Bed Bugs in the Office: Get Rid of Them and Keep Them Out
Bed bug infestations are normally thought of as only occurring at home or in hotel rooms, but in reality, they can happen anywhere — including in your work office.
Remember that these tiny but pestilent little creatures are capable of hiding in upholstered chairs and couches and in cracks in wood furniture and desks, not only in mattresses. Plus, it is not at all uncommon for offices to include small beds for workers to use when commuting long distances or forced to stay overnight due to extreme weather.
Here are some key facts to be aware of in regards to recognizing a bed bug problem, realizing the dangers of bed bug bites, and implementing effective bed bug removal and prevention measures.
Diagnosing the Problem: Does My Office Have Bed Bugs?
There are four main ways you are likely to become aware you have a bed bug problem. Here they are:
- Seeing a bed bug. Bed bugs typically remain hidden, their presence being detected by their work rather than by actually seeing them. And this “stealth factor” also explains why many would not recognize a bed bug even if they saw one. This is what they look like: up to 5 mm long; pancake-flat, oval to round bodies; small heads with long antennas; no wings; brownish-red in color (blood red after a meal).
- By their shed skins. If you begin finding discarded skins that are the size and shape of a bed bug body (as described above), be sure the bug that left those casings behind is not far away.
- Finding their feces. As bed bugs normally defecate in the hidden crevices in which they live, you may not see their feces without a diligent search. But, should you spot it, it will be a blackish-brown spot or mound.
- By being bitten. Bed bugs species survive on only one thing — human blood. They leave bloody welts that can be quite large and cover large sections of the back, arms, or legs. This is the least desirable way to realize your office has bed bugs, but unfortunately, it is probably the most common.
Taking Heed: The Dangers That Bed Bugs Pose
Symptoms of being bitten by bed bugs can appear immediately or within a few days. We have mentioned the bloody blisters they leave, but these bite marks also itch furiously and can become inflamed or infected.
In general, bed bugs do not carry harmful disease or transmit the blood of one host to the next. However, there is no absolute guarantee of that. And recent studies show that they can spread Chagas disease. Plus, bed bugs can explode after gorging themselves to the full on human blood or after being rolled on or touched by a human hand. At that point, contaminated blood they have recently eaten can potentially get on you and infect you.
Taking Action: Effective Bed Bug Removal
Some pests can be dealt with effectively without professional help, but bed bugs are not in that category. The truth is, mattresses may need to be heated with special machinery, nesting sites and eggs must be located, and special chemicals need to be applied.
Specialized tools are needed to probe into hard to reach spaces, and it can take days or weeks of periodic monitoring to ensure lasting results.
By laundering all your linens and keeping your office clean, you can reduce the odds of an infestation, but bed bug removal truly requires an experienced professional.