You don't have to work on Skid Row to encounter bed bugs in your office. They've been found in government buildings, at major news outlets, and at big-name investment firms. They might even be coming to a cubicle near you.
Bed bugs are brownish, wingless insects about the size of an apple seed. Although they can scuttle quickly over flat surfaces, they can't jump or fly. In fact, the only thing bed bugs have going for them is that they're very, very sneaky.
These insects have a talent for clinging to things. They grab onto clothing, upholstered desk chairs and sofas, shoes, and bags. Bed bugs have been found in keyboards, electric outlets, and even piles of paper.
What can you do to protect yourself? It turns out there are quite a few ways to avoid picking up bed bugs at work.
- Ask if your company has a bed bug policy. Learn who to contact if you have concerns and what steps to follow if you find a bed bug.
- Keep a separate pair of shoes for work. Change footwear at your desk or in the lobby, and use sealable plastic bags for both your "before" and "after" shoes.
- Carry a small flashlight with a powerful beam. Use this to check furniture, keyboards, clothing seams, or other hiding places.
- Keep your briefcase or purse in a desk drawer or on a shelf. Never set anything on the floor or on upholstered furniture where bed bugs might be hiding.
- Never drape your coat over the back of your chair or the edge of the cubicle. Hang your coat on a hanger, or bring in your own coat tree.
- Use a large plastic box with a lid to create an isolation chamber for gym bags, outerwear, and other belongings. Always leave the box empty when you go home, and make sure no bugs have crept into it overnight.
- Get rid of clutter. Whether it's office decor or unfinished projects, extra stuff means extra hiding places.
- Check for hitchhikers before you go home. Use your flashlight to check clothing, shoes, and other items right before you leave work.
If you think you've found a bed bug, don't panic. Try to capture it with a tissue or transparent tape. Don't squash it. Your employer needs to be certain that bed bugs are present, and no one can identify a squashed bug. Speak to your supervisor or the office manager right away.
Finally, take a deep breath. You may have caught the only bed bug in the entire office. If not, you've done your part to set things right. Besides, your going-home shoes are sealed in their plastic bag, your briefcase is in your desk, and your coat is safely perched on the coat tree.
For more information, contact Best Control Pest Control Ltd. or a similar company.