Is it possible you can have Bed Bugs At Work?
Bed bugs get their name because they like to live in and near beds so that they’ll be close by their food source—the blood of sleeping humans.
Since there are no beds in most workplaces, you might think that a business—and the people who work there—might not need to worry about bed bugs at work, and that knowing how to detect bed bugs is a skill that’s only needed at home. But if you’re a business owner, manager, or employee that would be a mistake.
Bed Bugs at Work Are a Threat
Although bed bugs don’t typically infest a business, they certainly can. And even if a workplace isn’t infested, it’s an ideal place for bed bugs to be transported between employees and taken home to create new infestations. That’s why bed bugs are such a problem for travelers—their MO is to hitchhike into people’s homes.
They very easily could be brought to work on one employee’s clothes or belongings and then crawl onto another employee or into an employee’s briefcase, lunchbox, or other personal belonging. So without an awareness of how to detect bed bugs, employees are sitting ducks for bed bugs in search of a new place to live. That’s simply bad business.
Employees who suspect they got bed bugs from work won’t be at all happy with the company, and unhappy workers are generally less productive. And employees who have a bed bug problem at home are more likely to be tired and psychologically stressed. For these reasons, all businesses should instruct employees on how to detect bed bugs.
Detection for Bed Bugs at Work: What To Look For
Bed bugs are reddish-brown, flat, and small enough to fit into cracks no thicker than a credit card. Bed bugs are masters at not being found, hiding in the remotest cracks and crevices they can find, but they do leave behind signs—dark brown and/or black stains on sheets (bed bug excrement), discarded bed bug skins (they molt as they mature), and eggs.
Bed bug bites are also a sign that a home is infested, although some people have no reaction to the bites. The bites, when they do show, are typically small, reddish welts that itch like crazy and are in rows of three. A scent of rotten raspberries can also indicate the presence of bed bugs in a home.
But because of the difficulty of determining if these signs are caused by bed bugs or other insects, it’s usually necessary to call a pest control specialist to determine if a home or business is infested.
Photo Credit: Office After 3b