In July 2010, the National Pest Management Association, reported that nearly 20% of surveyed exterminators found bed bugs in commercial office buildings. The fact that bed bugs can be found in any office place whether big or small is a testament to its swift and unrestrained access. It should also be a call to action for every employer out there on the benefits of being proactive when dealing with bed bug infestations. In New York, there have been reported cases of bed bug infestations in prominent organizations. From Google's Ninth Avenue offices in Manhattan to infestations found in a Denver library. There were also similar cases in a publisher's office and the district attorney's office in Manhattan. As business becomes more globalized and employees travel more frequently, there has been an uptick in bed bug infestations in the workplace setting. Bed bug infestations do not just originate out of nowhere in the office. There is always a source, and its origin can usually be traced to the home. Bed bug issues that occur in office buildings almost always come from employees and visitors who carry bed bugs with them on their clothing, travel bags, etc., go to work, and then allow the bed bugs to escape and spread through the office setting.
HOW YOUR OFFICE GOT BED BUGS?
Although they are considered nocturnal, bed bugs hiding in offices often come out during the day for feedings. Additionally, because bed bugs are wingless and their most common method of transportation is hitchhiking, they can easily travel to an office via laptop bags, purses, suitcases, and even shoes. While they don't transmit diseases to hosts, their bites can generate lesions, welts, and sometimes, anaphylactic reactions. All of these can result in sickness as well as psychological trauma for employees.
WHY BEING PROACTIVE IS SO IMPORTANT?
Here are some of the benefits of having periodic bed bug verification in the office and why as an employer you should be considering a proactive approach:
- SAVES MONEY FOR YOUR BUSINESS - Proactive bed bug inspections save businesses enormous costs when they partner with a certified detection and inspection company like us here at Bed Bug Finders llc.
We've encountered two such cases in New York City, just recently:
One is a huge non-profit organization while the other a strong publicly traded company. In this case two bed bugs were found in the non-profit organization while the latter had one bed bug found.
The non-profit sent home all of their employees due to the panic of the 50 employees and the other experienced a significant reduction in work performance due to fear and anxiety.
The commercial company had no choice and still had to do their work due to the NYSE being open, and they were trading.
After some investigations, the non-profit also paid for the inspections at the residences of 6 employees of which 2 had bed bugs problems.
In both cases, there was a massive reduction in income as a result of a loss of work production and limited workforce.
- AVOIDS LAWSUITS - While major lawsuits involving bed bug infestations have mainly focused around tenants and landlords, we can't look away from workplaces. There have also been some litigations between employers and employees owing to the adverse effect of pest infestations.
Companies have even had bed bug-related lawsuits brought against them for exposing employees to these pests without warning. Workers usually claim threats to life and negligence on the part of the company.
In May 2008, Jane Clark filed a lawsuit against Fox News in New York City. She claimed that bed bugs bit her three times over the course of several months while working at Fox News. Jane sued the company; claiming she suffered pain, shock, and mental anguish.
A proactive measure of detection would have saved these firms the trouble of court cases and settling the aggrieved party with vast sums of money.
- INCREASES PRODUCTIVITY - Because they reproduce quickly, a sighting of one or two bed bugs can quickly turn into an infestation of hundreds.
These bloodsuckers are notoriously tricky to eradicate because they hide in small cracks and crevices that are difficult to reach on time. As a result, it will take a while to detect and eliminate the spread. This will likely affect the productivity and smooth operation of the company.
But by being a proactive employer, regular detection will save you precious time and help eliminate any pest found in the process before it escalates.
- INSTILLS CONFIDENCE IN EMPLOYEES - The initial impression by staff when bed bugs show up in the office is that it's going to result in a massive, uncontrollable infestation with all of the people available for bugs to feed on.
To reassure employees, a bed bug verification professional needs to inspect the workplace looking for bed bugs.
Speaking regularly about the organization's bed bug detection and inspection program will make employees feel comfortable discussing pest issues.
This dialogue should include keeping employees in the loop about proactive bed bug and pest management initiatives such as reporting pest sightings or concerns and even notifying employees of upcoming service visits.
It should also include communicating with staff about the potential risk of introducing bed bugs into the facility from home.
- FOR SAFETY PURPOSES - The toughest thing about bed bugs in the office is trying to convince employees that they are not going to be regularly bitten.
Of course, they will feel endangered and anxious in the process, which is normal. When your employees sight bed bugs in the building, the working environment generally becomes unsafe for them.
A hazardous working environment due to bed bug infestations will likely result in low productivity. Workers are likely to abandon their jobs due to fear and apprehension.
This will in turn cost employers money in the process as they are going to lose out in the long run.
To prevent this scenario from playing out, contact a bed bug verification company like Bed Bug Finders llc to visit your office and help you out.
WHAT ARE THE RESPONSIBILITIES FOR EMPLOYERS?
Under the occupational health and safety acts regulations, employers need to take every reasonable precaution to protect the health and ensure the safety of all their employees. The following precautionary measures should be taken to prevent bed bug infestations and to protect workers:
- Implementing integrated pest detection activities through a licensed bed bug verification company.
- Developing policies and procedures for reporting bed bug infestations.
- Providing education to all workers regarding the topic of bed bugs. It should include information on bed bug identification, signs of infestation, prevention, and awareness.
Controlling a bed bug infestation at the office poses unique challenges, because unlike homes, in workplaces visual inspection is difficult, and early detection is rare. Bed bugs are usually spread over a wide area and identifying the point of origin can be extremely difficult on your own. Even after elimination, there is always the threat of recurrence, and there are various legal and human resources issues involved. Therefore, early detection of these pests is essential as it not only saves costs but inputs confidence in your employees. Bed bugs are one pest that you can't control on your own. Professional expertise is required if you genuinely want to detect and then eliminate these bugs from your office. That is why having a professional bed bug verification company that you can trust is crucial to your business.
Be a proactive employer today and contact Bed Bug Finders llc for a free estimate!