Bed Bugs in the Workplace: A Guide

When you think of a bed bug infestation, the first place that comes into your mind is your home. But do you know that bed bugs can thrive elsewhere, such as college dorms, hotels, and even secondhand furniture stores?

Bed bugs can also thrive in your workplace. They are unlikely to thrive in the workplace because of the lack of consistent supply of hosts to suck on, but it’s not impossible. And even if bed bugs don’t thrive in your workplace, remember that a few bed bugs can still cause damage. For example, these pests can get into your clothes and personal items, and you can give them a free ride to your home where they can thrive better.

Get rid of bed bugs in the workplace now before they cause further damage.

How to get rid of bed bugs in the workplace

Get professional pest control services

Your employer should be responsible for the bed bugs in your workplace. It is their duty to provide an environment that is not just conducive to productivity, but also safe. Your employer should hire professional pest control services to get rid of the pests.

Watch out for the signs of a bed bug infestation

Sure, your employer should have the initiative to get rid of the bed bugs in the workplace. But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t help. Look for the common signs of a bed bug infestation. Live bed bugs, white capsules that are actually bed bug eggs, insect carcasses, brown stains that are actually fecal matters – these are just some of the most solid signs.

Bed bugs can thrive in common areas, like lounges, pantries, and even breakrooms and storage rooms. Give particular attention to upholstered furniture because that’s the best place for them to thrive. Also look at cabinets, cubicles, storage boxes, wallpapers, and wire hangers, especially in the cracks and crevices.

Clean the infested areas

You can get rid of the bed bugs in the infested areas in three general ways. You can vacuum them up, kill them with heat, or use insecticides.

  • Vacuum the infested areas. Vacuum the areas with bed bugs, giving particular attention to cracks, crevices, and corners. Dispose the contents of the vacuum bag or throw the vacuum bag entirely in a trash bin outside of your workplace to prevent reinfestation.
  • Steam clean the infested areas. Bed bugs die when exposed to heat, and that’s why steam cleaning is a good choice to get rid of these pests. If steam cleaners are not available in your workplace, consider hiring professionals.
  • Spray insecticides on the infested areas. You can also buy bed bug sprays to get rid of the bed bugs in your workplace. Make sure to read the labels and follow the instructions. Also remember that bed bug sprays are regulated by the government, so make sure the sprays you are using have the proper registrations.

Avoid further spreading the infestation

You won’t effectively eliminate all the bed bugs in the workplace if you don’t contain them. Avoid further spreading the infestation by minimizing the risk of getting them yourself.

Declutter your work area to lessen the places and items where bed bugs can hide. Isolate your bags, coats, and other personal items in a sealed container like a plastic bag. This way, bed bugs won’t have a chance of hitchhiking into your home.

And of course, regularly clean your work area to ensure that pests of all kinds will not have a chance to thrive.

Bed bugs in the workplace can spread in common areas such as breakrooms.

How to be careful at work during a bed bug infestation

Wear easy to wash clothing

If your employer still requires you to go to work despite a bed bug infestation, wear clothes that are easy to wash and dry. This way, once you get home, you will be able to just put your clothes in the washing machine and dryer to kill bed bugs that may have hitchhiked in your clothing. Water and heat can kill bed bugs.

Wear light-colored clothing

Bed bugs are small brown insects. Their color makes them easy to spot on light-colored clothing. During a bed bug infestation at the office, it’s best to wear light-colored clothing to easily see if bed bugs are hitchhiking in your clothing.

Avoid sitting in upholstered furniture

Sofas, chairs, and other upholstered furniture are great places for bed bugs to thrive. Avoid sitting or getting near these furniture pieces, especially those in common areas like pantries. Sit on hard furniture instead.

Bring the minimum amount of stuff at work

If you are the kind of person who brings a lot of stuff at the office, consider changing your habits for the meantime. Bags, tool kits, and other items with containers, cracks, crevices, and zippers are great hiding places for bed bugs.

Remove your work clothes before moving around your home

Once you get home from the office, remove your work clothes before you move around your home. If you have a garage, that’s a good place to remove your work clothes. If you don’t have a garage, remove your work clothes as close to your front door as possible. In case your work clothes have hitchhiking bed bugs, the pests will not have an opportunity to thrive in your home if you isolate the clothes immediately.

Wash your work clothes immediately

Isolate your work clothes immediately in a bag. Then put the bag inside the washing machine. Avoid carrying your clothes openly into the washing machine, as bed bugs can drop and start an infestation around your home. Put out the contents of the bag in the washing machine and wash and dry them. If possible, use a high heat setting to kill off the pests.

Remove and wash your work clothes before settling in at home.

Possible legal claims against employers

If you have suffered from a bed bug infestation because of a present infestation in the workplace, you may have some legal claims against your employer.

  • Financial damage. You can get compensated for the financial damage your bed bug infestation has caused.
  • Physical, emotional, and psychological toll. You can also get compensated for the physical, emotional, and psychological effects of dealing with a bed bug infestation.
  • Employer negligence. You can also get compensated if it has been proven that your employer has been negligent in dealing with pests in the workplace.

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