrethroids in the 1950s and 1960s dealt the apple seed-sized critters a crushing blow. However, evolution then decided to create a strain of bed bugs that was up to 250 times more resistant to pesticides. If that wasn't bad enough, Australian entomologists recently discovered that some bed bugs have evolved a skin that is 15 percent thicker than that of standard bed bugs.
Despite those disturbing findings, bed bugs are not unstoppable. With the help of a pest controller a bed bug infestation can still be eradicated.
If you suspect that your office may be under invasion by bed bugs, you need to take the following steps.
Identify the Bugs
According to the 2015 Bugs without Borders Survey in the US, 45 percent of pest controllers had treated offices for bed bugs. Wherever there is a bed bug infestation, such as an apartment complex, home or hotel, there is the opportunity for these pests to hitch a ride to another place, on clothes, shoes or bags etc.
If word is spreading that there could be an infestation in your office, first identify the bugs before taking action. Adult bed bugs are rust coloured and look like apple seeds. They move swiftly and can be found in the seams of office furniture such as office chairs or sofas, around electrical outlets, and in just about any nook and cranny.
Inform Your Staff Members
Naturally, you don't want to cause widespread panic in your office. However, if your staff members have already noticed bed bugs walking across their desks, and even noticed red welts that could be bites, straight up honesty is the best policy. Schedule a meeting to inform them as soon as possible.
Train Your Staff Members
During the meeting, train your staff how to identify bed bugs, and make sure to debunk any myths that might be doing the rounds. Bed bugs do not spread disease. While they are easily spread, the worst they can do is bite as they search for a blood meal, and could leave red welts and even scars.
Arrange for a systematic search of your office, checking every nook and cranny in sight. Most importantly, have all members of staff seal anything they bring to the office, such as coats, bags or purses, within air tight containers upon arrival. A separate pair of work shoes should also be stored in the office and worn only in the office. These measures will prevent the bed bugs from spreading to the homes of your staff.
Find the Source of the Bed Bugs
Discreetly try to find out where the bed bugs originated. Send emails to staff members inviting them to privately inform you if they suspect that the bed bugs may have come from their home, apartment building or car, etc. Obviously, the last thing you need is for one member of staff to be singled out as the cause of the infestation so discretion is essential.
Hire a Pest Control Service
Finally, you'll need to hire a reputable and experienced pest control service, one that has a history of removing bed bugs from offices. Due to the nature of the chemicals used to treat bed bugs, you should schedule any treatments while your staff members are at home, possibly on a weekend.
Remember, don't panic. While bed bugs are a nuisance, they aren't as destructive as termites, for example. As long as your staff members know the precautions, and the source of the infestation has also been treated, the problem should be put to bed in no time.