Finding bed bugs between your toes is bad enough, but discovering them crawling through the carpets and furniture of your office is a nightmare for any business. These sneaky pests are often associated with homes and hotels, but bed bug infestations also pose a growing problem in workplaces and commercial spaces.
Here’s what companies should know about controlling bed bugs and keeping them out of those office carpets for good.
Why and How Bed Bugs Threaten Offices
Modern office spaces provide ideal habitats for bed bugs to thrive. These pesky critters can lie in wait within furniture, carpet fibres, walls, and other hidden crevices throughout a workplace. One of the biggest attractions for bed bugs is the constant supply of human hosts in office buildings. As employees walk, sit, and move about the office, the bugs have ample opportunities to crawl out from their hiding spots to feed. Over time, bed bug populations rapidly multiply.
Bed bugs are good at spreading throughout structures by crawling through voids in walls, along pipe chases, inside wiring conduits, and between ceiling tiles. As such, they can infest adjoining rooms and spaces, often going undetected until reaching high densities.
By then, employees may already be suffering bites and skin reactions. Other serious health risks include skin infections and allergic reactions from the bugs’ saliva. Some employees can experience anxiety, insomnia, and emotional distress from dealing with persisting bed bug problems.
Workers who have bed bugs at home may inadvertently bring them into the office via their clothing, bags, and other personal items, introducing new infestations that colonise office furniture and carpeted areas.
How to Know if I Have Bed Bugs?
Minimise their spread in your office by detecting the presence of bed bugs early and knowing where they hide. Here are ways to tell if you have an existing or potential bed bug infestation.
Bites and Skin Reactions
- Bite marks on employees (clusters, lines, red welts, inflammation)
- Itchy skin reactions from bed bug saliva
- Seeing live bed bugs (small, flat, wingless, reddish-brown insects)
- Visible eggs (tiny, white, rice-shaped eggs in cracks or fabric)
- Spotting moulted skins (light brown, translucent, shed skins)
Blood and Waste Stains
- Blood stains on office furniture or carpet from crushing the bugs
- Dark ink-like stains from bed bug waste (faeces)
- Strong, sweet and musty odour emanating from bed bug scent glands
- Mattresses, furniture checked around seams, tufts, and edges
- Desks, cabinets, and cubicle walls for faecal stains
- Outlets, baseboards, and ceiling tiles for signs of bugs or eggs
- Carpets examined along edges, seams, and under furniture
Prevention Tips for Businesses
It is important to implement proactive prevention measures to keep bed bugs out of commercial spaces. Read on to find some key tips to follow.
Declutter Office Spaces
Clutter provides abundant hiding spots for bed bugs. Make an effort to declutter offices, breakrooms, storage rooms, and other areas. Get rid of any non-essential items and materials to eliminate potential harbourage sites. Maintaining a tidy and minimalist workspace is important.
Conduct Training on Bed Bug Detection
Education is essential. Conduct training with all employees to teach them how to identify signs of bed bugs. Highlight what the bugs look like, where they hide, and signs like faecal stains and skin reactions.
Empower staff to perform inspections of their own workstations. The sooner bed bugs are detected, the better.
Install Monitoring Devices
Consider installing bed bug monitors and detectors strategically around the office. Passive monitors contain attractants that lure bed bugs into traps. Detectors have sensors to notify you of bed bug activity. Getting a head start with monitoring gives pest control technicians an advantage in tackling bed bugs.
Seal Cracks and Crevices
Bed bugs crawl through the tiniest spaces to spread. Be diligent about sealing up any cracks, crevices, or voids with caulk. Pay special attention to sealing along baseboards, where the carpet meets the wall, window, and door frames, and opening around electrical outlets. It helps limit their movement within the office.
Partnering with a pest control company in Singapore to identify and seal vulnerable areas is greatly beneficial.
Schedule Regular Pest Control Inspections
Don’t wait until there is a confirmed sighting before calling pest control. Partner with a reputable pest control company in Singapore to conduct thorough inspections on a quarterly or bi-annual basis.
Professional technicians can detect early signs of infestations and proactively treat areas where bed bugs are likely to hide. Performing regular inspections done by professionals takes your office a block further from your bed bug problems.
