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More and more often we are seeing headlines about bed bugs infesting offices and entire office buildings. In New York, New Jersey, San Francisco, Seattle, other cities and small towns, bedbugs are infesting not just homes and hotels, but offices and entire buildings. They're brought in, unwittingly, by employees and customers. They're transported to work in and on coats, purses, clothes, books shoes, briefcases and other items. They can be picked up in infested homes, taxicabs, trains, planes, you name it. Bedbugs are on a rapid rise and the places where they can be picked up are increasing. In New York, New Jersey, San Francisco, Seattle, other cities and small towns, bedbugs are infesting not just homes and hotels, but offices and entire buildings. They're brought in, unwittingly, by employees and customers. They're transported to work in and on coats, purses, clothes, books shoes, briefcases and other items. They can be picked up in infested homes, taxicabs, trains, planes, you name it. Bedbugs are on a rapid rise and the places where they can be picked up are increasing. Inside a home, bed bugs have an easy to reach source of blood and tend to remain mostly localized in a bedroom, close to where their hosts sleep. Fairly concentrated numbers of these insects tend to remain in close proximity to the bed, within easy reach of the host. But in an office building a meal isn't so easy to come by. Since bed bugs are nocturnal and most of their hosts (humans) are gone at night, their search for a meal can take them throughout an office and even throughout all floors of a building. When this happens the infestation becomes widely spread. In this environment they tend to be found one at a time or in small groups. In the early stages, workers are rarely bitten and the bugs are seldom seen. The infestation my go undetected for some time. They can also be spread to other offices or buildings occupied by the same company, being transported in files, computers, boxes and personal items. They will, eventually, out of necessity, begin to feed in the daytime and multiply. Once their numbers have increased and an infestation is suspected, locating them may be difficult, time consuming and frustrating. It's common for visual inspections to fail in finding the bed bugs. In large offices, bed bug sniffing dogs may be the answer. These dogs are able to detect single bugs and their eggs. They're not 100 percent reliable. They may miss some insects or alert where there are no bed bugs, but overall they will do much better than human eyes and tend to be 90 percent accurate. Treatment for bed bugs in an office building is also troublesome. One of the first methods of treatment, while the infestation is still in its early stages, is to vacuum up localized individuals and groups with a powerful, pest control vacuum and crack and crevice attachment. One thing to remember, however, is that bed bugs can hide in the deep recesses of furniture, baseboards and moldings, up inside the hollow areas of office cubicle dividers and other inaccessible areas. And bed bug eggs are glued to surfaces by the female when she lays them. It may be helpful to use the attachment to reach inside these areas to crush the bugs and eggs, scraping them loose in the


process, for removal. But keep in mind the fact that this method will only get at the "easy ones." It is likely that further, more serious method may be required. The use of steam may be helpful in reaching some of the bugs but not all. This would be used for rugs, carpet, drapes, fabric covered items like furniture and dividers. The down-side of this method is that it has no residual effect on their populations. Personal items, computers, phones and other electronics, paper files, storage boxes, furniture and related items will be difficult to treat. These will be better dealt with off-site. Be sure that during transport these items are tightly wrapped and sealed off to prevent bed bugs dropping off and infesting other areas along the route. Treatments will vary with the types of items infested. Some will require heat treatment and others will require fumigation. Once the items are successfully treated they should be stored and not returned to the building until it is free of the infestation. Wall voids, room dividers, and other hollow structures should be steamed or treated with an inorganic substance such as food grade Diatomaceous Earth. Where possible the furniture, room dividers, etc. should be disassembled prior to treatment. In some cases fumigation of entire suites, buildings and even entire buildings may be the answer. Unfortunately, in at least one state, fumigation of an entire building is illegal. After the apparent, successful treatment of the office or building and its contents, consider putting down a protective barrier of a residual insecticide labeled for bed bug control around places such as furniture, baseboards or other floor moldings, around the bases of room dividers, edges of rugs and carpets. Office infestations are difficult to control so, even after all of this, there could be residual populations of bed bugs, so vigilance is important, going forward. Repeat inspections should be done on a regular and follow-up treatments may be necessary until you are reasonably certain that the infestation has been successfully controlled. Remember too that a re-infestation is always possible. At any time an employee or a customer could enter the office with an infested item and begin the whole process over again. You can't control all factors, but if there is an employee with an infested home and you can identify who it is, it may be wise diplomatically approach that person and offer to have the home inspected so they can have the home treated. This may not be easy to do, but if you succeed you'll avoid repeated re-introductions of bed bugs to the building and possible expenses resulting from multiple treatments.

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The Difficulty of Detecting and Treating Bed Bug Infestations in Office Buildings.txt