Limit Fabric Furnishings
Bed bugs love fabrics as they provide shelter and easy access to hosts. Avoid cloth chairs in waiting rooms or lobbies. Limit fabric cubicle partitions if possible. Bare vinyl, metal, or plastic furniture is less appealing to bed bugs.
The fewer fabric furnishings, the lower the risk. Essential fabric items should be steam cleaned and vacuumed frequently as part of prevention.
Rearrange Office Layouts
Make bed bugs spread harder by spacing out furniture and workstations. Don’t push chairs and desks flush against each other or walls. Give them breathing room to help limit bed bugs’ crawlable surfaces.
Rearranging layouts provides fewer opportunities for bugs to go undetected. Work with office facilities staff to optimise arrangements for pest control.
Maintain Clean Break Rooms
Bed bugs can sneak in via employees’ belongings and hide out where food is stored. All pantry items should be sealed in tight containers. Avoid clutter and keep the break room immaculately.
Any bed bugs will stand out against clean surfaces. Refrigerating items also deters bed bugs, as they prefer room-temperature environments. A clean break room means fewer places to hide.
Treatment Tips for Commercial Settings
If bed bugs have already invaded a workplace, swift action is what you need to eliminate them.
Heat treatment involves heating up a building’s interior temperatures around 50 degrees Celsius for several hours using special equipment. It kills all bed bug life stages. Non-fabric items can be heat-treated as well. However, the process required temporary closure of the business.
Cold treatment is another non-chemical option that involves rapid freezing using specialised machines. Temperatures are lowered well below -18 degrees Celsius to destroy bed bugs through thermal shock. This method also requires temporarily closing down the building.
Licensed pest control technicians may apply NEA-approved sprays, dusts, or aerosol pesticides in targeted areas after doing a thorough inspection. Chemical treatments usually require multiple applications spaced two to three weeks apart.
Superheated steam penetrates materials to kill bed bugs on contact. Steam clean carpet edges, upholstered furniture, mattresses, and other infested items. The high heat eliminates both the bugs and their eggs.
Thorough vacuuming helps extract bed bugs from fabric surfaces, and containment bags should be sealed and discarded. Repeat often.
Severely infested mattresses should be sealed in plastic and disposed of properly. New mattresses should be encased in covers.
Any upholstered furniture can be fully sealed in encasements that trap bugs inside and starve them.
Trained dogs can pinpoint bed bugs in commercial spaces. Their sensitive noses sniff out infestations so they can be treated promptly.
Building-wide fumigation by seasoned pest control technicians may be needed for severe infestations. It involves tenting and releasing lethal gas throughout the building to exterminate all life stages of bed bugs.
Eliminating an existing bed bug problem is only half the battle. Taking steps to prevent future reinfestations is very critical for your business’s long-term success. Here are top tips for keeping bed bugs from returning:
- Schedule ongoing inspections by pest control technicians at least quarterly. Their expert eye helps spot early warning signs.
- Maintain a thorough vacuuming and steam cleaning regimen in all areas. This picks up any bugs that may get introduced.
- Continue utilising monitors and traps around the office to enable early detection.
- Immediately dispose of any furniture, fabrics, or other items that become re-infested in sealed bags.
- Reinforce bed bug education and awareness with employees through refresher training.
- Stay vigilant in adhering to all prevention protocols and best practices. Don’t become complacent.
- Keep detailed records of infestation history to identify patterns and problem areas that may need additional treatment.
- Be patient and persistent, as it can take months to successfully break the bed bug cycle for good. Stay the course.
How a Pest Control Company in Singapore Can Help
Partnering with a professional pest control company in Singapore provides the following advantages.
- Experience and knowledge
- Effective products
- Meticulous inspections
- Follow-up services
- Avoid DIY hazards
- Peace of mind
- Total elimination
Engaging pest control professionals in Singapore takes the burden off business owners. Let the experts handle bed bug problems promptly and effectively.
Combining diligence with the help of a professional pest control company in Singapore will provide the greatest defence against bed bugs coming back into commercial spaces. Stopping an infestation requires cooperation across the organisation.
Safeguard your workplace now with the help of Avalon Services, a cleaning services provider and pest control company in Singapore.